(RNS) Evangelist Franklin Graham has taken to Facebook to plead for prayers on behalf of each U.S. Supreme Court justices as they prepare to rule on gay marriage.
Recognizing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right “would be a wicked, wicked thing,” said Graham, son of the iconic preacher Billy Graham “The only hope we have is prayer.”
“Imagine tens and tens and tens of thousands of Americans praying for God to hear their prayers and to change the hearts of these justices. God just might do that.”
So far, Graham has posted prayers for seven of the justices on his Facebook page, which has 1.4 million “likes.” He plans to do two more in the coming days, covering all nine justices, both those who may rule for and those who are against same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide before the end of June. Many court observers believe the court is poised, if not to declare the constitutionality of gay marriage, then at least to require states to recognize gay marriages established in states where it is legal.
Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Samaritan’s Purse charity, describes Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the subject of his latest post, as the daughter of immigrants who made good on the American dream.
“Unfortunately,” the post continues, “she is also an example of someone who seems to be very misguided on the issue of same-sex marriage. She voted to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2014, and homosexual advocates consider her an ally in their fight to make same-sex marriage the law of the land.
“Let’s pray for Justice Sotomayor to have the wisdom to know that as a society we cannot survive if we turn our back on God’s standards and His definition of marriage,” the post concludes.
The Sotomayor post has received more than 34,900 “likes.” The one for Justice Samuel Alito, who, Graham writes, seems to understand the consequences of a ruling for gay marriage, garnered more than 92,400 “likes.”
“Social media, and Facebook in particular, has become a powerful pulpit,” said Scott Thumma, professor of sociology and religion at Hartford Institute for Religion Research. “The Graham clan has long understood the power of the media.”
“With nearly 1 million likes on Facebook and a quarter of a million followers on Twitter, Franklin Graham can inexpensively influence and incite his followers without the infrastructure his father required to persuade the masses,” Thumma said.
This is not the first time Graham has turned to social media to sway public opinion on a controversial issue in the news.
Duke University dropped plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from the bell tower of Duke Chapel in January after Graham launched a Facebook campaign decrying the idea.
“As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering, and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism,” his Facebook post read.
Graham also asked Duke alumni to refrain from donating to the university until it canceled the call to prayer.
YS/MG END MARKOE