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Franklin Graham begins 'Decision America Tour' before thousands in Fayetteville

Posted October 1, 2019 10:54 p.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2019 5:17 p.m. EDT

— Evangelist Franklin Graham kicked off his revival tour in Fayetteville Tuesday night.

For two weeks, Graham will visit eight cities in the Tar Heel state as part of the "Decision America Tour." Festival Park was filled Tuesday night with Graham's supporters, an estimated 9,200 people according to Fayetteville police. However, some Christians say the evangelist's conservative stance on political and social issues does not align with their beliefs.

Graham said the purpose of these revival stops is to preach the gospel and the relationship they can have with God. While many people anticipated seeing him inside the park, dozens of other Christians protested his visit.

"Our country is in a lot of chaos ... a lot of trouble ... and we need to pray for our country," Graham told the crowd Tuesday night.

He wasted little time calling out the climate of our country.

"I see our country not going forward but I see our country going backwards, and I think the only person that can solve the problems is not politicians ... it's God," Graham told WRAL.

It was Graham's first time preaching in Fayetteville. Ronda Martz said she grew up watching his late father, Billy Graham, preach the gospel across the country.

"I just love this ministry ... I really have seen it impact my life, personally my family's," Martz said. "My father never knew the Lord and went to the Billy Graham Crusade and God really used that to help him connect with God."

However, dozens of people across the street don’t agree with Graham’s views. The group protesting considers themselves progressive Christians. Jan Mumford doesn’t like his idea of blending religion and politics.

"Jesus is about love and if you're not about love ... he must be about something else," said Mumford, who is from Sampson County. "And if God teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves and we are taught to walk in the way of love."

Graham says division is what's tearing us about.

"All of us are sinners, all of us make mistakes," Graham said. "But we've got to work together and quit the name calling and finger pointing and work together."

Since 2016, Graham has taken his message of religion and politics on the road to all 50 states. His eight-city tour continues Wednesday in Greenville and he'll be in Raleigh on Sunday.

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