Trump Isn’t the First Monster Evangelicals Backed

Graham calls for prayers for Putin as he prepares to ravage Ukraine

Manny Otiko
5 min readFeb 21, 2022


Franklin Graham and Vladimir Putin. (Twitter)

One of the most bizarre elements of the Trump years was the unholy alliance between the former president and evangelical Christians. I’ve written several articles about this subject. Trump received more than 80% of the Evangelical vote. Many of them rank him alongside Jesus Christ. One sign at the Jan. 6 terrorist attack read “Jesus is my Lord, Trump is my president,” However, this decision has done lasting damage to the church’s reputation.

But some Evangelicals also have an affinity for another neo-fascist dictator; Vladimir Putin. Putin has drawn praise from evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham. He visited with Putin, shook his hand and has aligned with his anti-gay stance.

“It’s obvious that President Obama and his administration are pushing the gay-lesbian agenda in America today and have sold themselves completely to that which is contrary to God’s teaching,” said Graham in a 2014 issue of Decision Magazine. “In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

Pray Away the Invasion

So it is not surprising that Graham declared he would pray for Putin over the weekend. This is in the face of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine that could kill thousands.

“Pray for President Putin. This may sound like a strange request, and I might get some angry comments, but we need to pray that God would work in his heart so that war — and the loss of thousands of lives — could be avoided at all cost,” said Graham in a Facebook post.

Ironically, Graham asked his followers to pray for Putin and didn’t ask them to pray for the citizens of Ukraine, or his own president, Joe Biden. I guess we know where his bread…



Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.