By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
August 28, 2020
This week, five great Americans with strong North Carolina ties, spoke at the Republican National Convention. Each one provided much-needed remarks to a national audience. They spoke of religious liberty, the need for perseverance and faith in the American way, the power of peaceful protests for racial justice, women’s equality, the boundless opportunities that make our nation great, and our desperate need for God’s help.
Here’s who spoke and a summary of what they said.
Cissie Graham Lynch
Cissie Graham Lynch is the daughter of Franklin Graham and the granddaughter of the late and world-renowned evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham, both native North Carolinians who hail from the Charlotte area.
Cissie said she wanted to speak to America about something important to all of its citizens, faith.
“As Americans, we know that the first line of the First Amendment protects our freedom of religion. But what we often forget the actual words are “free exercise” of religion. That means living out our faith in our daily lives — in our schools, at our jobs, and yes, even in the public square. Our Founders did not envision a quiet, hidden faith. They fought to ensure that voices of faith were always welcomed, not silenced. Not bullied,” she said.
She rightly claimed that these freedoms came under attack during the Obama-Biden administration. “But then We the People elected Donald Trump, and people of faith suddenly had a fierce advocate in the White House. He appointed judges who respect the First Amendment. He supported religious beliefs in court. He ensured religious ministries would not be forced to violate their beliefs.” About egregious transgender policies, she said with a spirit of gratitude that the President “withdrew the policies that placed our little girls at risk.”
Graham Lynch concluded her speech, saying, “So in the words of my grandfather, Billy Graham: ‘Let us stand for political freedom, moral freedom, religious freedom and the rights of all Americans … and let’s never give in to those who would attempt to take it from us.’”
Madison Cawthorne was born in Asheville and grew up in Henderson. He is currently the Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional district.
In 2014, at the age of 18, Cawthorne was in a terrible traffic accident that left him partially paralyzed. He now uses a wheelchair.
Cawthorne, a real estate CEO and only 25-years old, will be the youngest person ever elected to Congress if he succeeds in the November General Election.
“At 20, I thought about giving up. However, I knew I could still make a difference. My accident gave me new eyes to see, and new ears to hear,” Cawthorne said in his speech.
“At 20, I made a choice. In 2020, our country has a choice. We can give up on the American idea, or we can work together to make our imperfect union more perfect,” he continued.
“I choose to fight for the future, to seize the high ground, and retake the Shining City on a Hill. While the radical left wants to dismantle, defund, and destroy, Republicans, under President Trump’s leadership, want to rebuild, restore and renew,” he asserted.
Cawthorne went on to contend that young people can make a tremendous difference in America for good, calling to remembrance the impact made by some of America’s greatest heroes at an early age.
“If you don’t think young people can change the world, then you don’t know American history. George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission. Abe Lincoln was 22 when he first ran for office. James Madison was 25 when he signed the Declaration of Independence,” said Cawthorne.
Cawthorne concluded his speech with a demonstration of heroic patriotism as he stood from his wheelchair and declared emphatically:
“I say to Americans who love our country — young and old — be a radical for freedom. Be a radical for liberty. Be a radical for our republic, for which I stand. One nation. Under God. With liberty and justice for all.”
Clarence Henderson, who lives in Greensboro, is widely known as an American civil rights activist. He was at the forefront of the civil rights movement for blacks in the 1960s. He was one of the men who participated in the famous sit-in at the segregated Woolworth’s diner. He and his fellow protestors were arrested on that fateful day, but their peaceful actions at that diner spurred similar non-violent protests against racist policies around the country.
Henderson, who is a patriot, a Republican, President of the Frederick Douglas Foundation, and a supporter of President Trump, is a stunning contrast to blacks who have taken to the streets rioting and looting, and support Marxist organizations like Black Lives Matter. Henderson supports peaceful protests as he and other blacks did in the 60s, not anarchy, as demonstrated by so many protestors today.
In his speech, Henderson recalled the day he sat at the Woolworth diner, and said that when he and his companions did it, they didn’t know whether they were going to come out “in a vertical or prone position, in handcuffs or on a stretcher — or even in a body bag.”
But he said they faced down the threats, “and in the end, segregation was abolished, and our country moved closer to true equality for all. That’s what actual peaceful protests can accomplish,” said Henderson.
“America is not perfect,” he continued, “We’re always improving, but the great thing about this country is that it’s not where you come from, but it’s where you’re going.”
Henderson admonished his audience to know their history:
“It was the Republican Party that passed the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. It was the Republican Party that passed the 14th amendment, giving black men citizenship. It was the Republican Party that passed the 15th amendment, giving black men the right to vote. Freedom of thought is a powerful thing. There are American voters from all over the country, who the media is trying to convince to conform to the same old Democratic talking points. You know what that will get you? – the same old results. Joe Biden had the audacity to say that if you don’t vote for him, ‘You ain’t black.’ Well, to that I say, if you do vote for Biden, you don’t know history.”
Henderson further said that President Trump’s policies clearly show that he cares deeply about black lives and have demonstrated real change for people of color.
“He [Trump] has done more for black Americans in four years than Joe Biden has done in 50,” he concluded.
Lara Trump is married to Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump. The couple have two children together, Carolina and Eric. Although she now lives in New York City, she grew up in Wrightsville Beach. During her speech she said her daughter’s name, Carolina, was given out of her love for her home state, North Carolina.
Lara said that she moved to New York City with big dreams, although she never dreamed that she would be giving a speech before the Republican National Convention, much less have the last name, Trump.
She praised the President’s many contributions to women’s equality and said the country was moving toward the most important election in modern history.
“This is not just an election between Republican and Democrat or left and right. This is an election that will decide if we keep America America, or if we head down an unchartered frightening path toward socialism,” she said. “Abraham Lincoln once famously said that America would never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. While those words were spoken more than one-hundred and fifty years ago, they have never been more relevant. Will we choose the right path and maintain the unique freedoms and boundless opportunities that make this country the greatest in the history of the world. Will we remain the beacon of hope for those around the world who are fighting oppression, Communism, and tyranny? The choice is ours.”
She added the question, what sort of country will we be leaving our children? “It’s up to us to keep this country a place where no dream is out of reach,” she concluded.
Franklin Graham was born in Asheville and currently lives in the Tar Heel state. He is President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as well as Samaritan’s Purse, both of which are based in North Carolina. He is the son of the late evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham.
Graham is also an evangelist but is known nonetheless for addressing political and social issues, and for his support of President Donald Trump.
Graham provided a prayer for the closing night of the RNC. He prayed the following:
“Our Father, which art in heaven, we thank you for the great bounty you have bestowed on this nation and the many blessings we have received these past four years. We are forever grateful.
“As we come tonight, our country is facing trouble, tens of thousands are in the path of a deadly storm. The pandemic has gripped millions of hearts with fear. We are divided. We have witnessed injustice. Anger and despair have flowed into the streets. We need your help. We need to hear your voice at this crucial hour.
“We ask that you would unite our hearts to be one nation under God, for you are our only hope. We declare today our total dependence upon you and our need for repentance as a people.
“I thank you tonight for our President, Donald J. Trump. We pray that you would give him wisdom from on high, clarity of vision, and strength as he leads this nation forward. Bless him. We pray for our First Lady, Melania, their son, Barron, and all of the family. Protect them and keep them strong and safe.
“We thank you for Vice President, Mike Pence, for his steady hand and clear voice. We pray for Second Lady, Karen Pence, and their family.
“Father, we know that you can make this nation great once again if we turn our eyes and hearts to you and follow your Word in obedience. May your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven.
“And we pray this in the mighty name of your Son, my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said these five speakers not only made him proud to be an American, but very proud to be a North Carolinian.
“It seems, at least to me, that these speakers alone with close ties to the Tar Heel state, spoke exactly what our nation needed to hear the most. As the saying goes, ‘I love calling North Carolina home.’ I don’t think it’s a coincidence our state is now what’s called a swing state. My prayer is that North Carolina will lead the nation in the right direction,” said Creech.