By Mark Shivar
What Matters in North Carolina
October 19, 2016
Franklin Graham’s Decision America tour was in Raleigh last Thursday with citizens gathering at the North Carolina state capitol for prayer and words of encouragement from Graham. Having been all across the country sharing messages of encouragement and hope, Graham concluded the tour before a crowd of over 14,000 that were excited to be a part of his effort to awaken America to the need for prayer.
Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham and Ruth Graham, is widely known for the work of his organization, Samaritan’s Purse, a global ministry organization that helps those in need all over the world, particularly victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine.
Striking in its difference to other gatherings of late that have called themselves “Moral Mondays,” this was not a group of protesters bused in from other states. These were mostly folks from the Triangle vicinity, not assembled to protest, but rather to pray.
If the word “moral” means concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character, there is no comparison between this event and others that equate morality with government programs, and advocate for taking the lives of the unborn. Rev. Barber could learn a thing or two about what is important when gathering people together in the name of morality.
One might wonder what would cause so many people to take time out of the middle of a Thursday to be a part of such an event. Ashley McSwain, founder and CEO of Foundation Restoration, a marriage and therapy non-profit, said, “I was compelled to attend the Franklin Graham Decision America Tour because I am very concerned about our nation. Many of the decisions that are being made by those in positions of power are concerning, and overall, there’s been a huge decline in the morality of our country. There’s power in prayer, and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity because I care about our nation deeply.”
Her hope was realized as there were literally thousands of like-minded people at the event. However, instead of loud, rambunctious singing intended to disrupt proceedings, their songs were directed in praise to the God whom they had come to acknowledge. Rather than hoping to have their hands cuffed and make a show of being arrested for violating the law, these were ordinary people ready to join hands with one another in prayer.
In a time when politicians and government can be frustrating, Graham was able to inspire hope with the reminder that people of faith ought to pray and believe that there is still hope for the nation. Rev. Barber typically inspires a handful of activists to get their mug shots taken.
McSwain said she felt emboldened after attending the event and had some encouragement of her own for others. McSwain said, “My thoughts for people of faith in this election season is to not be deceived. Much is at stake in this election, and I believe we must all be praying for wisdom, for our nation, and we must stand up for what we believe in.”
Moral Monday could learn a lot from Decision America, which proved to be a Moral Thursday for many in Raleigh. Praying for change as opposed to trying to get chained would go a long way in giving a measure of credibility to the protests that have heretofore been largely inconsequential. Preaching hope in God for our country instead of a bullhorn full of leftist intolerance seems to be much more moral.
Mark Shivar lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is the host of “What Matters in North Carolina,” a podcast that is featured daily on the Freedom Action Network. He also is a writer at Civitas Institute.