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.
Religion is for delusional people who can't handle reality.
Atheism is for low-brow people who can't handle theology.
I agree with you 100% sane person.. : )
Wow, two people lacking reason and logic who simply can't believe that there is something out there greater than themselves (I wonder how many more I can attract?). What caused the Big Bang? Nothing! Because if something did, the existence of a God would have to be a possible variable in solving the theory. My God, non-believers are hilarious!
There must be a lot of us "delusional" because the majority (82%) have religious beliefs. All I can say is "God Bless you"
Ok, I'll bite HM8432. Science is all about experimentation and verification to bolster theories, which are merely the best arguments to explain a collection of facts. Science is all about meeting its burden of proof via peer reviews, reproducible experimental results, etc...EVIDENCE in other words. I have two questions. Why don't believers feel compelled to counter the questions of non-believers by meeting THEIR own burden of proof as to the existence of G_d? Secondly, whose G_d are you referring to? The way I see it, if you COULD prove that a G_d that instantiated the Big Bang, then you'd have to prove whose version of G_d is the correct one.
Ok, I'll bite HM8432. Science is all about experimentation and verification to bolster theories, which are merely the best arguments to explain a collection of facts. Science is all about meeting its burden of proof via peer reviews, reproducible experimental results, etc...EVIDENCE in other words. I have two questions. Why don't believers feel compelled to counter the questions of non-believers by meeting THEIR own burden of proof as to the existence of G_d? Secondly, whose G_d are you referring to? The way I see it, if you COULD prove that a G_d that instantiated the Big Bang, then you'd have to prove which version of G_d is the correct one.
And may Lakshmi, with her 4 arms, assist you with your housework and yardwork on this fine weekend!
Vishnu. You're hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.
John. There is plenty of room for a god in science. You don't need to be hateful about people's faith.
"The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness."
-Albert Einstein (Taken from his article THE MERGING OF SPIRIT AND SCIENCE)
Billy Graham has only had one message his entire life...through the blood of Jesus Christ, all those that admit their sin and accept Him as their Savior will serve our risen Saviour in Heaven some day...for eternity!! I would rather believe in this message than to ever take the chance it's not true and suffer eternity in hell. Ironically, there will be no non-believers in hell but it will be too late. Billy Graham is not endorsing anyone, he is endorsing the true and living God...the God those who founded our country believed in. All he is asking is that you pray about who you choose to lead or continue to lead our country.
hinduism, absurdity of a hindu pagan, Christian.
The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. (Isaiah 32: 5-8)
When one buys ads for a certain candidate, one is endorsing the candidate.
Islam also teaches that non believers are hell bound. You are taking an awfull big risk by not being a muslim.
kate, you would be well served to read the article before posting. The article clearly states that the ads do not endorse any particular candidate, but they are used to ask voters to elect those who support biblical values at all levels of government. The ad does not specifically endorse Mitt, Obama or any other candidate.
I am afraid he is, in the way he puts his words it is very easily seen that he speeking of Romney's so called "flip flopped" causes. That man changes what he is running for mor than I do underwear and thats bad.(LOL)" And I change underwear at least twice a day!" Romney will say anything to get him in office, when he gets in office,What about us, the little people who don't make alot of money or can't work that got disabled on the job? WHAT about US? He has showed his true colors on more than once people, please pay attentioin. We need someone who is goona help us little people down here on the low pay scale. Romney has shown he out for the RICH, you tell me how fair it is that he can pay the same taxes as a person that man that makes 50,000.00? Now how is that freaking fair????? What kind of President would that be? Tax the Rich more, put that money toward the debt and there you go your building some of that money back. What the heck People, Romney don't care about us at all. We need a President that not only cares but taks a stand with honor and pride for his people "US" the Americans!!!!!! The rich, the poor and the middle class. And one that says he is not a perfect man and probably won't be a perfect President, But he did the best he could with what he went into to. We were already into a depression when he took office people, the Busch "error" put us there. He went in fighting and he kept fighting and has been fighting for ever since,no he didn't get everything done! How could he in 4 years with all the B.S that Busch created? Our future depends on this Vote and honestly people think and feel within you and not on what party you represent but how Romney carry's hiimself and the things he has said and watch his body language. He with holds to much anger to be I feel to represent our the USA. A person can say anything to try and get to where they want to get to, and Romney has shown that. Look how many times he has Flip-Flopped what he is and isn't going to do...I wouldn't trust him with my bank book!!!!
He's not endorsing anyone? Are you responding to this article? Perhaps you should read it if you are. Unless you are referring to Romney as this "true and living God." Actually, I guess that wouldn't surprise me. I've seen crazier things.
hindu's, denier of truth absolute, hand in glove, hindu Magi's, criminal trickster's united in hinduism, criminality like bosses of hindu criminal Mafia. They profess to truth absolute GOD in word's but confess to bigamy, infidelity to truth absolute GOD in faith. Way of hindu Pharisee's, criminal secular's to hind, fool humanity.
watchr talkin about willis?
So like, huh? I can't really tell if there's a point in there, but from what I've seen, it's the people without religious preconceptions and "morals" who are the most peaceful.
"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."
Sure, "friends who support the ministry". Like the Koch Brothers, through one of Mitten's SuperPACs.
FOLLOW THE MONEY!
In one stroke Franklin Graham has destroyed what his father built over the 94 years of his life.
Surely Franlin's endorsement strips the BGEA and Samaritan's Purse of their tax-exempt status under the IRS code under Section 501(c)(3)?
His endorsement of Mitt Romney is explicit.
"George Washington was Episcopalian; Abraham Lincoln had no religious affiliation while he was president; John Kennedy was Catholic, and Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were longtime Southern Baptists. Over a period of 223 years people of many different faiths, including Mormons, from both political parties, have governed our nation at every level. Orrin Hatch, a Mormon, has served this nation as an effective senator since 1976, and George Romney, Governor Mitt Romney's father, was one of the great governors of Michigan. His religion never interfered with governing but his personal faith did define his strong marriage, family values, and personal integrity. I believe the same to be true for Governor Mitt Romney. While there are fundamental differences in the theology of evangelical Christians and that of Mormons — as there are for those who practice the Catholic faith or the Jewish faith — we do share many common values that are biblically based."
Tax-exempted donations CAN NOT be used to endorse candidates for office under Section 501(c)(3). This is a clear violation of the tax code.
Neal 621 I so agree with you! "I am a Christian. I am ashamed to see Franklin Graham let his father be used like this. Franklin evidently has no integrity, as he conveniently ditches his fidelity to the Bible when it suits him." Billy Graham has said on many occasions over the last 40 years, that he regretted getting involved in politics in the 70's when he endorsed Richard Nixon. His reputation took a hit for that and he steered clear of doing the same in the years since, until this. I find it very hard to believe that this is something he has done on his own.
Franklin can't hold a candle to what his father has done. He's riding coat-tails big time..............
Thats why we pay so many taxes " the poor,middle class and the rich" in everything we buy and do we pay taxes! It is our Goverments place to help our poor. All the Church's all over the USA couldn't keep up the poor, we pay enough taxes in everything we do on a daily living that the Goverment can support our poor. It is their place!!! If not their place then what benefits do we get from all of pur taxes been taken from us out of our checks, on everything we buy, on the cars we own, on the homes we own, and the land we own? We are taxed to death, what do the People get from it, if the poor and the sick don't get the help they need from the Goverment?
Very clear and concise.
How long do you think Graham has been dead in this photo? That's really disrespectful of them to use his body like that.
Yeah, looks like Pope John Paul II the last ten years of his life.
Way to go Billy Graham. A very well-liked and respected man of God. Of course all the God haters are going to be upset with this. As a christian, I am glad to hear this endorsement from such a godly leader. Good move and I am forwarding to all my contacts.
I am not a "God hater." I am a Christian. I am ashamed to see Franklin Graham let his father be used like this. Franklin evidently has no integrity, as he conveniently ditches his fidelity to the Bible when it suits him. Romney displayed a long time ago that he would do and say anything to get elected, so it's no surprise he took part in this ghoulish spectacle.
I will be voting my faith, and it won't be a vote for Romney and Ryan. When did Jesus Christ tell us to turn our backs on the poor, the sick, and the naked? When did Jesus Christ advocate war and hatred of our enemies? Christianity has been co-opted by big churches and men hungry for power since 400 AD. It's time we returned to a simple Christian faith of charity, compassion, and peace.
People who follow other religious disciplines also believe they follow God. Is your way of thinking the "right way"?
This is a reply to Zeke, as Christians we are taught to feed the orphans and widows, to take care of the people. That is WE THE CHRISTIANS, not the government, are to take care of them. It is the churches job to care for those hurting and needing help. I believe we should take care of the people, but it is our job, so don't put it on the wrong shoulders.
Grace, what church can afford to pay for a $500,000 medical procedure for even one person out of the many who would otherwise die? Do we depend on volunteers to build interstate highways? There are necessary activities in our society that cannot be accomplished through volunteerism and charity. Are taking care of the poor and the sick not necessary? Romney and Ryan would seem to be saying so.
Aside from those issues, you don't address war and killing our enemies instead of loving them. Can we extend your volunteerism to the Department of Defense? $1T per year of our tax money goes towards war and killing our enemies. I have no choice in contributing my tax money to that effort. How is health care and food assistance any different?
The God of Abraham, like any other god, is man-made. And it is made in man's image. The Abrahamic religions of today are simply fable that are by-products of older fable. Mormonism just adjusts and adds more fable, none of which has any credible proof, to the heap of fable before it. Faith in religion begins as brainwashing. The brainwashed mind, at some point will effect self-brainwashing. Partial psychosis at a minimum. But many live with it, so enjoy.
Pull this moron's church's tax exempt status NOW.
In fact, pull all the various religion's tax exempt status.
yeah we don't need no stinking Constiitution
tax exempted donations for the purporse of endorsing a candidate are illegal under Section 501(c)(3).
Do you imply that we should permit charities to take donations, tax-exempt, and redirect that money to endorse candidates? That means free, tax-deductible campaign donations with the chuch as the money middleman.
I remind you of Matthew 21:12
"Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."
Careful what you wish for. If churches start paying taxes they will be free to campaign for issues and candidates without any constraints. I, for one, would welcome it.
@zeke: they do that already. haven't you been reading or watching the news? churches are trying to get into a legal battle with the government over the tax-exempt status thing, and ofcourse you have the leeches.........opps i mean lawyers just drooling over this one.
@Wasp, Under Bush II our church (Quaker) received a communication (threat) from the IRS that any church that said anything officially from the pulpit that could be construed as campaigning for a candidate or ballot issue risked losing its tax exempt status. Governments have been threatening Quakers for voicing their beliefs and acting on them publicly (prison reform, anti-draft, anti-war, anti-death penalty, mental health reform, refusing oaths, feeding the hungry, etc.) for 350 years. I say, bring it on!
Why? He has the largest Christian humanitarian organization in the world; the only people who would be hurt by taxing his charity, would be hundreds of thousands of poor people and kids around the world that Samaritan's Purse helps. Also, where are people like you when pastors like Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Jesse Jackson regularly preach politics from the pulpit?
I am an face reading expert. Billy is saying, here comes another dum-bass, mormon thinks he can get my vote, yeah right, kiss my 94 years old but t.
Christianity is one big sham, and Billy G has been taking Christian sheep to the cleaners and laughing all the way to the bank even better than most other televangelists.
Hey, check out his annual salary. Obscene!
There's a sucker born every minute. That's what his father taught him, and probably, he taught to his son.
The longest, biggest and most lucrative ponzi scheme ever invented.
It has been seperating the dumb from the hard earned money for centuries.
And it has no intention of stopping now.
I totally agree. I am Canadian and we don't mix religion with our politics. It is amazing how many people say they are christian and yet are racists, and just can't accept a black president, so sad they would sooner have a liar because he is white.
What do you believe in? Sham! Strong words for someone who doesn't elaborate on their beliefs!
Are you sure Billy did this ad? Smells more like Franklin!
Agree! This doesn't sound like the Billy Graham I listened to since childhood. By any means necessary Romney and big business will do anything to take over the White House and the 47% BEWARE!!!
"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. "
Sounds like Billy is another ignorant fundiot nutter who thinks we should apply a religious test for candidates for elected/appointed office.
I wonder why all these nutters ignore Article VI, Section 3 of the US Constîtution?
Graham and his son should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2 million/yr.
And they have the audacity to call themselves Christians !!!!!
Perhaps Billy Graham is not as familiar with Jesus's words in the Bible as he should be. Jesus's most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7) reads like a left-wing/liberal/socialist manifesto, so I therefore find it quite disturbing that Billy Graham and Jesus seem to be polar opposites on the issues. Since Jesus was clearly far left-wing, why isn't Billy Graham?
JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")
Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.
Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.
Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.
Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!
So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?
He's not endorsing the Mormon sect. He's endorsing Romney as President. I don't understand why people are confused about this. We're electing a PRESIDENT, not a PASTOR.
Billy & Franklin are "useful idiots" for the GOP – like many other evangelicals. Romney, Karl Rove et al don't give a **** about evangelical "values." Just as in the reign of Bush Jr., those issues will be forgotten the day after the election.
Sad that they are putting words into his mouth! I respect and admire Rev. Billy Graham! He would never do what Franklin is doing!
@tjhaynes EXACTLY!!! I'd never disrepect GOD's anointed. Billy Graham's name is being used for political gain, I don't believe it's really him doing this, but his son.
Anybody who respects Billy Graham is a dirt bag.
Tell that to the millions of people who lived under former Communist regimes who flocked back to Christianity because of his revivals in those countries.
I can not understand how our religious leaders these days fail to see the greed of today's republicans. No mention of the evils of the love of money in those ads. Jesus loved the poor, and there are some these days who put money before everything.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
Wow, is that twisted. Unbelievable... As if Greed is a GOP disease? Think again.
what a crock! says the House of Aaron (founded in 1942).
Another T. V. evangelist(?) falls to MONEY. Drugs(religion)to all gulible humans per the BGEA!!!! JESUS you heritics-not politics!!! Be recognized as you are-PERSUADERS FOR MONEY, not persuaders for salvation through JESUS(not mitt nor barack nor any other human!!!!!). May GOD the creator heal the BREA ministry to represent HIS gospel and not the fallen worldly gospel!!! Prayer is all I have for the BGEA as GOD'S will will prevail over yours or mine.
I have wondered how mitt can make up fabrications of events to suit whomever he is talking with at any given moment. Some feel that is shape-shifting...others see it as "etch-a-sketch"...while still others think it is lying...and still others think he is a flip flopper. When mitt debated Ted Kennedy on the topic of a woman's right to choose, Senator famously uttered these words to mitt: "mitt, you are not pro-choice, you are not anti-choice, you are multiple choice. I took that to mean that because mitt was born into wealth, he was infected with that loathing which some wealth people have towards others that are poor...that sneer, that sense of I'm better than you, that self-righteous arrogant posture. Now I'm beginning to think that mitt suffers greatly from a pathological defect that is colored greatly by his Mormon faith that condones the telling of falsehoods if in the tellers mind, he is doing so for a greater good...as in say whatever you need to say to get elected...because once elected just think how you could spread Mormonism to Americans and the world at large. It is quite scary to contemplate this given the power of the bully pulpit the POTUS has at home and abroad.
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.