RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 7,000 people filled Raleigh’s Coastal Credit Union Music Park on Sunday to hear Rev. Franklin Graham.
The son of the late Billy Graham made a stop in the Triangle on his Tar Heel State Tour.
Graham asked people to pray for communities and leaders in North Carolina and around the country. He said part of the message on his tour is about telling people to have a relationship with God.
“People realize our country’s in trouble,” Graham told CBS 17. “Society has changed. We’re not better. If anything, our country is worse. People are more divided today. We still have huge racial divides in this country. We still have problems with the poor in this country.”
Graham stood by President Donald Trump when referencing the impeachment inquiry to reporters.
“They’re fighting in Washington trying to impeach a president, who the American people elected,” Graham said. “Impeached for a phone call? This is crazy stuff. We need to fix the problems, and I think that’s what the American people expect from our politicians.”
But Democrats spent Sunday arguing the opposite.
“My focus is the fact that you’ve got a president that’s acting like a global gangster,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said. “He’s basically going to one leader after another trying to get dirt on his political opponent. I consider that a violation of our laws.”
Graham also spoke out against the LGBT community on Sunday.
“God made sex, created sex, and he wants us to use it and enjoy it,” Graham said. “But it’s to be used and enjoyed in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Not two men. Not two women.”
Rev. Randy Lewis, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, responded to Franklin Graham’s speech with a statement:
“The church history is full of tragic examples of biblical misinterpretations that throughout centuries led to calamities and suffering. And today, some of the violence directed at the LGBTQ+ community stems from the religious rhetoric of those who, like Franklin Graham, may claim that they love us but whose stated intent is largely overshadowed by the devastatingly negative impact their words, actions, and promoted legislation have had in the lives of LGBTQ+ people.
“Rhetoric can be harmful and violent indeed. I deeply resent Rev. Graham’s bringing into question the sanctity of my 18-year-long committed relationship, of which the last 4 years we’ve enjoyed having the legal marital status as affirmed by the Supreme Court of this Land, and I will vehemently oppose any attempt to dissolve this right.
“There is a growing number of Christians who recognize that Christ did not seek aligning himself with the powerful and influential of this world but with those who were disenfranchised, persecuted, and mistreated. At the core of Christ’s subversive message was divine love and reconciliation. More and more people wake up to the notion that the true, Christ-like version of Christianity, as well as many other religions and faith traditions, upholds and honors the value and dignity of all humanity demonstrating an unconditional love that transcends all barriers and gives hope to those longing for acceptance. It is in this spirit and with this mandate that I serve my community as a minister and as the board chair.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh stands in solidarity with numerous community organizations and countless allies in the area who unequivocally raise their voices against all forms of bigotry and discrimination – whether it is religious or political.”
CBS 17 asked Graham about those who oppose who views.
“First of all, they’re always welcome,” Graham said. “We invite them. I hope they come, but there’s always been opposition. Everywhere we go, we’ve always had opposition. I kind of like it, it makes things a little more interesting. It spices things up a bit.”
Graham’s tour continues this week with stops in Greensboro, Hickory and Charlotte.