Evangelist Franklin Graham asked people at a rally to pray for the governor of Oregon, Democrat Kate Brown, to accept “Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior.”
Graham, who said in May that “progressive” was just “another word for godless,” made the call to prayer in front of more than 12,000 people at an Oregon rally this past Sunday. He opened by encouraging evangelicals to run for office, where he says they could stop “progressives” who want to bring porn into public schools.
“Secularism and communism are one and the same,” he said. “They are godless forms of government.”
“Let’s pray for your governor, Gov. Brown. Wouldn’t it be something if she got saved? Amen.… We pray for Kate Brown. And Lord, I pray that she would come to know your son Jesus Christ as her lord and savior one day.”
Brown was pretty vague in her response, which essentially equated to, “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” She also denied being agnostic.
Brown was asked about Graham’s comments, first reported by Willamette Week, during a telephone call with reporters Thursday.
“I believe that each one of us has a spirit living within us and we have to acknowledge the spirits within all of our human beings,” she said. When asked if she went to church or has a practice, Brown replied, “I have a meditation practice and I’m a yogi.”
Later, the governor clarified that she didn’t see being a yogi — which she said means someone who practices yoga — in religious terms. When asked if she would regard herself as agnostic, Brown said she did not.
“I believe very much that each of us is spiritual beings,” she said. “And that’s how I see the world. For me, it’s about [being] on a path of treating human beings with respect, and that I want to make sure that that’s honored in my work and my day-to-day life.”
That response may not warm the hearts of many atheists out there. It’s similar to a response Sen. Bernie Sanders gave when running for president. He didn’t say he was non-religious, but defined his personal beliefs in a nebulous quasi-spiritual way. But still. Brown doesn’t owe anybody an explanation of her beliefs. She wasn’t elected to be a pastor. She was elected to govern. Even if Graham wants to make her beliefs an issue, she’s under no obligation to take the bait.
She should be able to do her job, and live her life, without being the subject of mass prayers from the likes of Franklin Graham — who, I imagine, would be furious if a Muslim leader publicly declared his hope that a Christian politician turn to Islam.
(Image via Shutterstock)