There's no difference between secularism and communism — and evangelical Christians must use their votes this election year to fight any attempt "to take God out of government," famed preacher Franklin Graham is urging.
Kicking off a 50-state push to rally evangelicals to elect candidates who share their biblical principles, the North Carolina-based son of iconic minister Billy Graham argued "progressives want to push us off to one side," the Citizen-Times reports
"Well, I'm here to say today I'm not going without a fight," he told an estimated crowd of about 2,500 at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines on the first day of his Decision America Tour
, the newspaper reports.
"Secularism and communism, there's no difference," said the leader of the Billy Graham Foundation and Samaritan's Purse charity, adding the nation's system of government "has come from God and secularists are wanting to take it away."
"They're wanting to take God out of government," Graham said.
Graham, who has said he won't endorse any specific candidate — and who has formally withdrawn from the Republican Party
— asked people to sign a pledge that asks them to support "candidates who will uphold biblical principles, including the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage."
"Let's elect men and women to office who will lead this nation back to really be one nation under God, that can truthfully say once again, 'In God we trust,' " Graham said.
On his Facebook page
Thursday, Graham called the opening rally "exciting."
"I was moved to see hundreds of people come out in the bitter cold join me in praying for God to heal our land," he writes. "Over 2500 — men, women, and children, people of all ages realizing the urgency of this critical time in our nation’s history — were willing to take a bold stand for God."
"We need to vote, and we need to elect men and women to office who will lead this nation back to 'one nation under God'," he adds. "The truth is, unless America turns back to God and repents of its sin and experiences a spiritual revival, we will fail as a nation."
The next scheduled date for the tour is Jan. 12 in Tallahassee, Fla. Graham also said he'd decided to add six additional tour stops in April.
© 2016 Newsmax. All rights reserved.