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.
Rev. Graham is nothing but a false prophet and cult worshiper
Religions must upgrade like everything else in order to remain relevant. Old fogeys like Graham have got to go.
Only the devil himself could have hoodwinked a dying Graham out of millions of his followers' dollars. Can you imagine how much good Graham could have done with that money, helping the poor, sick and downtrodden...oh, but wait...that's the "old" Jesus. The new Jesus is about profits, outsourcing, hate and discrimination - I forgot!
Calling all pastor's, leader's of God come back to your rightful duty as servant of God, study, prayed, seek God, for some have gone back, thinking and acting like the world, repent, having a form of godliness but denied the power.
TAX this poli-gious front organization.
one false "leader" endorsing a false "religion" and imposter..the enemy of my enemy is my friend ...
tsk tsk tsk
Just look at that freeze frame above of two old codgers. Says it all.
Billy Graham is a dead man walking. He didn't buy anything. His family did.
Graham is a fool.
Mormonism is a cult.
This is probably more his son's doing. Both are nothing but phony, lying, racist,hypocrits!!! I never would have thought this country is still as racist as it is proving to be!!!
For christians every where. God is not mocked. For what so ever a man sow that he will also reap. Mitt Romney, his money can buy what I once thought was a great man can also buy him a place in hell.
Cults make strange bedfellows.
Next thing you know they will be supporting Scientolgy.
Organized religions of any color only wants your money. Tell them to get lost and earn an honest living.
Somewhere the Anti Christ is laughing he didn't know it would be this easy. I though Billy Graham retired, but he only did that so he didn't have to counsel President Obama the first African American President. Then all of a sudden he miraculously comes out, takes picture with Mitt Romney who is a Mormon. All of a sudden Mormons are not a cult? He is leading people astray and that is truly a shame. Mitt Romney is trying to lie, cheat , buy and steal this election. He is a liar, arrogant and rude!
I assure you, the anti – Christ isn't concerned with either Romney or Graham is my guess. He's concerned more with the unbelievers. Just call it a hunch.
I wonder how many pieces of silver Romney has just given to Graham..And I have yet to meet this Jesus character...Last I heard ..The Romans killed him 2,000 years ago...What a con job...
for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. oxymoron
Didn't Billy Graham's website classify Mormonism as a cult as of 5 days ago? Oh yeah, that's right, they changed it so as not to conflict with his endorsement of Romney.
Let's see..Biblical values...OH YEAH! Slavery is a Biblical value, and the Bible preaches equating women like property too. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill!", so then I guess that means we should vote for a candidate that wants us to AVOID war at all costs. We're not supposed to pray to the Golden Calf, but yet, there is a big Bull there on Wall St, an while it's not made of gold, it certainly represents it. So, per Graham, we should not vote for a candidate that puts riches above most all else. Uh, Mr. Graham, are you SURE you want us to vote for Biblical values?!? If we do, well, then, Romney is SURELY not the candidate for us.
The Grahams wh*re for cash... guess God's the next one who'll be taking payoffs.
Remember that The reverend Billy Graham said that anyone can sin all he/she wants and have eternal life. I am a sinner like the reverand and every one elso but I prefer doing my best to keeping the Ten Commadments and the golden rule. The fact that the Old Testament and the New Testatament have been perjurised by the translators, the churches and the reverand Billy Graham himself is not news. The fact that there is no god that does what the church teaches is already known.
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.