Evangelist Franklin Graham said those who value religious freedom should be "very concerned" following the Supreme Court's decision to turn away an appeal by a family-owned pharmacy that cited Christian beliefs in objecting to providing emergency contraceptives to women. He also warned that continually turning our back on God as a nation "won't go unpunished."
On Wednesday, Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, offered a scathing rebuke of the justices who last week declined to grant an appeal in the case of Stormans v. Wiesman. The case involves Christian pharmacists suing Washington over a law mandating that pharmacies provide contraceptives despite conscience objections.
"For decades, the Stormans family has committed themselves to dispensing medicines that save lives and make life better for people through their family-owned pharmacy business," he wrote. "However, the government has tried to force them to sell abortifacient drugs that end life. This is a great moral issue for them, and should be for every Christian."
Three conservatives judges among the eight justices argued that the court should have agreed to hear the appeal by the Stormans family, which owns Ralph's Thriftway grocery story and pharmacy in Olympia. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ultimately left the decision of the appeals court in place, forcing the Stormans and other pro-life pharmacy owners to either sell abortion-inducing drugs or go out of business.
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito referred to the decision as an "ominous sign" for those who value religious freedom.
"If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern," Alito wrote. "The dilemma this creates for the Stormans family and others like them is plain: Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business."
Graham, who met with the family shortly after the decision was handed down, also said the case shows the importance of the upcoming election for the future of the United States.
"We should be concerned-we need to pray for a president who will appoint Supreme Court justices who have a moral conscience," he concluded.
In a later Facebook post, Graham lamented that far too often, the U.S. justice system "seems to prosecute the wrong people, sometimes giving a pass to the obviously guilty." He added that sadly, "corruption is almost synonymous with politics these days."
"God warns us in His Word, 'Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.' (Isaiah 1:4)," Graham wrote. "Turning our back on God as a nation won't always go unpunished."