'This Week' Transcript: God and Government

Transcript: God and Government

ByABC News
April 24, 2011, 5:00 AM

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2011 — -- AMANPOUR: The link between politics and the pulpit has always been strong. And one no one has been a spiritual adviser to more presidents than the Reverend Billy Graham.

These days, it's his son, franklin graham, who continues his father's crusades, preaching to millions of people around the world. He also serves as the president of Samaritan's Purse, an international aid organization that does relief work in the developing world with missionary zeal.

But this Easter Sunday, reverend graham tells us his most pressing concerns lie closer to home, inside the souls of americans and the seat of our government.CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC NEWS: Reverend Graham, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.


AMANPOUR: Easter is, obviously, an enormously important holiday for Christians all over the world.


AMANPOUR: What's the word that you most dearly associate with Easter? Is it sacrifice, is it love? What is it?

GRAHAM: It's all of that. It's God's love, it's the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me.

When I look at Easter, I look at my sins and realize that Jesus Christ paid my debt in full when he died on that cross, he died for me, he died for you, Christiane

AMANPOUR: you have also said that we live in the time of the anti-Christ.


AMANPOUR: How do you reconcile those two?

GRAHAM: I look at the world in which we live today, and the secularism is anti-Christ. It's every bit anti-Christ. We can't talk about Jesus in our schools. God has been kicked out of our government. Whether it's Europe or whether it's here, yes. The spirit of anti-Christ is in the world today.

AMANPOUR: We in this country and around the world are living in very dire times right now. Dire financial times, economic crisis, the gap between rich and poor is growing, not only here, but all over the world.

What can the church do to fill that gap and to step into that gap?

GRAHAM: Christiane, a hundred years ago, the safety net, the social safety net in the country was provided by the church.

If you didn't have a job, you'd go to your local church and ask the pastor if he know somebody that could hire him. If you were hungry, you went to the local church and told them, "I can't feed my family." And the church would help you. And that's not being done.

But the government took that. And took it away from the church. And they had more money to give and more programs to give, and pretty soon, the churches just backed off.

And as a result, now you have generation after generation of pastors in churches that have not done that. And you would have to teach them again how to do it.

AMANPOUR: You do a lot of work, not just in the United States, but overseas. You've been all over the world, to Africa, Asia, Haiti and, most recently, to Japan. And you have said that so many of these earth-shattering events that we're experiencing over the last few years, whether it's natural disasters, wars, or whatever it is, it's almost like the labor pains for the second coming.

GRAHAM: Well, Jesus said these events// would come with more frequency and would increase in intensity, just like labor pains. So, that's what the Bible says.

AMANPOUR: So, describe what sort of era we are, Biblically right now, in terms of a second coming, in terms of a change.