By Eric Marrapodi CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) - The most famous and revered pastor in America, Billy Graham, is calling on voters to cast a ballot for their faith in full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers.
Graham's picture appears prominently in the ads, next to copy that reads, "As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last."
It continues, "I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God."
The ad hit the prominent papers Wednesday and Thursday, and could hit a dozen more newspapers, a week after the famed evangelist met with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Graham's Montreat, North Carolina, home and less than a month after his son Franklin Graham issued a full-throated endorsement of Romney in a USA Today opinion piece.
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Shortly after the meeting with the Grahams and Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association scrubbed prior references to Mormonism as a cult from its website because, the association said, "we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."
Romney is a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.
After the 30-minute sit-down in Montreat, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."
The evangelist, who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman, said in a statement following the meeting that "it was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney, for his family and our country."
Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.
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The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the new ads were paid for by "friends who support the ministry" and that no general ministry funds were used.
"The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest, urging instead for readers to cast votes for candidates, at all levels, based on their support for biblical values," the group said in a statement.
Billy Graham's long-time personal spokesman, A. Larry Ross, said of the ads, “[Graham] is challenging citizens, particularly the faith community, on how to vote, rather than for whom to vote.”
Ross said the 93-year-old is still active with the ministry, though not necessarily with the day-to-day operations. In this case, he said Graham was consulted about the ad and signed off on it.
"This ad is consistent with both the mission of the BGEA and Billy Graham's personal methodology to diligently and consistently remain politically neutral and nonpartisan throughout his public ministry," Ross said.
"Against the backdrop of moral decline and a cultural shift in our nation that reflects timely issues, Mr. Graham's quotation in the ad is an extension of his faithful preaching of a timeless message and strong stand on biblical values for more than six decades."
The campaign also includes bulletin inserts and posters of the ad for churches to download and distribute.
After his meeting with Mitt Romney, Billy Graham paid for some election ads. However, due to his advanced age, Graham apparently got confused and thought Richard Nixon was the candidate, as he ordered the ads to read:
"Vote Republican For President! God Loves A Dick!"
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one.
Hahahaha hahahahaha hahahahaha hahahahahaha
Graham probably got Romnesia – lol
Were you born an idiot or did you take lessons from the Obama campaign?
God, he sure does get progressive at election time
LOL ! :D
Well, we all know what position Billy wants Romney to take. Relations with Mormons indeed! Yar, Billy, but don't get your heart rate up too high with that "exercise".
I suppose that would make Billy an "insider" in Romney's campaign...
Well, Franklin would know where daddy was going with that one. He'd had to have been on the receiving end a few times, you'd have to reckon.
I am extremely saddened by Rev Grahams decision to take down information regarding Mormonism being a cult. If he chooses to support Gov Romney, that is his choice and his right. However to deny the cult of Mormonism is wrong coming from a strong Christian leader. People need to know the truth about the Mormon church and how they vary from true Christianity. Too many Christians are voting for Mitt because they think he is a good Christian man and that is just not true. Rev Graham, I plead with you to be truthful about the beliefs and practices of the Mormon church. Please don't be bought out my the patriarchal, rich, white and powerful LDS church who want to be control of our country for the benefit of their church and ZIon. Although some beliefs align, the basic beliefs about God, Jesus, redemption, baptism to name a few do not at all follow Christiann teachings. I personally do want my president to believe he will be a god because of his good works, not saved by God's grace.
Christianity is a cult too,just a more widespread one. The only difference with the Mormon cult is the specifics of the ridiculous fairy tales and rituals.
How's that talkin snake doing for ya? Ridden any dinosaurs yet?
Matthew 7:24 – 27
James 2:17 – 18
Alice in Wonderland 4:56
you sir need to look into the church instead of quoting things you know nothing about. Open your heart to learn of the churches teachings. I know that Christ is my Savior. I know that he died for me and all mankind. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father you gave us his only begotten. So that someday we might return to live with Him and Christ forever. Please, I prayerfully plead with you to find out for yourself. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult. Christ is the center of all that we believe. None of us can return to our Father in Heaven without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So how come big ole powerful goddie couldn't do the saving without getting his son killed? Not a very "omnipotent" god you've created for yourself there.
@ Boris, so it's like with God all things are possible through the atoning sacrifice of his only begotten son, who was also willing to do the will of his father, so thus all things are possible. So there may be limits as to how many options are available for God, but still all things are possible for God to accomplish his goal, which is to make it possible for us to obtain eternal life with him.
"So there may be limits as to how many options are available for God"
seriously, if god is limited, then he is not omnipotent, nor is he god
Actually, if you're able to have something like that accomplished despite a natural impossibility, that.can be considered omnipotence.
If you perceive God to be some sort of whimsical being,who does whatever God does because that's what God feels like doing otherwise God would be bored does make God a very limited god when it comes to having purpose. However, if God is a caring god, who has love and concern for us, who has purpose, would definitely be more powerful, and if God is able to accomplish his goals and fulfill his purpose, that can be considered omnipotence.
Concerned Mormon, you don't KNOW any of that, instead, it is what you BELIEVE. There is a difference.
I call big steaming coiler of B S for your claim that god is loving, Kev. No way would a loving god let so many millions of innocent kids die horrid deaths like they have. Don't try the free will charade either, or you'll be destroying your argument for your god entirely, not that you ever had a valid one.
@Ken, That is something I don't fully understand myself. All I could tell you is what I believe. That all of us in this life were given this life for a reason, that part of our purpose in life is to go through trials and tribulations, and although so many undue attrocies occur to so many innocent lives, however I believe none of us really have the big picture when it comes to eternity. That this life is so so brief in comparison, and that I do believe that God in the end will be both just and merciful especially when it comes to the innocent lives of children.
Billy Graham has Romnesia and so he said about the Mormons being cults. I think Billy Graham wants to have a harem of his own. Does he have one in Utah?
You are saddened that your leader decided to stop bad-mouthing other religions? Seriously?
If God is God, why wouldn't he occupy a human body and die one of the most excruciating deaths ever? To me, it is one of the strongest arguments for Christianity. How could any god tell his people to act and live a certain way when he doesn't know what its like to be human? Saying that God is limited because there is evi in the world, would also in effect be saying that morals do exist. Where do morals come from if there is not a god? If morals are relative to situations and disposition, why would the moral component even be an argument to justify the nonexistence of a god? It proves nothing. You have also have a faith when you choose to believe absolutely that there is no god. So what do you base this belief on? Evidence? What evidence proves absolutely that there is no god? You accept it on faith atheists. Not science. It is far more reasonable to ask questions than to live with the religious dogmas of atheistic thought.
You condemn Billy Graham and Mitt Romney who both have always espoused Christian principles and values, in favor of a lying, third-rate ex-community organizer who is not only incompetent, but HOSTILE to Christian principles and values?
Any church that gets that involved in politics should lose their tax-exempt status.... They have it because there is SUPPOSED to be a separation of church and state.... Disgusting.
No church should have tax exemption, period. All human, men or women, must have equal right on earth. Women should be able to have abortion rights and if they are taxpayers, they should have the right to choose planned parenthood sponsored by govt. funding. GWB is the fan of Billy Graham – lol
Now who changed Billy's mind? Who could it be?. Oh I don't know....could it be,,,, SATAN?!!!!!!!!
LOVE IT!!! Takes me way back.
Satan inculcated Romnesia in Billy's head- lol
more like frankie
suddenly views change its a big deal when a large organization like mr grahams does these things the people realy have to step back and think, cause people have strong opinions on mormonism.........wonder why things change suddenly...
Because even the Mormons are better than the anti-God, anti-Bible values of the socialist liberals. The Mormons do believe in Jesus, and they live good, clean Christian lives. The problem is, Mormons added a whole lot of stuff to the Bible that's very strange, and the sources of those additional heroes and teachings is very questionnable.
But the Catholics have added a lot too, and I have to wonder if their faith is in Jesus or in Mary, which is a huge problem and yet, they don't have a clue how they have corrupted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, every Christian group has teachings they would be better off without.
But there are some things that Christians DO agree on, and Billy Graham is right about the basics. His message is very good, and very timely.
Jonseen, Billy is just one big fraud. He has to jump on board with Romney to save face and stay visible, which keeps money flowing from stupid folk into his coffers.
KG, you don't know much about Billy Graham's life, there is nothing to suggest scandal or greed, EVER. There were people who wanted to ruin him, but they never found anything about his life or his organization that they could sink their claws into. Your comments are WAY off the mark.
That's holey baloney from you, Jonseen. Graham's life is chock full of scandal, and he's a master at tax evasion. Start your reading here, ignoramus:
Any time you mix religion and politics it is trouble. He has been rocked with scandel and what has the catholic church added? "its ok to molest little boys as long as you hide it well". Come on its a ll a big game and any person that falls for this crap is brain dead.
"Rocked with Scandal"? Never. I've followed his career as an evangelist since I was a little kid. There were people who tried, but they couldn't get anything off the ground because there just ISN'T anything in Graham's life that was scandalous.
Saying such things doesn't make it true. It's not. Never happened.
On rare occasion, some men really DO live decent Godly lives, which is very frustrating for those who hate them.
anti-god socialist liberals? wow, you sure sound like an intelligent being......
Jonseen, take the blindfold off and actually read the news. You'll find that your hero Billy is quite the tax cheat, and bigot.
One of the reasons Billy Graham sustained so much popularity, so much respect through the years, and was such a great advocate for his faith was that he lived a quiet, humble life and managed to be completely non partisan with almost every President & major leader.
I just lost all respect for Billy, he has become a partisan tool, just like his son. Sad.
No, I think he's more like an Ex-President: he no longer has to walk such a fine line now that he's Old. There comes a time when a man can say what he thinks.
The Bible says that once we see End Times events begin to happen, we should take notice because Jesus would come back within the span of one man's lifetime. I don't know if God was thinking of ONE man in particular when that prophecy was given, but if I had to pick ONE signficant person from the past 100 years I think Billy Graham would be top of the list without hesitation from me, or many others.
We should be glad Billy Graham has lived this long: the sands of the hourglass may be running out for planet earth.
Eventually ALL Bible prophecies do come true, and they are fullfilled in ways that leave no question of fulfillment.
It was Billy Graham's destiny to preach to the world... the whole world. And was there ever a more significant sermon than the one he gave after 9/11 at the Memorial Service? He fullfilled prophecy that day, because the entire world tuned into that service, LIVE, and heard the Gospel preached by the most faithful preacher of our time.
We should consider God's mercies and consider Billy Graham's message, before it's too late: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
The bible is mainly just myth with the odd historical marker thrown into the soup so it doesn't get tossed out too easily. A real god wouldn't need to have his son killed to save anything. That Jesus thing is just a big stinking coiler of a story.
I agree to a degree. What if it was really Franklin who bought the ad and is putting words in his father's mouth. In the past, B. Graham had remained mostly silent regarding politics.
To others: What if Jesus returns and he's a black man, I bet the dominate religious world woul crucify him again! lol
Remember... Even if Mormons aren't Christians, Jesus still loves them and so should you. :)
That has nothing to do with differences in theology that are now somehow okay. I just lost all respect for Mr. Graham.
Amen!!! I am going to vote, but not someone with Romnesia – lol
How can you vote BIBLICAL PRINCIPALS AND IGNORE THE BIBLE. As a faithful Christian I too believe in the sancity of life and that we should support Israel, however how can Billy, Franklin or any other protestant leader or lay member take away what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians in GALATIANS CHAPT. 1:8 "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned"! It don't get any planner than that, ANY GOSPEL!! other than what is biblical (the New Testament for the Old Testament is not the gospel, the gospel means the "Good News" of Christ) or than that it is a Cult, be it Mormons, or Jehovas Witness.
That's true. Mormonism teaches Jesus and Satan were brothers. That is totally different than Christianity. I was proselytized by Mormons when I was a kid. Even as a kid I found their theology really weird. Especially the thought blacks were black because of original sin. Then they changed that so black men could actually be priests in their church. We lived around a lot of them and I really don't think it is a Christian faith in any sense.
Well, considering that when Paul wrote that epistle to the saints in Galatia that the other epistles and other books of the New Testament were not yet compiled, or in some cases even written, how do you determine that what Paul meant was anything outside the Bible when the Bible was yet to be?
Heck, they may as well have had the Westboro Baptist Church join them if they can excuse their core beliefs for the sake of their common homophobia.
Another Romney misstep in the making! The only people this will appeal to is conservative Christians and many of them have misgivings about Romney's Mormon Faith. It's going to remind them that Romney is a Mormon.
Billy wants us all to know that Mormons look like Christians, quack like Christians and shit Christian shit, so they must be every bit as Christian as he is.
as an evangelical Christian who appreciates Billy Graham, this is disappointing.
for a man who preached salvation by grace alone for 6 decades...
(not "after we do all we can do" as Mormons believe – 2 Nephi 25:23)
what matters more here: stating the truth clearly or being worried it may be "politicized"?
All that salvation stuff is a fairy tale anyway, Russco.
@ Stan: as JRR Tolkien told an then-atheist CS Lewis – "no, Christianity is not just one more fairy tale. It's the truth underneath to which all the fairy tales point."
I like the part of Cinderella where those little birds that love Cinderella pluck the eyes out of the wicked stepsisters. I recognize the underlying biblical truth behind that.
I'm glad you're engaging the thought, but obviously he wasn't canonizing Fairy Tales. They *point* at underlying truth. You don't have to believe Tolkien's point to understand it. But obviously CS Lewis (as a lifelong myth expert) found it compelling.
A few brief examples:
Beauty & the Beast: despite our self-made brokenness, Christ lays down his life to save us. Beauty kisses the Beast.
Sleeping Beauty: Jesus' victory over death in the resurrection changes death from executioner to merely a bad dream.
Cinderella: despite no wealth to earn her way into the palace, her Fairy Godmother makes a way where there was none. She goes from rags to riches. How? Someone else pays the price she cannot. Jesus pays the price for us at his own expense. He goes from riches to rags so that we might gain real riches (not money, but life with the Prince)
LOTR: Gandalf to Frodo: "some men who deserve death get life, and some who deserve life get death... the pity (compassion) of Bilbo may rule the fate of men" – Compassion is more powerful than all the violence of evil. Through the cross & resurrection, Jesus makes compassion more powerful than the worst violence evil can do to us: death.
You Said to -Stan: "JRR Tolkien told an then-atheist CS Lewis – "no, Christianity is not just one more fairy tale. It's the truth underneath to which all the fairy tales point."
The Christian "theme" is not necessarily **the truth** But, it certainly is a "theme" that has been replayed long before and in several cultures before "Christianity" even came along.
And... this "theme" has been and still is often used in fairy tales and stories.
Russ, no, Christianity really is just one more fairy tale. If you are going to claim otherwise, then present your evidence.
I'm still waiting for that evidence you said you had..., and no, circular references to your holey book won't cut it.
@ Stan: a good recent scholarly book which examines the evidence would be Richard Bauckham's "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses."
On the historical reality of the resurrection:
NT Wright, "The Resurrection of the Son of God"
On the otherwise inexplicable growth of the Church prior to Constantine:
Rodney Stark, "The Rise of Christianity"
Repulsive. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Billy's been hoodwinked by his money-hungry and completely immoral son, Franklin.
Nah, both Billy and Franklin and all the rest of the televangies have been squeezing money out of stupid people for years. They're in good company with Rmoney.
Perhaps Billy Graham would support an atheist who would base decisions on biblical principles and support Israel. I can't see any reason why that couldn't be done. Just think of the Bible as the rules to an odd little game that must be played, and learn to ignore the evil excesses of our little friend Israel.
Everybody should read the book 'Billy Graham – Prince Of War', to understand what this man really stands for!
He is nothing but a fraud.
So true. A fraud like every other preacher-screecher.
Let's face it, all religions are a fraud. Wake up, you nitwits. It's time to think for yourselves.
I'm curious to kknow why they no longer consider mormonism a cult.
SAD, just sad.. Maybe Billy finally realizes that there is no afterlife and he's just making a big joke on the world?
Extremist xians scratching each others' unmentionables.
How icky and gross..
Oh well, give to Caesar what is Ceasar.. I hope you all will be very happy with your new illusion.
This has nothing to do with Caesar – unless you expect Mittens to be the new Caesar.
My summary of the story so far. Some observations below are quotes from:
A 33 year old score has been settled. Jerry Falwell has his revenge from beyond the grave.
Let’s look at a time line:
Jerry Falwell founds Moral Majority:
Billy Graham refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."
Mark DeMoss enrolled at Liberty University, Falwell’s school, in 1980, the year after his father died of a heart attack. Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher, would become like a second father.
DeMoss’s dad had been friends with Falwell – DeMoss says it’s unclear if the insurance marketing company his father founded, National Liberty Corp., helped give Liberty University its name – and Mark found work in Falwell’s office after graduation.
By the time he was 23, DeMoss was serving as Falwell’s chief of staff and spokesman, helping his boss run a growing evangelical empire that included the Lynchburg, Virginia, university and a new organization Falwell had helped found: the Moral Majority.
The organization aimed to bring evangelicals back into the political fold, after millions of them had spent decades sitting out elections, convinced that politics were a dirty, ungodly business.
Falwell taught him how political organizing works, from the grassroots to the very top. He took him to meetings with President Ronald Reagan, whom the Moral Majority had helped elect, and President George H.W. Bush.
Jerry Falwell disbands the Moral Majority
DeMoss founds the DeMoss Group, a Christian PR firm in Atlanta.
The firm, took Falwell as its first client and quickly added business from big Christian groups like Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministries, Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and Christian Crusade for Christ.
More than 20 years later, those groups are still with DeMoss.
Mark DeMoss approaches Mitt Romney about running for President.
Jerry Falwell dies.
Mitt Romney runs in the Republican Primaries, losing to John McCain
DeMoss is a Senior Advisor to the Romney Campaign (and his evangelical ambassador)
May, 2012 – Romney delivers the commencement speech to graduates at Liberty U.
September, 2012 – Romney delivers “I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” stump speech at Liberty U.
October, 2012 – Billy and Franklin Graham meet with Mitt Romney (no doubt organized by DeMoss) then ...
– BGEA erases references to cults (like Mormonism) on Billy Graham’s website.
– BGEA runs 'vote Christian' advertising that was funded by "friends who support the ministry" (I'm thinking these 'friends' are a Koch Brothers funded Super PAC for Mittens)
– Franklin Graham openly endorses Mitt Romney (perhaps a clear violation of IRS Section 501(c)(3)?)
In this editorial piece, Franklin Graham makes it clear:
It's been 23 years since the late Jerry Falwell formally disbanded the Moral Majority. What many do not realize is that this organization was a coalition of evangelicals, Catholics, Jews and Mormons who shared a commitment to Judeo-Christian principles and values that made our nation what it is. Once again, we need a "moral majority" of people of many faiths to join together to take a stand for our religious freedoms and rights."
Billy Graham did not want to politicize the BGEA. Franklin does. The worm has now turned.
Like 'deep throat' said: FOLLOW THE MONEY.
Jerry Falwell – connects to- Mark DeMoss -connects to- Franklin Graham -connects to- Billy Graham and Mark DeMoss -connects to- Mitt Romney
Following the connections, Falwell gets his revenge and Billy in his dotage backs a Mormon.
Politics, as usual.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.