A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention named to Donald Trump’s evangelical executive advisory board reiterated his support for the Republican nominee after the release of damaging video showing the candidate making lewd remarks about women.
Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, posted a statement on Twitter, later picked up as an Oct. 13 op-ed by the Christian Post, saying that despite his personal “outrage at such vile language and disgraceful views toward women,” he believes the choice for Bible-believing evangelicals remains clear.
“With Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Christians have an opportunity to influence our government and practice our religious freedoms,” said Graham, who served as president of the nation’s second-largest faith group behind Roman Catholics in 2003 and 2004. “I will continue to pray that we will reverse from our current spiritual decline as a nation by seeking God and repenting of our own sins and finding the hope and healing we need that only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Graham, who serves as Trump’s spiritual adviser alongside fellow past SBC president Ronnie Floyd, former SBC agency head Richard Land, Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress and others, said members of the advisory team “have been given generous access” to both Trump and Pence.
As to the often-raised questions of whether Trump is a Christian and if he is repentant, Graham said: “I know for a fact that the gospel has been shared with Mr. Trump. He has been confronted with his sin. He has heard God’s truth and has been offered grace and forgiveness.”
Graham, who earlier this week attended an invitation-only fundraiser for Trump in Dallas, explained in June that while he does not endorse candidates, he could “easily” vote for Trump despite his behavior, language or “temperament.”
“Donald Trump says he will support those issues that conservative evangelicals care about,” Graham said in a commentary for Fox News. “Hillary Clinton promises she won’t.”
Graham said this week the addition of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — a former Catholic who converted to evangelical Christianity — as Trump’s running mate makes it even easier for the faithful to cast a vote for the Republican ticket.
Graham said he believes it is a mistake for evangelical voters to sit out the election or write in a meaningless candidate, a strategy advocated by evangelical leaders including SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore.
“Elections are divisive by nature but necessary if we are to keep our freedoms,” Graham said. “Voting is a right and a responsibility. Elections matter. Certainly, this one does. The choice our country makes between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will set the course of our nation for a generation and beyond.”
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