Franklin Graham came to Canby last Sunday on a mission to save the soul of Oregon—or at least upend its election results.

The famed evangelist and son of Billy Graham preached to a crowd of more than 12,000 at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. It was the third sermon on Graham's seven-city swing through Oregon and Washington. (He made previous stops in Medford and Bend, and he told a Canby Herald reporter he had slipped incognito into the crowd at the previous day's Patriot Prayer protests.)

Graham's visit carries some political weight. In California, his election-year crusades are seen as a stalking horse to mobilize evangelical voters and gain traction for conservative candidates.

The crowd for Franklin Graham’s “Decision America” visit on Aug. 5. (WW Staff)
The crowd for Franklin Graham’s “Decision America” visit on Aug. 5. (WW Staff)

And in his Canby sermon—attended by WW; the topic was Sodom and Gomorrah—Graham wasted no time before wading into politics. He opened with an exhortation for evangelicals to run for office and defy the "progressives" who he said were bringing pornography into public-school classrooms. "Secularism and communism are one and the same," he said. "They are godless forms of government."

He was subtler in discussing the Oregon governor's race, which polls indicate is a tossup between incumbent Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and Republican challenger Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend. In fact, Graham performed a sophisticated feat of verbal jujitsu on the governor that would impress the most passive-aggressive Portlander.

Here's what he said.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. (Office of the governor)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. (Office of the governor)

Christians need to vote. "If the church went to the polls and voted, you could turn this state around. The enemy out there thinks the church is asleep."

Christians need to vote for people who will support Christians. "I'm not here to tell you who to vote for, what party or anything like that. I'm just saying vote. We need to vote for candidates who are going to defend not only our Constitution but who are going to defend our religious freedoms."

Kate Brown isn't a Christian. "Let's pray for your governor, Gov. Brown. Wouldn't it be something if she got saved? Amen.…We pray for Kate Brown. And Lord, I pray that she would come to know your son Jesus Christ as her lord and savior one day."