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Washington Rally Attracts Tens of Thousands

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington on Saturday for a rally and march organized by Christian leaders including Franklin Graham.

“It’s important that men and women of God come to Washington, and let’s call on his name and ask for his help,” Graham told RNS. “We are so divided, politically, morally, spiritually. We’re just divided. We pray that God can help unite this nation to be truly the United States of America.”

Graham insists the march is not an effort to encourage voting or to rally evangelicals to the polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election. His only agenda is to get people to repent and pray, he said.

The march began at noon and paused at seven locations along the 1.8-mile route. At the World War II Memorial, participants were asked to pray for the military, police and law enforcement.  At the Washington Monument, they prayed for “salvation of the lost,” a cure for the coronavirus and an end to abortion.

Among those who led prayers at each of the seven spots are familiar evangelical figures. They included Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, who is also one of the president’s evangelical advisers, and Andrew Brunson, the American missionary jailed in Turkey after the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Alveda King, a niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and an outspoken Trump supporter, will offer a prayer outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Acting Liberty President Jerry Prevo said he sent 2,200 students from the Lynchburg, Virginia, evangelical school to the march. (Prevo sits on the board of Graham’s humanitarian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse.)

Christians in cities such as Sikeston, Missouri;Overbrook, Kansas; and Gillette, Wyoming, held their own Main Street marches to coincide with the D.C. event.

Darrell Long, a ministry leader at Desert Springs Church in Hesperia, California, organized a march Saturday morning. According to a news report, the mayor of the city, 35 miles north of downtown San Bernardino, attended the rally.

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is a North Carolina-based reporter who has written about religion for more than 17 years. She is a national reporter and senior editor for Religion News Service.