Rev. Franklin Graham has heaped high praise on President Donald Trump, calling him the most vocal defender of the Christian faith of any president in recent history.
“Never in my lifetime have we had [a president] willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith” like [Donald Trump],” Graham tweeted on Friday. “We need to get behind him with our prayers.”
Never in my lifetime have we had a @POTUS willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like @realDonaldTrump. We need to get behind him with our prayers. https://t.co/H640MzsRSj
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 1, 2017
Rev. Graham, the son of evangelical icon Bill Graham, never publicly endorsed Mr. Trump during his campaign but did eventually declare that he was clearly the better candidate for Christians.
“You may have to hold your nose and vote,” Graham said shortly before the 2016 election. “I have people that say, ‘Well, I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like what he says.’ Well, I don’t like what he said, either. I promise I don’t like it. But those are things that he said 11 years ago, not something that he said today.”
“I think Donald Trump has changed,” Graham added. “I think God is working on his heart and in his life. But people have to make up their own mind.”
Later, Graham suggested that Mr. Trump won the election by the “hand of God,” rather than by nefarious causes like Russian hackers or political plotting.
“I think maybe God has allowed Donald Trump to win this election to protect this nation for the next few years by giving maybe an opportunity to have some good judges,” he said.
Rev. Graham was responding in his tweet Friday to President Trump’s remarks at Thursday evening’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, during which the president underscored the true meaning of Christmas as “the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“We’re thrilled to think of the people, across the nation and all across the continents, whose spirits are lifted by the miracle of Christmas,” he said.
The birth of Jesus Christ “forever changed the course of human history,” Trump said. “There is hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched: art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world.”
The president recalled 1870 legislation which President Ulysses S. Grant signed to make Christmas a federal holiday. “And I sort of feel we’re doing that again. That’s what’s happening,” he said.
“Each and every year at Christmas time, we recognize that the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have; it’s about who we are,” he said. “Each one of us is a child of God. That is the true source of joy this time of the year. That is what makes every Christmas merry.”
The president highlighted the message at the heart of this “holy season,” namely, “that we are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world.”
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