In the “Axios on HBO” report that aired Sunday May 16, 2021, interviewing Reverend Franklin Graham, it was revealed that 45% of white evangelicals say they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine. Graham tackled the topics of vaccines as well as some pointed questions about former President Donald Trump.
Graham Says It’s Pro-Life to Get the Vaccine
Host Mike Allen asked Graham if he considered getting the vaccine to be a pro-life decision. President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said, “Of course. And I’m pro-life. I believe in saving the life of the unborn as much as those that are born…and medicine is pro-life.”
Graham said he believes so many Christians are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because, “Some people are just scared of needles. I was scared of needles as a younger person. I would encourage people to pray about it, to look into it, to investigate it.”
Graham Shares How He Navigated Vaccine Misinformation
When Allen outlined the pattern of misinformation being spread about the COVID-19 vaccine on the Internet, he asked Graham how he manages to find truth about the vaccine.
“I don’t listen to those people,” Graham said. He shared that during a meal with Dr. Ben Carson, Graham had asked the doctor whether he would take the vaccine when it became available. According to Graham, Carson responded, “Absolutely, I’m gonna take it.”
Graham also explained that he talked to other doctors and scientists who shared Carson’s positive response to getting the vaccine. “I’m not a doctor and I’m not a scientist,” Graham said, “and when you hear those who are and they have the comfort level in it—people I knew—there is no question it was safe.”
Referring to the lockdown policies the entire world has undertaken in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Graham said he believes those polices will eventually “produce great harm.”
“The vaccine is a personal decision because this is going to affect your life whether you like it or not,” Graham said. “If you don’t take it, you could get COVID and really be sick and could really regret not having that vaccine.”
Graham Encourages Pastors to Inform Their Congregations
Graham told Allen he encourages all pastors to inform their congregations where they could get a vaccine. “We are leaders in a community,” he said, “and we have a responsibility to inform of the truth.”
After saying he hasn’t been contacted by President Biden’s administration or the CDC, Graham told Allen, “I would work with the Biden administration. I would work with the CDC. I would work with all of them to try to help save life.”
Allen said, “Rev. Graham, nothing’s more important to you than saving souls,” In which Graham replied, “Yeah,” then explained “I want people to know that God loves them. He will forgive you and God will accept you into his presence.”
“I want people to know that COVID-19 can kill you, but we have a vaccine out there that could possibly save your life,” he said. “And if you wait, it can be too late.”
Graham Answers Questions About President Trump
In another part of the interview, Graham was asked whether he thought it was a mistake for former President Trump to demonize the press. Without hesitancy, he responded, “No question about it.”
When asked if he could tell Trump hard truths, Graham said, “Yes,” but that sometimes he has walked out of the Oval Office thinking he’d never be invited back again.
Finally, as one of Trump’s most influential Christian supporters, Graham was asked whether he believes Joe Biden is the legitimate President of the United States (based on Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was massively fraudulent). Graham said, “Yes. He’s been sworn in.” Graham also told Allen he wasn’t sure whether the former president would run in 2024 and said he didn’t know if Trump would have a chance of winning if he did.
The full interview can be watched here.