Anne Graham Lotz, an evangelist preacher whose father is the famous Rev. Billy Graham, said on Sunday that an atheist presidential candidate could never get her vote.
"I would not vote for a man who was an atheist because I believe you need to have an acknowledgement or a reverence or a fear for almighty God. And I believe that's where wisdom comes from," she said during a panel discussion on NBC's "Meet the Press."
She was joined by Archbishop William Lori, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. Raul Labrador, Governor John Kasich, Senator Dick Durbin, and Jon Meacham. Panelists argued over the pros and cons of allowing religion to influence public policy and election campaigns.
According to a 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll, much of the American public agrees with Lotz; a full 53 percent of the surveyed electorate said they would refuse to vote for a non-believer.
Lotz defended her statements during the debate. "The bible says that the beginning of wisdom is fear of God," she explained. "And I believe one of the greatest lacks in our nation is that genuine reverence for an all-mighty God."
Anne Graham Lotz is the founder of AnGel Ministries, which "exists to serve God by evangelizing the lost and reviving the hearts of God's people in their relationship with Him through exalting Jesus Christ and proclaiming God's Word," according to the organization's website. She is considered one of the most influential evangelists in the United States, frequently appearing in TV, radio and print media.
She follows in the footsteps of her father, renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who is famous for offering spiritual guidance to several top-level politicians, most notably Bill and Hillary Clinton.
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