home
RSS
October 18th, 2012
11:45 PM ET

Billy Graham buys election ads after Romney meeting

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Leaders • Politics

soundoff (2,816 Responses)
  1. DocHollywood

    "....that America will remain one nation under God." Unfortunately, it's people like you that divide America. Religion has caused more division than anything else in this country and historically, in the world.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • true. let's see what old James Madison, 4th POTUS and chief architect of the Const!tution had to say:

      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution. —-A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785

      October 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Thank you.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  2. jungleboo

    And Graham says: "...and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God." Doesn't he realize that the phrase under God" was added to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954? Our Founding Fathers must have noticed that our nation had, with that single move, altered the course that had been set for it some 180 years earlier. Ever since, the Fundamentalists have gotten brassier and brassier, until they have the nerve to name the candidate for which their faithful are expected to vote. Evil, without a shadow of a doubt.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  3. Religion is Bullsh!t

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o&w=640&h=390]

    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  4. Lucha

    The man is 94. He's dedicated his entire life of service and counsel of others. He doesn't give an a$$ crap what any critics think. So.....yeah. That's just about it.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • jungleboo

      No, Graham has dedicated his entire life to fleecing his flock of followers. The fact that they are parted from their money willingly only points to their abject stupidity.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  5. williamfriskey

    He forgot the Biblical principles from the NEW testament. You know, like loving your neighbor, not judging, being your brother's keeper and doing right by the poor. The last shall be first. How it's easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than get a rich man into heaven. Selling off all your property and giving all to the group for the betterment of all.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  6. Ted54

    Mormonism IS a Cult, this Country is supposed to base policy on "Separation of Church and State, and Billy Graham is has Alzheimer's. Get all these rtight-wing and otherwise "religious" leaders out of American politics. This has been ruining this country. And then there's the Roman Catholic leaders...

    October 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Lucha

      Mormon trumps stupid.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  7. gay guy

    White and hispantic unemployment under ODUMBO is so high they stopped counting them, THATS WHY THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WENT DOWN TO 7.8%, THEY STOPPED COUNTING EVERYONE, U BUNCH OF DUMB LIBERALS

    October 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • aww - Michele Bachmann's hubby sure gets cranky every night after she konks out in her room....lol
      October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • jungleboo

      you sound disturbed...

      October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  8. sam

    I JUST THOUGHT OF THIS, ROMNEY IS THE ANTI CHRIST , Graham wishes Romney wins in order to enable Armageddon to come before he dies.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Lucha

      The anti-Christ is said to be of middle eastern decent asshat.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  9. L. Radcliff

    Billy Graham has become a joke. I think it is not him , it is his son who controls him. It is pathetic....and very sad.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  10. Chris33

    The 3 great evils in the world are Islam, the Catholic Church, and the Republican Party.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  11. Chris33

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Tom

      Hey Chris33, did religion use poison gas in all the Nazi death camps? I think it was godlessness use of science we can thank for that.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • jungleboo

      No, Tom, you are not well-informed.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • gay guy

      SCIENCE CANT CURE ALL DISEASES. PRAYER CAN!!!!!!!!!

      October 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • === o ===

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "gay guy degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" denerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" where he writes lovely things like "QUE ERS THE ONES WHO GAVE AIDS TO AMERICA" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy is not healthy, Prayer changes things" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      (very not gay)

      October 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Mack

      gay guy: i'm sure you've been faced with this challenge before, but let's revisit it. you get to have 1,000,000 christians in a circle around a devoutly christian man who has lost his entire arm in an accident. the 1,000,000 christians all pray for him to grow a new arm so he can resume his devout life as normal. you get as many chances as you would like and I bet you the arm never regenerates. why could this possibly be? what if they are all there for 50 years and the arm doesn't regrow? what does it all mean about the power of prayer?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  12. Steve

    Too bad Obama is losing ground. Its about time we take this country back to the way it was founded: One Nation Under God,,,with Marriage defined as between a Man and a Woman. Romney will get this nation back on track. I commend Billy Graham for his integrity and call on America to vote for Romney, the only candidate with integrity and the abilities to lead us back to a strong nation once again.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • AmerianPAtriot1

      Very few of you know probably ..That Mitt Romney left Gov of Mass with only a 34 percent approval rating. What kind of leader is that.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Oh, no, not Steve again! OK, and Graham says: "...and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God." Doesn't he realize that the phrase under God" was added to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954? Our Founding Fathers must have noticed that our nation had, with that single move, altered the course that had been set for it some 180 years earlier. Ever since, the Fundamentalists have gotten brassier and brassier, until they have the nerve to name the candidate for which their faithful are expected to vote. Evil, without a shadow of a doubt.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Up for a thought?

      Please, just off yourself and go be with your lover Jesus

      October 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Steve, honey, this nation wasn't founded as "one nation under god." Read up, dear; you're an ignoramus.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  13. gay guy

    Black unemployment is so high under ODUMBO THEY STOPPED COUNTING THEM

    October 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • === o ===

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "gay guy degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" denerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" where he writes lovely things like: "QUE ERS, THE ONES WHO GAVE AIDS TO AMERICA" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      Yes this sicko is not gay. He also likes to oddly borrow the name of a famous athiest, but misspells it as "cristopher hitchens."

      October 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Annarchist

      Gay guy, when you had a chance to vote Bush out of the white house did you, or are you one of the people that gave him for more years? oh, he's white, any white president whose screwing up the country should be given 4 more years without question. Well, let's see, if he wasn't given those four more years, perhaps Obama wouldn't have undo 8 years of damage!

      October 20, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • Annarchist

      Stop race baiting...I bet you that you aren't even gay...you are just baiting again. If you are gay, you should look up Stockholm Syndrome. It is when a person identifies and feels sympathy with their captive. I think this is what you are suffering from. My husband has been unemployed for years. With just me working we pay our bills, and have money left over. I always made sure that one paycheck was enough to pay our bills. Americans have always had this bloated sense of what the American dream is...perhaps it is time to scale back that dream.

      Hopefully, soon we will no longer be held hostage by the Right, when we are released, and my husband goes back to work, I will make sure that one of our pay checks goes to savings, savings and more savings. You see, I don't need the fancy house, designer clothes or the big huge SUV...WE LIVE SIMPLE!

      October 20, 2012 at 6:15 am |
  14. If the Evangelicals are cool with Kolob and Kolob is cool with them, heck, why not add a KING!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVkoQHCXSK8&w=640&h=390]

    (includes Eddie's Torah wrap ceremony, and, of course his elevation to kingship)

    October 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  15. gay guy

    After 4 long years unemployment is down to 7.8%, THANKS ODUMBO THAT WAS FAST, WINK WINK

    October 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Don't discriminate

      Gg,
      Nothing but name calling and criticism, with no ideas on a better approach that could have been taken from you gg. Sound familiar to anyone?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  16. DisappointedatRevBillyGraham

    It is shamefully disappointing that Rev Billy Graham has chosen to give his money and name to such a worthless cause, especially supporting Mr. Romney. I am sure there are better deserving charities than Mr. Romneys campaign. I never ever thought Rev. Graham would be a sell out, how dare you Mr. Graham. You have needy families in your own state even, my god, how dare you neglect them while supporting Romney? Where are your christian values and principles that you have dedicated your whole life to?

    Rev. Billy Graham, you have become a mockery of yourself, wow.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Lucha

      You are a complete moron and do not understand that if there's no economy, there's no money to help anyone. So save your sanctimonious rhetoric for your mirror...

      October 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Lucha, honey, the world is not ending just because you happen to be here. The economy will continue its normal ebb and flow long after you are in your shallow grave. Please don't take yourself so seriously. We are discussing the Taliban-like takeover of the nation of America by religious fundiots.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Mark

      read the article....no mention of a candidate is made or referred to...the ad is based on biblical teachings....way off base with the Romney comment...and keep in mind, if good people help others...then others also become good people....and its NOT the function to have Billy Graham and/or his family financially support those less fortunate in his state...he already does this through many different means, and I suspect he probably does on a personal note...thats like me telling you to contribute to others or for causes, because you have money....regardless of how much money you have...you need to do contribute...whom am I to tell you to do this is my point...and to further my point, who are you to tell someone else the same thing....remember.....Its Not Charity If You Let All Know Of The Deed You Performed....its bragging....

      October 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  17. dragnet767

    Who the Hell is Billy Graham? I make up my OWN MIND on who to vote for.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  18. MikeyZ

    Tax his church.

    That's the end of it.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • You Don't Say?

      If he's using his own personal money, his organization can't be taxed. So good luck with that.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Lucha

      The rev is using his own money and he's 94 so I'm betting he doesn't give a cah-rap what you think.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  19. Chris33

    Take away Graham's tax exempt status.

    He's a political SuperPAC.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Lucha

      Yeah, that's not happening. You apparently don't even know how much humanitarian work that organization does domestically and internationally. This is because you are a complete turd.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • L. Radcliff

      Excellent, excellent. As it should be.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  20. Jerry Chapman

    How ignorant does Graham's spokesman think we are to believe the advertisement is not intended to instruct people whom to vote for?
    He is as full of it as Romney!

    October 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Unknown

      Anyone would half a brain would realize that. Especially when it came after meeting with Romney.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64
Advertisement
About this blog

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.