Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

Billy Graham has led an amazing life in his 96 years on this earth. For someone of his years, he really has a great understanding of what is going on in the world and where we are falling short as a country and a society.

Since his ministry began in 1947, Rev. Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. The first Billy Graham Crusade, held Sept. 13 to 21, 1947, in the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, was attended by 6,000 people. Graham was 29 years old. He called them crusades, after the medieval Christian forces who conquered Jerusalem. And it was the start of a remarkable career in ministry that began with local roots.

On his 95th birthday in 2008, Rev. Graham issued a prayer for our nation. This prayer has been shared by my fellow party chairs in many counties throughout the state. It caught my eye and I would like to share it with our local Republican members:

‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from sin and set us free. Amen!’

I hope I have the clarity of thought this man has in his mid-nineties – though I know many of my friends would suggest my thoughts are not that clear even though I am 40 years his junior. But there are problems today in our country. Many would like to blame the current administration, but these problems transcend political policies.

Rev. Graham continues to lament the direction this country has taken even as late as 2012. His wife passed away in 2007.

“I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

Many of the principals noted in this prayer could be the foundation for the Republican platform and yet some would not be. Billy Graham’s insight, however, gives us a prospective on the direction our nation is going and we need to do something about it – morally, ethically, religiously. It is time that we stand up and take responsibility for not only our actions, but the actions of our elected officials.

The time is now and we need to become more involved, more compassionate and more aware. This country is at a crossroads and it is time to re-form our visions and our commitments!