Jerusha Duford, granddaughter of the late Billy Graham, says that she will be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden this election and has written an op-ed and recorded a video citing the values of her grandfather and asking Christians not to vote for Donald Trump.
“I want every marginalized community, every sex, every race, every nationality and every sexual orientation to know that Jesus loves them,” she told the Huffington Post in a recent email. “I want them to know that if they have not felt that from the Church through this administration, then we have failed.”
Duford, the daughter of Gigi Graham and sister of Tullian Tchividjian, has lent her name to several efforts to endorse Biden, including Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden and Vote Common Good. See press release here.
“My president doesn’t have to be a Christian, but Donald Trump has been lifted up as a man of faith,” she said in a video shared to social media by Vote Common Good. “Where did we lose our recognition of what Jesus looks like?”
“Our allegiance first is to Jesus and to Scripture and to the Holy Spirit. Voting for a Republican is not as important as listening to that Spirit inside of us,” Duford stated. “It’s okay to go against what you’ve always done and it’s not too late.”
Duford, who reportedly first voted for a Democrat when Barack Obama ran for reelection, says that Trump does not represent the Christian faith. She told the Huffington Post that she also doesn’t agree with Biden on some issues but believes him to be a “man of faith and integrity” and better suitable to embody her values.
She acknowledged that while identifying as pro-life, she wishes the Democratic Party placed “greater value for life inside the womb.” But she said that she also would like the Republican Party to “place a greater value on life outside the womb,” as the meaning of pro-life should be expanded to include addressing poverty, health care coverage and racism.
She said that one of the reasons she decided to voice her view is because she disagrees with her uncle, Franklin Graham, who supports President Trump. She states that other females in her family feel that same.
In August, she wrote an op-ed citing her grandfather and explaining why she doesn’t believe Trump lives up to the values Billy Graham stood for. The piece was entitled “I’m Billy Graham’s Granddaughter. Evangelical Support for Donald Trump Insults His Legacy.”
“As a proud granddaughter of the man largely credited for beginning the evangelical movement, the late Billy Graham, the past few years have led me to reflect on how much has changed within that movement in America,” she wrote in the article published by USA Today.
“I have spent my entire life in the Church, with every big decision guided by my faith. But now I feel homeless. Like so many others, I feel disoriented as I watch the Church I have always served turn its eyes away from everything it teaches,” Duford stated.
Among the issues cited is her disagreement of Trump’s handling of immigration.
“Trump has gone so far as to brag about his plans, accomplishments and unholy actions toward the marginalized communities I saw my grandfather love and serve. I now see, through the silence of church leaders, that these communities are no longer valued by individuals claiming to uphold the values my grandfather taught,” Duford wrote.
She also pointed to the 2020 race-related riots, which she opined were “incited in great part by this president’s divisive rhetoric,” and also took offense at Trump holding up a Bible at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square as she viewed the matter as a mere photo op.
Duford said that she is disturbed that evangelicals have not taken the president to task but have only praised him, remarking, “The entire world has watched the term ‘evangelical’ become synonymous with hypocrisy and disingenuousness.”
“One of my grandfather’s favorite verses was Micah 6:8, in which we are told that the Lord requires of his people to do justly, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk humbly. These are the attributes of our faith we should present to the world. We can no longer allow our church leaders to represent our faith so erroneously,” she wrote.
As previously reported, in his best-selling autobiography “Just As I Am,” first published in 1997, Billy Graham wrote favorably of Bill Clinton, suggesting that he considered the then-president to be a Christian. While noting that Clinton drew opposition from Christians at times, most likely referring to his unbiblical stances, he said that he still sensed that Clinton’s heart was toward the Lord.
He recalled a meeting at the White House in which the two talked about the Bible, writing, “It was a time of warm fellowship with a man who has not always won the approval of his fellow Christians, but who has in his heart a desire to serve God and do His will.” Read the excerpt here.
Graham outlined that during the 1996 presidential election he refused to endorse one candidate or the other, as he considered both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole to be his friends. He said that he simply prayed that God’s will would be done and that whoever was elected would serve with integrity.
In 1993, Graham drew controversy for agreeing to present the invocation at Clinton’s first inauguration despite the president-elect’s views, from which he dissented.
According to a New York Times article, “By taking part in the inauguration of President Clinton, a fellow Southern Baptist, Mr. Graham infuriated some conservative Christians who said he should have shunned an administration that strongly supports abortion rights and opposes the armed forces’ bar against homosexuals.”
“Mr. Graham himself has said that abortion is generally an unjustified taking of a human life, but he admits exceptions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life. He has called homosexual acts sinful, but has warned against treating homosexuals as outcasts,” the outlet outlined.
Many Christians do not consider the Clintons to be Christians despite their notations of their Methodist and Baptist backgrounds, and it was because of their stances on moral issues that many strongly opposed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
However, Graham was vocal about his concerns surrounding the moral decline of America in his latter years, and warned that the nation “can’t go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming.”
As previously reported, John MacArthur of Grace Community Church and The Master’s University and Seminary took a different view to this year’s election than Duford, outlining in August that he told President Trump that “any real true believer is going to be on your side in this election, because it’s not just an individual. It’s an entire set of policies that Christians cannot in any way affirm.”
But some believe Christians don’t have to feel that Democratic and Republican are the only two options in the voting booth. They can choose neither.
David Whitney, pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Pasadena, Maryland, and senior instructor with the Institute on the Constitution, told Christian News Network that Christians need to “evaluate the candidates … by the criteria in Exodus 18,” which states that God’s people are to select for their rulers “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.”
“People need to come to their own conclusions about those running for office and not just assume it’s one [party] or another,” he said.
New York Governor and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Jay, who later became president of Hornblower’s American Bible Society, once said in 1816 in a letter to John Murray, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Founding father Noah Webster, known for penning the American dictionary, also wrote in exhorting fellow Christians, “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God.”
“The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty. If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted. Laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes, corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws, the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men, and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded.”
“If government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”