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story.lead_photo.caption A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office estimated that more than 9,000 people attended a rally Tuesday to hear evangelist Franklin Graham speak. - Photo by John Moritz

Thousands of worshipers flooded the state Capitol on Tuesday to hear evangelist Franklin Graham declare that "godless" politics are taking over governments across the 50 states he is touring.

Graham's speech in Little Rock is one leg of an election-year tour of every state's capital. The son of Billy Graham plans to speak in the capitals of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas in the next two weeks.

In a nearly 40-minute speech, Graham said he would not endorse any candidate or party, but specifically referred to "people on the left" organizing political activism, and urged those in attendance study the issues and vote.

Touching on specific issues, Graham called abortion, same-sex marriage, materialism and a focus on profit over morality the "sins of the nation."

The greatest applause came when Graham argued against political correctness and the separation of church and state.

"Secularism and communism are the same thing. They are both godless," Graham said. "We have every right to speak up; we have every right to take our faith into the halls of government."

Several churches shuttled bus loads of people to the event, and some groups set up stands petitioning for term limits while others handed out small American flags that many stuck in their hair or baseball caps.

A spokesman for the secretary of state's office estimated that more than 9,000 people attended the rally and said two of three people who collapsed during the event had to be taken to the hospital.

Adam Leavins, a 37-year-old pastor at the Unlimited Church in Maumelle, came with his wife and four daughters.

Wearing a black shirt with a red cross and the words "this shirt is illegal in 53 countries" Leavins said there is a "slippery slope" from secularism to countries where Christians are persecuted.

"We see in lots of states that if you disagree with that, you get shut down," Leavins said.

Leavins said he identified as a "conservative Christian" who typically votes Republican and plans to support Ted Cruz after other candidates dropped out.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments

  • FreeSpiritMan
    April 12, 2016 at 3:25 p.m.

    From the political insider : Not endorsing a candidate???????
    *
    President Barack Obama is heralding his nuclear deal with Iran as “another chapter in the pursuit of a more helpful and more hopeful world.” I don’t think so. Iran has a history of funding terrorism around the world, and they are Israel’s worst enemy. We are alienating our decades-long allies and cozying up to their enemies and ours. And Donald J. Trump was exactly right when he said, “we have four prisoners over there. We should have said ‘Let the prisoners out.'” One of these prisoners is our friend Pastor Saeed Abedini, and I haven’t heard the names of any of these four U.S. citizens mentioned in the negotiations with Iran. Some are calling this deal a potential death sentence for the State of Israel. Pray for our Congress that God would give them wisdom as they debate this important agreement. There’s a lot at stake here.
    Thank you, Rev. Graham for standing with Trump and opposing Obama’s Iran negotiations. There can be no negotiating with a country which treats Christians in such an evil way. America can not stand for the imprisonment of Saeed Abedini.
    *
    Guess what Obama got him released and now the authoritarian fundamentalist Christian preacher's wife said “Saeed told me things he demanded I must do to promote him in the eyes of the public that I simply could not do any longer. He threatened that if I did not, the results would be the end of our marriage and the resulting pain this would bring to our children.” I say send his wife abusing ass back to Iran escorted by by Franklin Graham.

  • RBBrittain
    April 12, 2016 at 3:51 p.m.

    It's sad how low the Graham family has sunk. During the Central High crisis, Billy Graham was actually a voice of reason; now, he & Franklin are voices of divisiveness. Secularism and communism are NOT the same thing; a free government MUST be essentially secular as long as it respects religious freedom, because everyone has different spiritual beliefs.
    .
    Unlike the 53 countries where that T-shirt is supposedly banned, NO ONE stopped Franklin from speaking on the Capitol steps today; that is how it should be. Still, that does NOT give anyone license to deprive OTHERS of their God-given rights. Yes, even LGBT people ultimately get their rights from Almighty God Himself -- *not* the Grahams.

  • Morebeer
    April 12, 2016 at 4:17 p.m.

    Wait, there are more GOP governors and GOP-controlled state ledges than ever, and he says godlessness is getting worse in the 50 state capitals. Must have figured out it's the libruls who really stand for what Jesus preached.

  • nrb
    April 12, 2016 at 4:29 p.m.

    I remember the Iran contra issue. Does Asa and his followers? Secularism and communism are not the same thing. I pray for the Republicans.

  • ahelms
    April 12, 2016 at 4:31 p.m.

    I suggest Mr. Graham read the Constitution, especially the part about separation of church and state.

  • itryed
    April 12, 2016 at 4:59 p.m.

    Everything south of "Free Spirit" comments....right on!

  • JakeTidmore
    April 12, 2016 at 5:13 p.m.

    This country is about inclusion, not exclusion. The equality and justice it holds precious belongs to ALL Americans, not just the ones who kowtow to a certain faith or political spectrum. Respect and honor all Americans and remember: religious bigotry is still bigotry.

  • mrcharles
    April 12, 2016 at 5:15 p.m.

    Just send your $10.00 help us rebuild Noah's arc so we can experience the glee of watching babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, women and men slowly drown with mercy and justice , which by the way do not go together. Or we can use the money for helping us defray the costs of those who will not work but will experience the fruits of your labor for divining the deity's wishes and step by step guide to living [ and of course slaughtering your neighborhood amalakites] from animal guts or other proper Leviticus delusions of ancient people .

    Other uses can be to publish bible stories for children for ancient people fooling around, slaughtering various cities and nations that needed totally slaughtered, the stories of Mary and her husband wondering if Jesus was mental [ she gets a statute over this?] , who is the Joseph's father [ really that quick it falls apart] , or the most famous reindeer of all- how to properly hate your closest relatives so you can avoid infinite burning hell for some finite crime of having the wrong beliefs [ I mean they are so clear] .

    But dont suffer you probably had bad vibes about Franklin [ why wont he get a job] , I think he needs a "job" in the worst way, so their step is to make sure you dont even think thoughts -- be the first on your block to be arrested by the thought police.

    Wonder if the celestial decoder has the same ideas about "THE JEWS" as his distinguished father did?

    Collapsed and taken to a hospital. Wasnt that G-d's will? Why were they no proper laying of hands to cure their spells [ good description]? Remember hospitals have g-dless commie science , so why do the deluded break their vows & usually go to a doctor/hospital for treatment?

    We of course are the new Israel and correct Israel. We were on a mission from G-d to get rid of the people who inhabited here, & once their land was vacant by disease & our slaughter, well capitalism said gosh take and use this land. Christians also got to burn a few real live witches. Woo hoo.

    Franklin why dont you get a stick & beat a few women, you might feel better.

    This is all true as I have a warm fuzzy feeling that tells me I'm right.

  • Lifelonglearner
    April 12, 2016 at 5:27 p.m.

    If you are going to condemn materialism you need to do it at the shopping malls during the weeks before Christmas.

  • nwar
    April 12, 2016 at 5:38 p.m.

    I'm sure that the charlatan huckster Graham didn't forget to ask those nice folks to empty their pockets for him. This is the kind of guy that gives Christianity a bad name.

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