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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.

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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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Evangelical • Leaders • Politics

soundoff (2,816 Responses)
  1. Russ

    Is GayGuy Donald Trump's puppet, he seems to know Obama's religion, citizenship and socialism policy.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • sally

      I know – what a friggin moron.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  2. nc1965

    Article: It continues, "I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles

    Well, he sure isn't talking about Romney, the Mormon Bishop.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  3. scmaize

    This has Franklin Graham's tainted hands all over it, taking advantage of his father's respected reputation. Mixing religion and politics is ugly.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      like father, like son, hindu's, opportunists.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Craig Adams MD

      What a shame Billy G. has lost his mind- sad.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  4. yanni

    Can this man able to process this complex thought at 94 or somebody might have written it down for him. He should have come and say it. It seems somebody is using a dying old man for political purpose. Mitt will say and do anything to become TPOUS it is always a fact.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  5. Gwats

    You EVIL old man..... why haven't you joined your buddy, Oral, and 'gone home' yet? This was the most phony gesture I've seen from the 'phony pulpit' in a long time. You did not endorse Obama because he not white 'enough' for you, yet you pull your Mormon 'cult' accusations OFF your website, and sit holding hands with 'Willard'? If Jesus was here right now, he'd call you a lying, decrepit, old hypocrite right to your face! Shut up, go away, and spend your last days/ months/ years with a shred of dignity. You have ZERO cred with me!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  6. BorschtBelt

    Think it's time we all turned to the Turner Classics Network to find out when they're showing "Inherit The Wind" next. Hopefully, it's sometime before Nov 6.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  7. queename*Ermine Lake Queen

    Graham is a money hungry demon like mitt. Mitt is scary.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  8. gay guy

    Because of one black kenyan man and his penis back in 1960, WE ARE FIGHTING FOR THE VERY SURVIVAL OF OUR NATION AMERICA, THATS WEIRD

    October 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      You forgot white hind, Bush.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Arenagal

      gay guy,
      Could you have made a more stupid statement. By the way what's up with the call name, are you advertising something?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Gwats

      You just boiled everything since 1960 down to some Kenyan man's 'johnson'. Don't you see something wrong with that? I sure do!

      October 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • === o ===

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

      "gay guy degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" denerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" 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 him as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • === o ===

      "gay guy" is also not gay and posts lovely things as "pervert alert" like "QUE ERS THE ONES WHO GAVE AIDS TO AMERICA"

      October 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • nolapearl

      You are absolutely ridiculous and I hope you realize you're not intelligent enough to vote.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • gay guy

      Yes I want a liberal straight man, its a fantasy

      October 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      No, I want people to obey truth absolute God and eliminate hindu' ism , denial of truth absolute GOD.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  9. annieL

    And Jesus wept.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      Ya, by the bucket's,

      October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Gwats

      Amen.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  10. Sparknut

    There was a time when I had respect for Billy Graham. No longer.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  11. george

    Graham Family and other pop evangelists are voting for their pocket books. Name one TV evangelist who is not a multimillionaire. Many have private jets. It is sad that they make their money off people who are desperate for help having a loved one stricken with a disease. These guys are using G_d's name and deception to make money.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      End justifies the mean's, motto of hindu pagan Christian preachers.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  12. masha4756

    God Bless Billy Graham and Mitt Romney.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • jungleboo

      They will certainly need it when they finally stand before their maker. They made a sharp move toward ruining a wonderful nation that was founded on Separation of Church and State, a nation that stands as a beacon of hope for all oppressed people of the world.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • gay guy

      AMEN

      October 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Mack

      Which god bless them? Yours or some other dude's? Lot of explaining to do yet.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  13. disgusted

    What a hypocrite?? He never believed in anything biblical,just what ever would benefit him in the name of whatever current flavor of Christianity that was popular at the time. Shows just how thin and fickle and false these "men of god" are. It's always been about power and moneyfor these guys. Truly spiritual people are quiet and there actions speak louder than their words. In this case Billy's actions just invallidated all of his words..hypocrite!!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  14. Wodewick

    Billy Graham lost all of my respect when he removed Mormonism for his list of cults because it was the politically expedient.thing to do I could care less about whether or not you believe in a talking white salamander but it shows Billy Graham suffers from lack of conviction just like Romney. It's the politics, and not his long-held beliefs.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  15. turn the page

    I am not religious, but anything to get Obama out of the White House.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • sally

      Well that was the attitude of all of Congress once he got in there. Very helpful for the country.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • sally

      (well all the Repubtards anyway)

      October 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • mitten

      Sally, that was pretty funny.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Dorkus Maximus

      That's what Billy Graham said.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  16. noteaparty4me

    Let me go farther in my comments. Billy Graham was a bigot when he maligned Jewish people in a conversation with Nixon and he will be always be considered a bigot to me after this. Nothing surprising here. Romney is white. If it was about faith Graham should be running in another direction than toward Mormonism that practiced racism just a few years ago and probably still do. Graham is a bigot and so is Romney. The two deserve each other.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  17. willis

    I am Republic Mormon and will never vote for my party period.
    Romney should know better from our church teaching that we dont mix politics and religion.
    He should have enough leadership and faith in himself . He lost my vote

    October 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  18. A Mormon Explaining How Blacks are Cursed

    October 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  19. MORmON Church is a Racist Cult

    http://www.youtube.com/user/llegalPlayer?feature=results_main

    October 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  20. J. R. Roberts

    How sad...an old man no doubt being taken advantage of by his son. You have had a great life Billy – this is a sad day. But this is your right – and reconfirms that Obama will get my vote. Religion and politics – we have learned nothing since 1776!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • The Turning

      How sad.... an elderly minister being beaten up by the atheists and people who don't agree with your choice of whom you wish to support. You have had a great life Billy, but people are already declaring you dead when you aren't. You hang in there, blessed one ~ you're time isn't nigh just yet. And who you support is your right ~ and reconfirms that I will vote my conscience and my heart. Religion ~ the basis for why so many people came to this country to settle and to get away from religious persecution.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • jungleboo

      @ The Turning: You have proven your ability to twist logic and history, and come up with supreme stupidity. Only a very small portion of people came to this country to escape religious persecution. The grand majority came her for economic opportunity. Way to go, you brainwashed boob.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.