Did your church, or a church in your neighborhood, observe a “special day of prayer” for President Trump this past Sunday? Mine didn’t, but some churches did--and Franklin Graham, who proposed the idea, thought that such a day was possibly necessary to avert a new civil war in the U.S.
On May 30, Graham posted the following on the BillyGraham.org website: “Along with 300+ Christian leaders, I am asking followers of Christ across our nation to set aside Sunday, June 2, as a special day of prayer for the President, Donald J. Trump” (bolding in original).
Prior to that, on May 26 Graham posted this on his Facebook timeline:
President Trump’s enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family, and the presidency. In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God.
Many prominent conservative evangelicals soon signed on and indicated their full support for Graham’s proposal. Some of the most recognizable names of those supporters are James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Mike Huckabee, Robert Jeffress, Richard Land, Tony Perkins, and Ralph Reed--all noted leaders of the Christian Right in this country.
According to a May 31 article in the Christian Post (see here), “Trump’s enemies will hurt America, could spark civil war if impeached.” Thus, prayer is necessary to protect the President from his enemies who seek his impeachment. Graham explains,
If the president was brought down for whatever reason, it could lead to a civil war. There are millions of people out there that voted for President Trump that are behind him that are angry and they are mad. We are just living in a very dangerous territory and we need God’s help [sic for entire paragraph, bolding added].
Graham went on to say that the President needs to be encouraged.
It is discouraging when you wake up every day and it doesn't matter if you do something good or not. They only report the bad. That gets discouraging. I pray that the president will be encouraged knowing that there are millions of people praying for him.”
So, is Graham saying maybe that if DJT gets enough encouragement he will say and do things that would squelch the talk about impeachment? Is that how prayer might keep the country from descending into a civil war?
Is Civil War Possible?
Franklin Graham is not the first public figure in recent years to post the threat of civil war. As I wrote about briefly in the second part of my May 25 blog posting, back in 2005 Charles Colson wrote about “The New Civil War” (in the Feb. issue of Christianity Today).
Colson was worried about the “deepening of hostilities between ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states” as witnessed in the 2004 presidential election. And, arguably, things got even worse after the election of Obama in 2008 and then after the election of Trump in 2016.
But a (literal) civil war? I can’t imagine how that would be even faintly possible at the present time. How would the two sides mobilize? Where would they fight, and how?
It seems to me that Graham was just using inflated rhetoric to drum up support for the President.
If anything, mobilizing churches to pray that the president be protected from his enemies--such as the Democratic members of Congress who want to impeach him--is exacerbating the polarization in the country rather than lessening the tensions.
Nevertheless, praying for the President is a good thing--and I thought David Platt did a good job of that on Sunday morning. (Check that out here.)