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'The only hope...is God': Franklin Graham responds to Donald Trump's lewd leaked audio

Posted October 20

Reactions to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's lewd comments about women have run the gamut in recent days, with some earlier supporters now separating themselves from the GOP contender.. (Deseret Photo)

Reactions to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's lewd comments about women have run the gamut in recent days, with some earlier supporters now separating themselves from the GOP contender.

These reactions have been especially notable among evangelicals and other Christian leaders, who have been split on whether to keep up support — or push back against — Trump in the wake of controversial leaked audio from 2005.

Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, has been among those weighing in. He published a Facebook post Saturday addressing furor over Trump's sexual remarks.

"The crude comments made by Donald J. Trump more than 11 years ago cannot be defended," Graham said. "But the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likewise cannot be defended."

Graham, who repeated his stated pledge not to endorse any candidates this election cycle, reiterated yet another proclamation he's made about Trump and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton: "Both candidates are flawed."

"The only hope for the United States is God," he continued. "Our nation’s many sins have permeated our society, leading us to where we are today. But as Christians we can’t back down from our responsibility to remain engaged in the politics of our nation."

Rather than disengage from the political process amid a heated and contentious electoral race, Graham said every American has a choice to make in November — one based on "two...very different visions for the future of America."

But while Graham endorsed neither Trump nor Clinton, he cited an issue that has been of particular concern to many faithful Americans this election cycle: the Supreme Court.

"The most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court," he said. "That impacts everything."

While the candidates' scandals are dominating headlines, Graham noted that whomever Trump or Clinton nominates to the court will have a profound impact on America, remaking the "fabric of our society" in the coming generations.

And while Graham's comments and his rebuke of Trump were a bit more measured, others — like theologian Wayne Grudem — went further, officially distancing themselves from Trump.

As Deseret News previously reported, Grudem initially shocked the evangelical world when he came out in support of Trump back in July, releasing an op-ed at the time in which he called a vote for Trump a "morally good choice."

But once Trump's latest remarks about women emerged, Grudem not only pushed back against the Republican candidate, but he also published another opinion piece Oct. 9, officially rescinding his July endorsement.

"I previously called Donald Trump a 'good candidate with flaws' and a 'flawed candidate' but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character," Grudem wrote. "I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election."

Graham and Grudem are just two Christian leaders who have weighed in on the Trump debacle, with many others also sharing their perspectives. Since the beginning, Trump has struggled among some segments of the faithful, as critics have taken issue with his oft-times brash commentary and behavior.

Still, as we previously reported, polls show Trump leading Clinton among evangelicals, many other Christian cohorts and adults with a biblical worldview, while Clinton fares much better among atheists, agnostics and other more secular cohorts. Read more about the groups supporting each candidate here.

One thing is clear: Leaked audio of Trump's 2005 comments has clearly hurt him, with Clinton nearly six points ahead of her Republican rival in the wake of the controversy.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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