By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — Like many Christians around the country today, Jerry Jeter is not pleased with the two likely presidential candidates (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) in the November election.
So, he launched an effort May 9 on ipetitions.com to ask evangelist Franklin Graham to consider running for president as an independent candidate. Graham is the eldest son of Billy and Ruth Graham and the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
On the website, Jeter wrote, “After wrestling with the current state of the 2016 presidential election, I have concluded that I cannot in good conscience vote for the lesser of two evils.
“As a Christian I should not vote for evil of any kind. Therefore, after much prayerful consideration, I believe my best course of action is to urge a godly person to run for president. The man who stands for biblical principles best in this day and time in our country is Franklin Graham,” wrote Jeter, pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church, Clarksville.
Graham spoke May 3 at a stop on his Decision America Tour 2016 in Nashville. The event drew an estimated 8,600 people and was the largest turnout to date at prayer rallies he is holding in cities across America to encourage people to pray for the nation and to vote in the November election. During the rallies Graham has not endorsed any political candidate or party.
In a telephone interview with the Baptist and Reflector, Jeter acknowledged the petition drive is a long shot. “I know this would require a miracle. But we need a miracle,” he said.
Jeter noted he is “stepping out in faith and praying and hoping that other Christians will see that Franklin Graham will be a great man for the job.
“If there’s ever been a time that an independent candidate could win, it would be now because it seems nobody is happy with the two choices we have now.”
Jeter is philosophical about his effort. “If I fail attempting to do something big for God, that’s better than succeeding at doing nothing,” he said.
Jeter said he was unsuccessful in trying to contact Graham before the petition drive but hopes to try again if he gets 1,000 signatures. The day after the petition was posted, 112 people had signed the online petition.
To see the petition, go to ipetitions.com and type Franklin Graham in the search box.
The Baptist and Reflector’s attempt to get a statement from Graham was unsuccessful, but Graham told a Religious News Service reporter in March that he is “absolutely not” running for office.