Evangelist, Franklin Graham - was at the state capitol Tuesday. He is on a 50-state tour - calling on Christians: to pray for the country, their leaders - and, to promote biblical principles at the ballot box.
Extra security greeted franklin graham's Decision America tour -- as well as Governor Greg Abbott and several other elected officials.
This stop in Austin is the 17th state capitol for graham to visit. It’s a cross country journey that’s part political rally and part prayer meeting.
“I’ll tell you right now I have zero hope in the democratic party, but before you republican start high fiving each other, I have zero hope in the republican party, or any other party, the only hope for this country is God."
Bill and Mary Palmer were among the estimated 8,100 people to gather in front of the south steps. The couple drove from Dallas hoping to help spur on a national spiritual revival.
"I want to see God move us back to the foundation this country was founded on,” said Palmer.
Graham told the group it’s time for the nation to repent from a number of sins.
"And where do we begin; the list is a long list,” said Graham.
He spoke out against abortion, same-sex marriage, pride, greed, racism and conforming to political correctness. Together they held hands and prayed.
This tour comes at a time when several state legislatures have passed controversial religious freedom laws. The legislation has been described as a license to discriminate. Bill Wallace, a Franklin supporter, called it something else.
"It’s handled with love, but sometimes it’s with tough love, tough love is always the hardest, but what we cannot do as Christians is condoning sin if we condone sin the sinner has no hope."
While Graham offered no political endorsement, he did urge those at the rally to get involved in the political process. A few immediately did just that, by exercising their right to disagree with him.
“I’ve seen the danger that this kind of thing does to people, it demonizes,” said Ilene Dunn an Austin pastor.
There were not a lot of protest signs, but those that were there did generate some tense discussions. Lisa Hildebrand brought one.
"We want to spread love, we want everyone to know God is big enough for everybody, he loves everybody no matter what."
After the rally, several of the protesters were given hugs -- which Graham encourages. But he also had this to say about co-existing with those in gay community as well as those from other religions.
"They can be who they are, they can live what they want to live, but don’t tell us we have to change our laws to accommodate you."
Graham's tour now heads to Oklahoma City and after that Topeka, Kansas.