Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has announced he has resigned from the Republican Party and declared himself an Independent after the GOP-led Congress passed a "wasteful" 1.1 trillion spending bill that includes funding for the leading abortion organization Planned Parenthood.
In a lengthy Facebook post shared on December 21st, the 64-year-old son of Billy Graham wrote, "Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week. And to top it off, funding Planned Parenthood! A Huffington Post article called it 'a big win for Planned Parenthood.' I call it a big loss for America."
Last week, President Obama signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was passed by a 65-33 vote in the Senate, and a 316-113 vote in the House. The $1.1 trillion funding bill is expected to keep the government running until September 30, 2016 and maintains federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
"Extreme members of Congress spent an entire year targeting access to reproductive health care at every opportunity," said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood. "Today's budget bill maintains access to critical preventive health services and lacks these harmful attacks on women's health care - at home and abroad."
In continuing his comments, Graham went on to criticize the Republican party for supporting the bill despite the series of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the procurement and sale of aborted baby parts.
"After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn't," he charged. "There's no question-taxpayers should not be paying for abortions! Abortion is murder in God's eyes."
Due to Congress' "disregard for human life", which Graham compared to "Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps," the evangelist announced he is resigning from the Republican party and declaring himself an Independent.
"I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America," he lamented. "Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble. I want to challenge Christians, even pastors, across the country to pray about running for office where they can have an impact. We need mayors, county commissioners, city council members, school board members who will uphold biblical values."
The Washington Post notes that Graham, who recently topped the "Top 100 Christian Leaders in America" list, has previously expressed disillusionment with political parties and political correctness, and regularly offers his opinion regarding current issues of interest to social conservatives.
Earlier this year, he praised GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for "shaking up" the political process and voiced support for some of the businessman's more controversial positions, such as his call to ban Muslims from the U.S.
However, Graham is not the only conservative leader to criticize Congress for their role in passing the Omnibus Appropriations Act: In a Facebook message to supporters on Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson concurred that the bill is an example of how America has "failed".
"You need no further proof than what the GOP Leadership did to us in the new spending bill. Billions of new unfunded spending. Mountains of new debt. Not to mention funding to bring Syrian Refugees into our country and to keep funding for Planned Parenthood," Carson wrote.
"I am angry but no longer shocked. Some of my colleagues running for President talk a big game. They give angry speeches but when the votes were counted none of them even tried to stop this deal. They take their special interest money, collect their paychecks and pensions and give us only rhetoric," he added.
Carson, who has opposed abortion throughout his campaign, argued that since America's grandchildren will be "left with these outrageous bills," not a single member of Congress should dare ask for a pension
"Someday when your grandchildren ask you why America failed, you can point to this week. You can tell them it was because our leaders were afraid to do what was right because it was difficult," the retired neurosurgeon said.
"We have but one last best chance. I promise to work even harder. But without joining hands it simply cannot be done. We must all do things we have never done before," he added.