Former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham defended his support for President Donald Trump as a “no-brainer” in a recent Dallas Morning News op-ed highlighting the administration’s efforts to restrict abortion.
Graham – pastor of the 42,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas – said all the leading Democratic candidates have said they support abortion rights and if elected would allow the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the procedure.
“Those of us, especially evangelicals, who care about the sanctity of human life, will have to redouble our efforts to make sure unborn children have the right to live,” Graham wrote. “I’m thankful that President Trump has proven a reliable partner in this fight. Supporting him is a no-brainer.”
Graham, who presided over SBC annual meetings in 2003 and 2004, said he often gets asked why he, as an evangelical pastor, “so prominently and enthusiastically” supports the president.
“The better question is not why an evangelical would support President Trump, but how is it possible for a Bible-believing evangelical to not support the most pro-life president in the history of the United States,” he wrote.
Graham emerged as an early evangelical Trump supporter. He was selected in 2016 as a member of then-candidate Trump’s evangelical advisory team. “With Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Christians have an opportunity to influence our government and practice our religious freedoms,” the pastor wrote in a Christian Post editorial shortly before the 2016 general election.
In 2017 Graham’s church threatened to withhold $1 million earmarked for the Southern Baptist Convention’s operating budget in response to criticism of both Trump and his evangelical enablers from Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore.
“The better question is not why an evangelical would support President Trump, but how is it possible for a Bible-believing evangelical to not support the most pro-life president in the history of the United States.”
Graham recently joined a new Evangelicals for Trump Coalition, announced at a Pentecostal megachurch in Miami, in support of his the president’s re-election.
“I affirm the nation of Israel and its biblical capital of Jerusalem and applaud Israel’s desire for peace with the Palestinians,” Graham wrote. “President Trump’s Evangelical Coalition is hopeful and prayerful for the peace of Jerusalem.”
The president released the plan, developed under leadership of his son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, on Tuesday at a White House event with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.
The proposal – which also includes establishment of a Palestinian state – so far lacks Palestinian support. An Al Jazeera opinion article called the plan a “farce” and a “fraud” that “adds insult to Palestinian injury.”
“The president is clearly after the vote of evangelical Christians, especially after some have denounced him recently,” wrote Al Jazeera senior political analyst Marwan Bishara. “And Trump is seemingly buying into the ego trip – or trap – laid out for him by radical evangelicals and Zionists who have designated him a Jewish Messiah, destined to save not only the Jewish people, but the world.”