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.
You all have one vote! Vote for the person you want to be president.
Not one guy on here will be swayed by the other viewpoint.
Not one gal, either. And yes, we all have one vote, except those who vote more than once. Yes, there have been those that have done that. We need to stop voter fraud.
Wow. Einstein had nothing on you, janey. What brilliant insight.
I thought the most important act of a christian is to care for the poor and the sick. That is what Jesus did. That is what Saint (mother) Teresa did. That IS NOT what Republican Politicians and Romney/Ryan team advocating. Obama may not fit in your definition of Christianity, but I believe he fits in Jesus's definition of it!
Thank you. The first nice thing you have said to me, but why don't I believe you? I know, I should have worded that a bit differently...
george...Yes, it is, and yes, they are. If you really think Obama is caring for the poor and sick, you are very brainwashed. Show me how he is doing that. Obama wants everyone dependent on the government. How is that caring??????
Billy Graham can iss my a55. Picking a super rich Mormon over a true Christian who is looking out for the less fortunateonly says one thing, the old gu is either a far right loon or a racist.
Better check again. Obama IS NOT a Christian!!!!
By whose judgment, janey? Yours? Since when are you in charge of such judgments, honey-pot?
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... I already explained why he isn't. A Chrsitian follows Jesus and His teachings. That is why they are called CHRISTians. Obama does not. There are many things he has said and done that shows he isn't. But since you know nor care nothing about Christians, you would not know this.
That's why I asked you to tell us all what you think makes him something other than a "true Christian", dearie. You spouted a bunch of lies. If you can't tell the truth, then I suspect YOU'RE the one who's not a "true Christian."
Of course, you're so stupid you don't know what the "no true Scotsman fallacy" is, so it's no surprise you are clueless here.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... What I said about Obama not being a Christian are FACTS. If you don't want to accept facts, that's your problem. Go ahead and live in your dreamworld where Obama and you are perfect. You know nothing of Christianity so you are in no position to comment on what it is and isn't. Since you do not believe in God you have no knowledge of what a Christian is. A Christian is someone who is saved by the blood of Jesus and follows His laws and lives for HIm. Obama lives only for himself. A narcissist is a self-worshipper. And you are a very sad excuse for a human being. I am very thankful that I don't know you. You cannot post without calling me nasty names. How sad it must be to be you.
No, they aren't "facts" you silly little girl. They're lies and you're the dumb sort who believe them.
I couldn't care less whether Obama is a Christian or not. What I DO care about is his ability to run the country. Romney has not proven he can do a better job and his beliefs won't make a bit of difference.
You go right ahead and continue blathering. It's amusing.
Unfortunately for you, you don't get to pick who is a "christian" and who isn't. Mr. Obama may not be exactly the same type of christian as you are, but that is a very good thing.
He says he's a christian. That makes him one.
The whooshing sound you hear is LinCa's point flying right over janey's skull.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... It's obvious that you don't know the difference between a fact and a lie. It's too bad that you are too lazy and brainwashed to actually do some research and find out the truth.
Cite your sources, twit. You claim it. You prove it. Post your evidence.
Oh, wait. Don't bother. You're so slow that it would take you days to figure out how to post a citation. As it stands, I don't give a ripe fvck whether Obama's a Christian or not. What I do care about is his view on women's rights to choose, on foreign policy, and on the economy.
His religion and his beliefs in some sky-daddy are so far down on my list of priorities that they don't matter at all.
What cracks me up is that you're ready to vote for a Mormon, not because he's a better choice but because you hate Obama's guts, janey. What a doofus.
LinCA...Are you for real?? There is only ONE type of Christian...one who is saved by Jesus and lives for Him. Just because Obama says he is a Christian, does not mean he is. His beliefs, actions, and what he says prove otherwise. A Christian lives his/her devotion to Jesus and tries to please Him.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son...You care about Obama's views on the economy and foreign policy?? He has failed dismally at both. So who's the doofus???
You said, "Are you for real??"
Very much so. Can you say the same? I doubt it, as you still seem to believe in fairy tales and imaginary friends. Are you out of elementary school?
You said, "There is only ONE type of Christian..."
ROTFLOL. A quick search yields somewhere between 33,000 and 41,000 christian denominations. They are all different, they are all christian.
You said, "one who is saved by Jesus and lives for Him."
That may be your definition, but it's just your opinion that that is the only way to be a christian. And you know what they say about opinions.
You said, "Just because Obama says he is a Christian, does not mean he is."
That's exactly what it means. He claims to believe and follow the dude's teachings.
You said, "His beliefs, actions, and what he says prove otherwise."
His actions are far closer to what most Jesus scholars claim Jesus did than any right wing lunatic. Jesus was a bleeding heart liberal. Republican policies exclude them and their constituency from being christian, per your definition.
You said, "A Christian lives his/her devotion to Jesus and tries to please Him."
When will you start?
What happened to separation of Church and State. Three letters for Mr. Graham IRS.
Sorry, but that argument is bust. He did not use Church funds for these ads.
Who's the real mormon now, harry reid?
And, by the way, it is hysterical that Dinesh D'Souza was caught in a hotel room with a woman he wasn't married to. This is the president of a Christian college; the guy who made the film 2016 who all the lunatics who call themselves Christian on the far right have been ranting about as the truth about Obama's 2nd term.
These people follow liars like the rats followed the pied piper.
Anyone remember Benny Hinn, another con man they thought was the real deal.
The devil is the father of lies and these people on the right keep listening to the lies...
Lmao!! Thanks for the heads up! I was just watching an old debate with him and Christopher hitchens the other day! It's always enjoyable to see these religious conservative 'leaders' showing hypocrisy at its greatest, let alone the moral superiority they claim is nothing but a charade to the ignorant masses to gain power and prestige. Thanks!!
The people on the left listen to Obama's lies.
This has nothing to do with Billy Graham. Anyone who knows him knows this is not his character. The culprit is Franklin Graham. Franklin Graham is the sleazy political manipulater. That is a case where the apple fell far from the tree.
These people are nuts.
I respect Billy Graham; however, he is wrong in endorsing a self-righteous rich liar who oppresses the poor.
Barack Obama is a Chrstian. Barack Obama follows the Biblical mandate to help others.
The Bible is about the Good News that ALL have fallen short of the glory (perfection) of God but that He loves us so much that His son took our place on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins. The Bible doesn't say that gay people are more sinful than anyone else. Jesus condemned those who thought highly of themselves and oppressed others, the poor.
I don't know what has happened to Billy Graham but somehow marriage has become more important to people than the good news that we are all in need of love and forgiveness. I may look righteous compared to a lot of people but I don't look righteous compared to many others and not at all when compared to God.
God said hate = murder; looking at someone lustfully = adultery.
He said judge not, lest you be judged.
Yeesh. Everyone should just read Jesus' actual teachings to find out who HE was harshest towards (the self-righteous religious hypocrites who looked down on everyone else).
It's not him. It's his kid, Franklin who is behind all of this.
A plea for moderation to these religious conservatives is pointless. Nice point though.
Further the Mormom religion is a cult that believe just as Eve believed she can become god, they believe they all become gods. It is an abomination to the Lord that Christian support Romney. I believe we are in end times and Romney will win the election. We will go to war with Iran. Russia andChina will not stand for it and Romney will send us into World War III. Because many Christians will be swept by the Mormon cult like Billy Graham and others, a victory in this war will not be assured. In the end times, many will fall away. Are we there?
Smells of Franklin Graham to me. The young Billy Graham who has supported every White House would never make the statements published in the article. Franklin, different story. He is not of the cloth and never has been. Google him. It is a sad day for the Graham family.
Billy Graham always leaned Republican. He practically lived with Richard Nixon as he needed much spiritual guidance. I think Billy probably wouldn't have done this 25 years ago. I could be wrong.
Obama a Christian???? You better do some checking on that. A Christian is known by their words and deeds, and Obama's proves that he is NOT a Christian!!!!! It's sad that you don't know what a true Christian is. A Christian would not cancel the Day of Prayer and then invite a bunch of Musiims to the White House to celebrate Ramadan. A Christian would not condone abortion, even letting an aborted baby born alive to die. A Christian IS NOT a narciscist...they worship God, not self. A Christian has compassion on the poor and would help them to be self-supporting, not dependent on the government. Obama was raised a Muslim and is a Muslim sympathizer.
janey, do you know what the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" is? I doubt it. Look it up, you silly twit.
How'd you get to be this stupid and still live, janey?
"judge not, lest you be judged"...yet you have judged Romney. How sad.
And you've judged Obama. Janey, you're a hypocrite.
Last nights AA meeting did not work so just poured my self a Scots man..............bottoms up! Oh, that's a different meeting.
If the parable of the Good Samaritan were told today, Jesus would probably use a Muslim in place of the Samaritan.
The Baptists and Methodists and Priests would pass the injured guy by while the Muslim or Hindu would have mercy.
Try meeting some people rather than just looking down on everyone else while you keep to your nice religious group of friends.
Jesus hung out with people you would consider sinners.
He was a physician and a 'friend' to sinners.
Not a jerk like the Pharisees (of that day or this day).
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... hyprocrite??? What I said about Obama are FACTS. And I'm not the one who said "judge not..." and then judged in the same posting. And you are very hateful and intolerant of anyone you don't agree with. That's also a fact. You are a very sad human being. You could learn a lot from Jesus, who teaches love and forgiveness.
If you are a Christian then you know God allowed Obamma to be president. Why would God do that? You are to pray for the man and the country then support elected officials and it will be well with you.
joe b... It is an abomination to the Lord that Christians support Obama. You need to check what he is getting us into.
Hahaha. What Obama is getting us into? Where were you when the Shrub was elected, janey? In a coma?
fred... Only God knows why He allowed Obama to be president. Yes, we are to pray for our elected officials, but we do not have to support them if they go against God.
Ok, just sounded like you allowed some negative thoughts about another person into you soul. Allways be on guard when you start to think wrong (unhelpful) thoughts towards someone. Ask how can I be of help. In this case remember most of what we hear about Obama comes from sources that thrive on disturbing the peace.
JM... Do you know anything about Islam?? No, Jesus would not have used a Muslim in place of the Samaritan. The Quran teaches that the "infidels" are inferior. In most Muslim countries those who don't convert are persecuted and even killed. It is the goal of Islam to dominate the world.
Hey, janey, did you read the story about Dinesh D'Souza?
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... If you are referring to Bush, I am no fan of his, but even he was much better than Obama.
Guess you loved seeing all those young soldiers killed in the wars he got us into, then, right? I suppose you aren't at all sad about their deaths since they went live with Jeebus, right, janey?
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... How should I know where they went? I didn't know them. Of course I didn't love them getting killed. But they were willing to die for our freedom. What have you ever done????
I always though Billy Graham was an honorable man and above politics. Guess I was wrong. I'm sorely disappointed in him. I'd expect no less from Franklin Graham. Billy Graham is obviously very senile.
Wonder how much Romney paid to the Billy Graham Foundation or whatever it might be called to get this endorsement?
It's his kid, Franklin Graham. He's the right-wing political hack. He's the one that has tarred Billy Grahams name. Sad but true.
That is why Romney gives 20% of his earnings to charity but, we won't know to which charity he gives.
Like Obama hasn't done a lot worse things to get endorsements.
Russ... it's not our business which charities he gives to. That is up to us who we give our money to.
Whats the latest truck parked at the White House??????? A MOVING VAN!!!hahahahaha
The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:
"gay guy" 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 this idiot as
the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.
If you are, then there won't be rainbow flag flying at the White House when Romne is elected. He is a sheep in a wolf skin waiting to devour our political system and turn our country back to polygamy. The Grahams are too naive to see the wolf sweet talking them into blasphemous future.
gay guy is a homophobe. He also hates atheists, and yet sometimes assumes the moniker cristopher hitchens (albeit misspelled) after the famous atheist.
in other words, like the Grahams, he'll sell himself anyway he can just for his hate for Obama.
I know someone that was kicked out of graham university for dating a black student
Oh boo hoo hoo
That's sad, but Christians are human like everyone else. They are not perfect.
"That's sad, but Christians are human like everyone else. They are not perfect." Well, honey, they sure do prance and dance around alot, indicating that the rest of us are even more "not perfect". They should shut their mouths and stay out of government. If they want to "be saved" by someone or something other than themselves, let them do it in private. That's where most real meditation is done.
jungleboo... a Christian does not think themselves better than anyone else. Christians know they are sinners and need God. And they have just as much right to speak up and be in government as anyone else does. They don't have to do it in private. In this country we have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
Nope, wrong again, janey. We do indeed have freedom from religion. There is no requirement that a politician be a believer at all. Nor is there any requirement that a citizen believe. You are wrong.
Freedom of religion requires freedom from religion. Without being free from outside interference, you can't freely choose your religion.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... You're getting a bit picky. Yes, we do have freedom OF religion. But we also have the freedom to have no religion at all. There, is that better?
LinCA... Huh?? Freedom from religion would be to have no religion allowed. That's what the atheists are trying to have done.
You said, "Huh?? Freedom from religion would be to have no religion allowed."
NO, of course not, you dumb fuck. Are you really this big of an idiot, or do you just play one on the internet? How hard is it to understand that to be able to freely choose a religion, you have to be free from one having forced on you?
You said, "That's what the atheists are trying to have done."
You are really clueless, aren't you? I don't think very many atheists are trying to deny you the right to believe whatever bullshit you want. Stupidity isn't illegal, and nobody is trying to make it so. All they want is to be free from some delusion being forced on them. If you keep the fairy tales and nonsense to yourself, and keep it out of mine, you won't hear from me.
Take away tax exemption from any religious organizations that Graham is in charge of... he's clearly endorsing Mittens, he even made it a point to remove his cult from his website. Billy has become lukewarm and partisan in his old age.
Obama got the shaft again haha. Everyone is turninf their backs on Obi
Graham is an old racist and anti-semite... there was no back turning about it. Anyone who thought he was ever on Obama's side has their head in the clouds.
Turnif their backs on obi? Speak english and someone may think you're more than an angry tard looking to spread you self loathing.
Billy Graham is wonderful
He well loved in
. Soon he will playing golf there with Richard Nixon, Satan And the anti Christ at the ninth hole.
Orwell prefers Guyana punch...how hateful you are. Better check where you will be going. Billy Graham is a Christian. Christians go to Heaven. They are not perfect. They are human like everyone else. The only difference is that they are saved through Jesus, so their sins are forgiven. Jesus teaches love and forgiveness. You could take lessons from Him.
janey, you should take lessons from a kindergarten teacher. You must have dropped out before you got to first grade.
If Graham is wonderful, why is he not out and about instead of hiding out in the woods? He should be out there preaching to world the confusing message he has been preaching all along and making suckers out of his followers by siphoning money out of them for self-serving purpose and live the high life just like Romney. What religious cult is doing the same as Grahams' so-called Christiandom, the Mormons. The Mormons take every penny from the poor Native Americans by brainwashing them by telling them they are the Chosen People of God. Even the Musllins believe the Jews are the chosen people.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... I would have liked to have dropped out. I hated school. But I made it all the way through school and college. You??
Exactly why, as a Christian, I no longer identify with organized "Christian" religion. I
I agree with you, Amen!
Good move, more power to you!
In other countries when theocratic leaders call for the opression of minorities we freak out about how wrong that is. If we are really a democracy and not a theocracy, Graham would have to pay taxes on his hundreds of millions he's made tax free while blaming liberals for floods, tornados and earth quakes and calling for assassination of Chafez.
Whose with me in taxing churches since they can't understand what separation of church and state means? I mean the great Ronald Regan stated that. They could of used this money to help feed the homeless, provide tutoring for students who are behind educationally, and make this country the best it can be ....but instead they spend money on political ads which is a waste of money.
Amen brotha! Lawsy be, give unto Caesar what is Caeser. Let's put some of that wasted 1 trillion dollars back into the economy instead of giving the preachers new cars, tv ads, and love shacks...
I am with you on taxing these sons. They make their millions selling God to poor folk
I'm in. Start with Graham, and move on up to the east side, where the Catholic Church has its head in the clouds.
Churches rarely go out in the "political" arena, but when they do, it's for moral convictions. Also, Billy Graham is likely using his own money that was probably taxed anyways. State and church separation does not mean people cannot use their religious convictions and values in the political process.
The TV evangelists such as Frank Graham 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, often send them their last dollars! These guys are using G_D name and deception to make money, they have no shame!
you got it bro
While there have been many who have profited by using God, especially quite a few televangelists to the point of ad nauseam, Billy Graham has been one of the most genuine ministers of our time who did countless things to help those in need at home and worldwide. If you would get past your own prejudices, you'd be able to see that quite clearly, as well. Little men harbor very little minds. Extremely little...too bad for you.
There are some that are as you say, but there are also a lot who are truly concerned and care about those in need. Who are you to judge all of them by a greedy few????
Which is which, janey?
"Billy Graham has been one of the most genuine ministers of our time who did countless things to help those in need at home and worldwide. Give us a list of all his supposed charitable acts, footnoted and alphabetized please, and then compare that huge (?) volume of papers you've just created to the simple declarative statement that goes something like this: "In 2012, three weeks before the Presidential election, Billy Graham crossed the line of Separation of Church and State, advocating that the faithful vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon who recently had paid Graham a visit, after which visit Mormonism was removed from cult status on Graham's Christian web site." Can you diagram that sentence?
You mean the same Billy G that just decided Mormons weren't a cult? Yeah, that actually means something...
Respect Mr Graham but certainly don't agree with him at all. Stick it to the poor is his message by supporting Mr Robme and that is dead wrong. God will set you straight Mr Graham real soon.
Bobby Frank... the poor will be much better off with Romney than they ever could be with Obama. I have no job and no income and Obama hasn't done anything for me. He's the problem...Romney is the solution. We need JOBS.
What is it, exactly, that you imagine Romney the millionaire is going to do for you, janey?
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son... Unlike the failure Obama, he will actually create jobs. And it's very sad that you are so jealous of someone that has a lot more money than you do. Who cares how much money he has? I have very little but I don't hate anyone that has more than I do.
He is? How, exactly, does he plan to do that, janey, dear? Can you tell us? Because Romney hasn't been able to do so.
I'm sure you're much more brilliant than he is, so do elaborate on the precise plans that will enable him to create jobs. Go right ahead, honey. I can hardly wait.
First the Ad, next he might want to lynch them they did in the past
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.