Evangelicals rally with famous preacher at Utah State Capitol

Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 20:08:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Rev. Franklin Graham preached on the steps of the Utah State Capitol Tuesday morning as part of his 50-state "Decision America 2016" tour.

The Beehive State has a relatively small Evangelical population, so it may not be a big surprise that it had the smallest rally on Graham's tour so far.

The bigger surprise perhaps is that an estimated 1,500 people showed up, the biggest political rally this year for anyone not named Bernie Sanders.

"I didn't think anyone would come when I saw the snow falling earlier today I was pleased that a crowd this large would come. It's been a great day; very pleased," Graham said.

Graham told the crowd to pray before they vote, and to even consider getting involved in running for office.

"For unless America turns back to God, repents of its sin and experiences a spiritual revival, we will fail as a nation," Graham said.

Franklin Graham is the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, who retired due to advanced Parkinson's disease.

Graham took over his father's ministry at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

He also runs the international relief agency called Samaritan's Purse, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world with annual revenues of half a billion dollars.

While Graham is staying away from partisan endorsements, he has made a number of controversial statements, including recent Facebook posts about Brussels saying: "Why does Islam hate so much? It’s because the Quran teaches its followers to hate."

He is also vocally against LGBT rights, ordinances and same-sex marriage.