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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 • Leaders • Politics

soundoff (2,816 Responses)
  1. heyheyhey

    Make me wannna puke. Did billy forget that it is harder for a rich man to make it through the gates of heaven?

    October 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Salamander Jones

      Christian idiots seem to miss that part. The wealthy people who control the minds of christian sheep teach them to focus their hatred against science and gay people and the sheep abide. Scary people.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      He didn't forget. He simply understands it is all a fraud and most religious people do not.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  2. ohreally

    Can't wait for his church to lose their non-profit status since they are now a political organization.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • GertieGala

      Keep it bewteen the ditches will ya? No sense in running off the guidelines.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  3. Ministerlane

    Our nation was founded upon Christian values and morals. You are all free to believe what you'd like to believe – that is the beauty of this nation we live in and enjoy. I'm sad that Christians are treated the way they are these days, when it was Christians who gave you the opportunity to believe in whatever you'd like to believe in when they searched for the new world.

    Believe it or not, we can all get along together peacefully.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Truth

      Why are christians so greedy? Every single president in our nation's history is/was a christian. Our entire calendar is shaped around christianity. Christianity completely dominates this country. Stop being so greedy!!

      October 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • heyheyhey

      Yea lol and Christians killed most of the Indians, and killed people who they thought were witches.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Salamander Jones

      The backlash against christianity stems from your regressive views towards science and society. Evolution is real. It is backed up by evidence and logic. Creationism is backed up by nothing. There is only one quote in the bible scrutinizing gays while there are endless quotes about greed being wrong. It's fine if you want to hate science and gay people, just please don't impose your ideas unto everyone.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • GertieGala

      Mini,

      The U.S.A. is but a juvenile nation of other-country misfits.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      Truth,

      Our whole calendar?

      List of Federal Holidays:
      New Year's Day
      Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
      Washington's Birthday
      Memorial Day
      Independence Day
      Labor Day
      Columbus Day
      Veterans Day
      Thanksgiving Day
      Christmas Day

      Funny, I count only one Christian-inspired holiday.

      Plus,
      Every week (52 times per year) we have:
      Tuesday = Tiu's day (Norse god)
      Wednesday = Woden's day (Norse god)
      Thursday = Thor's day (Norse god)
      Friday = Frigga's day (Norse goddess)
      Saturday = Saturn's day (Roman god)
      And every year:
      January = in honor of Janus (Roman god)
      February = Roman purification rite, februa
      March = in honor of Mars (Roman god)
      April = in honor of Aphrodite (Greek goddess)
      May = in honor of Maia (Roman goddess)
      June = in honor of Juno (Roman goddess)
      July & August = in honor of ancient Roman Emperors

      October 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  4. GertieGala

    Reading many posts here and there, most posters seem to be juvenile and delinquent in their rants.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  5. sam sainju

    Billy Graham is going straight to HELL (if there is one)!!! I know that for sure just the way he knows there is GOD.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • GertieGala

      Purely juvenile and not very sophisticated, yet trashy nonetheless.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  6. Andy

    I respect the man for his morality.

    However, I have ZERO respect for anybody who believes that the world was created 6,000 years ago, over six days.

    Anyone who does not believe in Evolution is a moron.

    If I find out one of my staff believes in Creationism, I will watch over this person VERY closely, and fire him/her at the first opportunity. Such people have no place in modern civilization.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Ministerlane

      Yikes. Harsh words. You're openly saying that someone who perhaps may be more moral than most (a Christian) would get fired by you?

      October 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • heyheyhey

      There is still a flat earth society hahahaha.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • FFLTurner

      Hello, I hope you really didn' mean that. This is a small world and we can all exist in peace with each other. I understand how you feel as a christian, I have met people who use their religion as a weapon to hurt others. Soetimes, racism will even overwhelm a person's religion.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • bert

      Andy, With all due respect someone has the right to believe there is a God, not evolution. and that is truth there is One. nothing exist on this earth without an owner, let me ask you a question has any man created life or even the ordinary trees you see, the work of a human hands is all artificial. there is a God. One day you will beleive it but let it not be too late.
      so dont get rid of someone who beleive something else other than what you beleive i dont think that 's fare.

      Jesus Love you

      October 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Saint_John

      FYI, the mormons are creationists and completely reject the theory of evolution. Mormons believe that they can eventually become gods and rule their own planet. IIRC, the bible myth relates the story of Lucifer's fall from god's favor for the very same reason. He wanted to become a god himself. He had been the top angel in heaven. Apparently there is come kind of ranking among angels; a hierarchy of sorts. Religions make absolutely no sense whatsoever. That's proof enough for me that no gods exist. We are on our own here and this ain't no practice run.

      October 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Lann12

      bert

      Andy, With all due respect someone has the right to believe there is a God, not evolution. and that is truth there is One. nothing exist on this earth without an owner, let me ask you a question has any man created life or even the ordinary trees you see, the work of a human hands is all artificial. there is a God. One day you will beleive it but let it not be too late.
      so dont get rid of someone who beleive something else other than what you beleive i dont think that 's fare.

      Jesus Love you
      ***************************************************************************************************************************************
      I Love this Bert, God Bless You and what He creates is Beautiful!!

      October 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lann12

      Andy

      I respect the man for his morality.

      However, I have ZERO respect for anybody who believes that the world was created 6,000 years ago, over six days.

      Anyone who does not believe in Evolution is a moron.

      If I find out one of my staff believes in Creationism, I will watch over this person VERY closely, and fire him/her at the first opportunity. Such people have no place in modern civilization
      ******************************************************************************************************************************************
      ******************************************************************************************************************************************
      WOW**** This is completely sad that you feel this way. 2. It is also against the law to fire someone on these terms "thank you Lord". But then again; I don't know why anyone would want to work for you if you feel this hateful about this issue. I hope you find in our Heart to and believe in God before it is to late. Because Hell is eternity!!!! God stands for Love...... Hell stands for Hate and basicily what you kinda sound like now...so sad......I so hope you find Gods Love

      October 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • elgeevz

      The most moral, ethical, and benevolent individuals that I have known in my 80 years were not at all religious. On the other hand, every time I have been ripped off or stabbed in the back, the deed was done by Bible-believing Christians. If there is a righteous god, hell should be crammed with them.

      October 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Babs

    If a preacher wants in politics or tells people how to vote-tax the churches that allow it.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • allens

      i agree. enough of this game playing. the government needs to enforce the law and stop being afraid of the church.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  8. Diana

    Amazing how some people have seen on the earth just a few years think they know everything when they know nothing. The Bible will out live you and you will be found to be a fool crying your butt off because you spent your entire life being a damn fool.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      negative. i am a sentient being. if there is a deranged god who would punish me for not subscribing to an arbitrary belief, i would not want to live i that beast's world, and will never regret making decisions based on the reality in which i exist, rather than subjugating my sanity for fear of a rumored revenge. your fantasy is a bloodfest, and your life is a sham.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  9. ib42

    This is more proof of the certainty that religious crooks like graham are completely removed from reality. That's why phoneys flock to kiss his ,er..ring....like romney.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  10. Lann12

    No Preacher has a right to put their preaching into politics to try and back a Political party in any way! It is wrong,completely wrong!!! Further more, I am a straight woman happily married to my husband for 20 years now. And in no way is it right for any church to get in the middle of Gay Rights either. The Church is suppose to be open for ALL, no matter who you are, what color you are, and if your rich or poor! They half to stand before God for their sins and their beliefs. It is not our place to JUDGE anyone whom does not affend us by the way they live their life.
    It is time the Preachers go back to the Bible and read where it says thou shall not JUDGE. God is the one whom does the Judging on Judgement Day. Now I can say that I don't believe in that life for "ME". I face judement judgement for myself just as the Gay face judgement for themselves on Judgement Day. The Churchs have no right in saying anything in Politics on any of these matters, This is wrong!!!!

    October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • gotup

      they're preachers alright, just not of the gospel of Jesus Christ. i'm a minister and assure you of this, that you'd be pretty lucky to find two or three true preachers who know the truth of the gospel of Christ in a hundred. if that many! that's why it's so easy for them to do and say what they do. Jesus is a means to an end for them, it just ain't the end you'd think it is.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Lann12

      gotup, I'm curious please do tell what you mean by "just not what you think it is" Thank you

      October 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Lann12

      I think I know what you mean hun, I am speaking in myine when I die and stand before God I will be judged on my sins as will they..I was using Judgement Day as their Judgement Day as when they die dear Not meaning as the JUDGEMENT DAY....sorry

      October 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  11. blame bush

    Billy stuck his nose into politics with Nixon and it turned out so bad that he said he'd never stick his nose into politics again.

    Robmee gave Graham the GOP sales pitch for evangelicals: promise a fundie theocracy, but give them nothing if elected.

    VOTE FOR ME: I'll end abortion....I'll end birth control....I'll put women back in the home barefoot and pregnant and, most importantly, I'll put blacks back in the rear of the bus where they belong. Yeah Verily! Vote GOP for the promised land and to restore Amerika to its rightful status. White Power! Man Power! VOTE GOP NOW Praise the Lord and God Bless Amerika.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • gotup

      touche'. often the truth is hardest thing to believe. isn't it?

      October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Saint_John

      BB, excellent post. We shall eventually prevail, although it may require another couple of thousand years to get there. Jesus !

      October 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  12. Babs

    If the preachers want in politics, tax the churches. Please someone start a movement!!

    October 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      how this works is, if you care deeply, you start the movement.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • ib42

      I'm 70, have emphysema and a recent heart attack, but I will march with whoever starts this movement. If it kills me.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lann12

      I agree

      October 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Saint_John

      I'm in. Let's roll. Jesus !

      October 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  13. RocRac

    People are getting a little mixed up here. B. Graham is not endorsing a person. Rather he is endorsing "principles". For example, it just so happens that allowing and subsidizing the killing of the unborn goes against a "principle" that Graham would surely stand firm on. Marriage defined as the holy union between a man and a woman is another matter of principle in which B. Graham would find no grey area. He realizes that these two politicians are just that, politicians. Yes, it's obvious that Graham is favoring the Romney ticket. However, it's not because Romney is or isn't a christian. It's simply a matter of principle. We are not voting for the next religious leader here, we are voting for the next politician who will happen to be our president.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Lean6

      Rationalizing. That's what zealots do. You have your orders. Get on your knees and follow them.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • jamat37

      Oh don't be so gullible!

      October 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jo Ann

      Except that Graham has selectly chosen "principles" that reflect Romney's stances, ignoring Christian principles of caring for the poor, the sick and the hungry – principles which receive much, much more attention throughout the Bible and especially in the gospels, and principles which better reflect Obama's positions.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lann12

      Perhaps; Simple fact is: This was posted after his meeting with Romney!!!!!

      October 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • RocRac

      JoAnn, Graham did not "selectly choose" the principles that Romney endorses. Those are and have always been Grahams principles. They just happen to line up with Romney's. As far as caring for the poor? How can you infer that Romney cares less for the poor than Obama? Who does this bad economy affect the most? The poor. Who is most burdened by the high price of fuel? The poor. When Obama himself says that he is for higher gas prices, who will suffer the most? The poor. When this country does fall off the fiscal cliff, who will suffer the most? The poor. Romney has given something like 30-40% of his income to charity. How mush has Obama given? This idea that Obama is the great carer of the poor and down trodden is a sham. Since he has been in office, there are many more added to the ranks of the poor. Every year he has been in office, the poor have become even more poor.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Lann12

      I have NEVER heard Obama say he for higher gas prices!!!!!!!!!
      Not sure where you heard that??????????????

      October 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  14. Lean6

    So...is this the part where all Christians are supposed to vote for Romney or go to Hell? What a tricky religion.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • gotup

      i'm a minister and i'd be the first to proclaim that christianity ain't what it used to be. with that said, i think it's way past time to turn back to God and leave all this religious nonsense behind. all of it! and by the way, i'm an obama supporter.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  15. Paul Willson

    I am appalled Mr Graham has not learnt the lesson of his closeness to Richard Nixon & how that relationship. This after he renounces his assertin that Mormonisn is a cult. Sounds like someone is playing with an aged man.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  16. Piperman

    Billy was never known for his mental acuity

    October 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Shawn Irwin

    Since the religious insist in participating in the political process, lets insist that they pay their fair share of taxes.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • ib42

      Corporations and churches are the biggest leeches in America, not the 47%.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  18. twalk

    I am disappointed in Graham being fooled by Willard.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      no one was fooled here. A deal was made and money exchanged hands. These 2 men concocted a scheme to exchange religion and its adherents for money. Just like at a farmer's market, the sheep were sheared and/or sold. These men who preach religion understand they can trade you for money/power/political reasons. It is nothing new. It has been going on for multiple millenia.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  19. big1dawg@hotmail.com

    His ads will probably have the reverse effect as the majority of people have become wise to religious hucksters such as Graham.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • gotup

      don't you think it's about time!?

      October 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      IT'S ABOUT TIME !!!!!!! :-]

      October 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  20. Shawn Irwin

    In other words, if Israel attacks Iran, lets send our soldiers to help them out . . . . and continue to make the same stupid mistakes that destoyed our economy in the first place.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:09 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.