Evangelist Billy Graham has urged U.S. citizens to exercise their right to vote this election season - even if they don't fully approve of any particular presidential candidate.
In a recent column shared on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association webpage, the 97-year-old Baptist pastor shared his thoughts in response to a reader who asked whether everyone ought to vote.
"The Bible says we should do everything we possibly can to be good citizens and work for the betterment of our society, and one of the ways we can do this is by voting," Graham said. "God tells us to 'seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you' (Jeremiah 29:7)."
Graham acknowledged that many Christians are disillusioned by what they see in politics today. However, this will not be changed if concerned people refuse to vote, if good people refuse to run for office, or if no one votes for them.
"In other words, staying away from the voting booth may only perpetuate the problems you see," the pastor wrote.
Graham recalled how, in the first century, Christians in the first century didn't have the privilege of voting; Caesar was a dictator, not elected by popular vote. Nevertheless, the early believers were commanded to do the one thing they could do to make the world a better place: They were told to pray.
The pastor cited the Apostle Paul's words in 1st Timothy 2:1-2: "urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority."
He concluded: "Our world will never be perfect-not until Christ returns. But in the meantime, God wants to use us to overcome sin and establish a more just world for His glory."
Earlier, Graham encouraged Christians to understand they have a "God-given responsibility" to vote: "We should do everything we can to encourage and support good government-including voting. Understand the issues...know where the candidates stand on them...ask God to guide you-and then vote."
"Beyond that, however, pray for our nation and its leaders-not just the President, but all who've been entrusted with public office," he continued. "It's the most important thing you can do."
While he has not endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Graham's son, evangelist Franklin Graham, has also urged Christians to vote - even if they have to "hold their nose" while doing so.
"You're just going to have to ask yourself which of the two do you think we as Christians will at least have a voice with?" Graham said during a stop in Washington's Capitol on his 50-state "Decision America Tour."
"You have to make that choice," he said. "Now, you might have to hold your nose."