Former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham added the rise of the Democratic Party’s socialist left to a list of concerns like abortion and same-sex marriage on the line in “a battle for the soul of our nation.”
“Socialism is fundamentally at odds with the Christian worldview and seeks to suppress all peoples in support of the state,” Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, said in a televised sermon on Sunday. “No one serious about their Christian faith can be serious about supporting socialism.”
“The president said in his State of the Union address that America will never be a socialist nation,” said Graham, a member of Donald Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory team.
While some in the audience cheered the president’s line, Graham said, others withheld applause, “because there’s another element in the country that believes that socialism — a brand of democratic socialism or otherwise — is what America needs today.”
Graham, 69, said polls show a majority of Americans still oppose socialism, but the gap is narrowing – especially among those ages 21-35 influenced by socialist teaching in “elitist” schools, typically secular but sometimes even in “so-called Christian universities.”
“Some young people see capitalism, corporate America, as being greedy, without compassion, without concern, and we have to admit that there is a lot of greed in people’s lives,” Graham said. “But here’s the thing, young people under 30 have not seen in their lifetime the devastating effects of Soviet-style repression and oppression through socialism and its big bad brother communism.”
“Socialism is totally secular and is predicated on atheism,” he said. “Our faith in Jesus Christ is built on the word of God, the revelation of God, that God exists, that we believe in the resurrection of Christ, and with that faith comes freedom to live an abundant life with liberty, but Karl Marx, the father of scientific socialism, considered religion of all kinds, and specifically Christianity, as the opiate of the masses. You’re on drugs if you believe in God.”
Graham said some may argue that socialism being promoted today in the United States is different than the old-school socialism represented by Cold War totalitarian regimes.
“It would be a catastrophic miscalculation to think that socialist hostility towards religion, and Christianity specifically, has changed in any way since the days of Karl Marx,” Graham said. “Socialist countries today are secular in nature, often repressing and oppressing people of faith, all faiths, and particularly are determined to root out Christianity.”
“Name me one socialist-style country, communist or otherwise, that is open to faith without oppression and suppression of that faith,” he said. “It is at the very root of this thing called socialism.”
Graham said the economic danger posed by socialism is that it “leads to misery, poverty, disease and death.”
“In America, socialism has produced a welfare state of sorts, and that will not work for the future of America,” he said. “It’s not working now.”
“Every healthy person should work, and that includes senior adults in so-called retirement,” Graham said. “The goal of your life is not to get to the beach and better your tan or lower your golf score when you quit working. The goal of your life is to honor God, glorify God, by working hard your entire life and serving with him with what he has given you to use for his glory. That’s the goal of your work life, and it never stops.”
President Trump has said the recent Democratic primary debates suggest the party is moving toward socialism.
“I heard there’s a rumor the Democrats are going to change the name of the party from the ‘Democrat Party’ to the ‘Socialist Party,’” Trump quipped during a White House briefing June 28. “I’m hearing that, but let’s see if they do it.”