The Rev. Franklin Graham is calling on Christians in Georgia to vote in the state’s Senate runoff elections next week, warning that “the soul of our nation is at stake.”
Graham, a prominent evangelist and CEO of the charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse, took to Facebook Monday to direct a message at “Christians who believe in the Bible and live in Georgia.” Graham’s message came one week before two Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the United States Senate for the next two years.
“Please encourage your family, your friends, your community to pray and to vote,” he wrote. “If conservatives lose control of the Senate, there is nothing to stop the radical agenda of the left. There will not be another chance to get this right. The nation is depending on you.”
Graham described the Senate as “the last line of defense to block the radical, wicked agenda that is trying to take control of our nation.” Additionally, he maintained that “the policies supported by those on the left promise to be openly hostile to those who hold Christian beliefs.”
“So called progressives … immediately want to pass The Equality Act which is anything but equal. It is an attempt to rid our country of religious freedom protections. Friends, this is dangerous,” Graham warned.
“This would change our nation at its very foundation—and yes, it would also greatly change your everyday life. It will vastly alter the America that we leave for our children and grandchildren. I encourage Christians across the country to pray for this election—and if you live in Georgia, vote before it’s too late.”
Graham has repeatedly warned about the consequences of the Equality Act, which has already passed the Democratic-led House of Representatives but stalled in the Republican-led Senate. Shortly after its passage in the House, Graham warned that the legislation would have “catastrophic consequences for competitive sports, along with churches and faith-based nonprofits who would lose all protections to hire people who adhere to their Biblical statements of faith.”
Graham was one of 21 Christian leaders who wrote a letter to lawmakers expressing concern that “the Equality Act would gut religious freedom protections – even the protections enjoyed by houses of worship.” He predicted that “if the Senate majority changes” or if the presidency “were to change hands in 2020, I would have little doubt this would become the law of the land.”
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make passage of the Equality Act a priority of his first 100 days in office. The possibility remains that the Senate majority will change for the next two years. Following the 2020 elections, Republicans will hold at least 50 seats in the U.S. Senate while Democrats will hold at least 48.
The two Senate elections in Georgia remain undecided, as both races went to runoffs because no candidate received the required 50% of the vote required to avoid a runoff in either election. The runoffs are slated to take place on Jan. 5.
On Election Day, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., captured 49.7% of the vote while his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, won 47.9% of the vote. The winner of that race will serve a six-year term.
In addition to the regularly scheduled Georgia Senate election, the resignation of Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., at the beginning of the year prompted a special election where the winner will finish the remaining two years of his six-year term. Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Ga., appointed Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat until the special election.
Loeffler finished second in the Nov. 3 election, where all candidates ran together on the same ticket regardless of partisan affiliation. Democrat Raphael Warnock won 32.9% of the vote while Loeffler received 25.9% support.
Currently, the Real Clear Politics average of polls taken of the race between Perdue and Ossoff shows Ossoff with a 0.8 point lead. The RCP average of the contest between Loeffler and Warnock shows Warnock with a 1.8 point lead. Should those leads hold and Democrats end up winning both races, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, giving Democrats control of not only that chamber but of the entire federal government.
While Real Clear Politics polling averages are seen as reliable predictors for election outcomes, the aggregator does occasionally miss the mark. For example, in 2020, the final RCP polling average for the Senate race in North Carolina showed Democrat Cal Cunningham beating Republican Sen. Thom Tillis by 2.6 points. Tillis ended up winning by 1.8 points.
The Equality Act is just one legislative provision supported by Democrats that cause Graham and other religious Americans great concern. Biden has also vowed to codify the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide into law and top Democrats on Capitol Hill have illustrated a desire to do away with the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.
The more progressive members of the Democratic Party have proposed expanding the size of the Supreme Court to dilute the power of the 6-3 Republican majority. While Biden has not explicitly embraced that idea, he has expressed an openness to “rotating” Supreme Court justices to lower courts.