The United States is experiencing a "war on Christmas", according to Franklin Graham.
Writing in December's Decision magazine, the leading evangelical and founder of Samaritan's Purse said that in the last few decades the US " has witnessed increased hostility toward the sacred nature of Christmas, erupting into what has become a blatant war on Christmas".
He went on: "Stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas, stripping it of any holy or historical significance. Christian songs, prayers and other spiritually vital connections to the Lord Jesus Christ are deleted or diminished."
He instanced cases around the country where authorities had removed Christian symbols or rebranded the Christmas holidays, claiming that in Ramsey County, Minnesota, the courthouse banned red poinsettias and that the city of Pittsburgh referred to the Christmas holidays as 'Sparkle Days'.
Graham concluded that "at its root and core, the war on Christmas isn't really about Christmas at all—it's about the Son of God. The war on Christmas is a war on Christ and His followers." He referred to prophecies of persecution in the 'last days', saying: "We should not be taken aback, then, when a day that should be devoted to meditating upon the marvelous, virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is instead treated in a scandalously secular way that denies His deity and saving work."
However, he says, "The war on Christmas—the war on Christ—is doomed to fail. Christ came the first time to rescue us from our sin; He is coming a second time to establish His kingdom forever under His righteous reign."