Christian evangelist and missionary, Franklin Graham, appeared on Fox News on Saturday to discuss the raging coronavirus pandemic. Per Raw Story, speaking with host Jeanine Pirro, Graham argued that sinners are to blame for what is happening in the United States and around the world.
Pirro kicked off the discussion by noting that the death toll is growing, with hundreds of thousands of Americans having contracted the dangerous virus. She then asked her guest why God is letting thousands die.
"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham responded. "It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge."
He proceeded to explain his theory. According to Graham, sinners will soon have a chance to ask for forgiveness.
"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he asserted.
"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God."President Donald Trump has previously suggested that he would like to loosen social distancing measures and reopen the economy by Easter. He has since back-pedaled on the promise, with the administration extending social distancing guidelines until the end of April.
The president appears to be changing his mind once again, however. During the daily coronavirus press briefing on Saturday, Trump floated the idea of allowing congregations to open for Easter Sunday.
"Maybe we could allow them, with great separation outside, on Easter Sunday. I dunno, it's something we should talk about," he said.
Graham, an outspoken Trump backer, has directed his disaster relief organization Samaritan's Purse to help with the coronavirus pandemic. According to HuffPost, the organization is now involved in a scandal, with advocates urging hospitals to reject its help due to Graham's "well-established" opposition to LGBTQ rights.Although Trump seems eager to reopen the economy as soon as possible, he is also issuing dire warnings about the pandemic. The president said on Saturday that the coming week will be "the toughest" so far.
"There will be a lot of death, unfortunately," he told reporters gathered at the White House.
The American people don't share Trump's optimism with regards to reopening the economy, polling suggests. According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday, 72 percent of Americans say they are canceling and postponing their plans because of the pandemic, and 89 percent are concerned they will contract the virus.
This seems to have had an impact on Trump's approval rating, with 52 percent now saying they disapprove of the way he is handling the crisis.