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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. AmericanLiberal

    Oh "End Religion " dude

    you are trying to sound soo smart – I am trying to get people to think for themselves
    and not repeat verbatim the God hating rhetoric that these brilliant minds come up with.
    They spend their whole lives trying to prove God away
    What hate it is and waste of life – what dis-appointmnet at judgement day, wow
    What a hateful waste of ones life

    How's come you don't know that little tib-bit about Dawkins – it was a huge deal when he said it
    You claim to be so knowledge-able on this subject

    I believe you are a semi-smart person who has taken a stand against God
    You have taken a stand against God and are now working on your case to prove it.
    Bummer is – God is the Judge in that courtroom

    It is ALL ABOUT GOD – all of this is – all of life is – and this proves it
    one way or the other, people are freaked out about God :-)

    You love Him or you hate Him

    You'll never explain Him away buddy, sorry, greater than you have tried
    Dawkins failed miserably at this too and he knows we were designed – he just will not acknowledge God for doing it

    I'm done – Good Night all – please find out for yourselves, this IS the question of life – you must find out for sure !

    October 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Sheep.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      @FakeLiberal: "I am trying to get people to think for themselves"

      Religion is codified mind control, which makes your effort counterintuitive.

      ***
      "and not repeat verbatim the God hating rhetoric that these brilliant minds come up with."

      In all your madness, you do have a valid point here. No one, from any philosophy, worldview, religion, yadda, does one's self a service by only residing in the echo chamber of like-minded people. We should all continue to seek alternative viewpoints.

      The problem is, we can't all spend endless amounts of time reading and listening to any crazy rant presented. But this is an argument for science, which rests on falsifiable theories (what we call "facts" in our shared reality). This is also we I poo poo religion which rests instead on belief.

      And thank goodness credible science quietly poo poos religion so it can get on with the business of dragging you cretins into the future despite all your kicking and screaming.

      ***
      "How's come you don't know that little tib-bit about Dawkins – it was a huge deal when he said it You claim to be so knowledge-able on this subject"

      To quote Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes, "I know nothing. Nothing!"
      http://hark.com/clips/stcglgpcfd-i-know-nothing

      If it was a huge deal then you surely have video of it. Or, and I hesitate to say this because you seem so rational and trustworthy, perhaps you're lying?

      ***
      "God is the Judge in that courtroom"

      You seem to good buddies with god and I have been dying to know this: can you ask him if judges wear underwear beneath the black robe, or are they naked?

      ***
      "It is ALL ABOUT GOD – all of this is – all of life is – and this proves it"

      Your half-baked, misspelled and retarded assertions prove god? I don't see it. You have a lower threshold for evidence than I.

      ***
      "You'll never explain Him away buddy, sorry, greater than you have tried"

      At this point in time we cannot disprove the existence of a creator. But we do know there is no abrahamic god since its existence is tied to a fraudulent book comprised of refried pre-existant myths and forgeries.

      ***
      "Dawkins failed miserably at this too and he knows we were designed – he just will not acknowledge God for doing it"

      Link, please.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Gullible's Travels Watch - another public service

      "American Liberal": "You have taken a stand against God and are now working on your case to prove it."

      No, you're the one who has taken a stand, AL, by not only claiming God's existence (as is also contained in your assertion above to "End Religion"), but by asserting that this is the God of Abraham. When asked on multiple occasions, you have failed to supply any credible proof of such existence. (Ancient fable base on rehashed ancient fable is not credible proof.) Therefore, all of your claims as to the existence of the God of Abraham are unfounded.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  2. KingMe

    Languish not in this world's proctor-silex and render to me your pennies for I am penniless. All of my greenbacks go away and are taken up in taxes. I have no pennies of my own. FEED ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  3. Steve

    Screw Billy Graham. He was the last evangelist I had an ounce of respect for. Now, he's going to take down the cult status of Mormonism and endorse Romney?

    It amazed me how many "Christian" sheep are so stupid to essentially allow one issue– abortion– rule their whole political thought process.

    I'm a Christian, I'm on the left, and I'm ashamed of those who blindly follow the ignorance of neo-con Christians who spew venom from the pulpit, using cries of "family values" to mask that which is nothing more than bigotry, hatred and racism.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Thank you Steve. That is exactly how I feel.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  4. Greg

    In 1973 Billy Graham championed the honesty of President Nixon. Graham is just an amateur in the field of politics whom has become a mouthpiece for the conservative right wing. It took away from his ministry before and will likely take away from it again.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  5. Jackie

    Billy Graham once a great man has like Judas taken the 40 pieces of silver aka money from Mitt. Grahams son and other so called Religious leaders have been paid to get the faithful to vote for Mitt the Mormon Cult Bishop. Even the State of Utah isn't endorsing Mitt yet the Church Leaders are just taking money. People wonder why so many people have lost their faith in the Church Leaders. Well when the Church started working like a business this is what happens. We see Catholic Priest endorsing Mitt while allowing children to be molested and only the Priest are protected.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  6. t3chsupport

    So he's using money that he collected tax free in order to influence an election.
    Sounds legit.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Steve

      Well played. Solid point.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Martin Von Heagron III

      hasnt he sold millions of books? just sayin

      October 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  7. JFV

    Franklin Graham is the one behind this. Billy Graham is doing only what his son tells him to do. It is the height of arrogance to "use" your father for your own gain. Only once in his long public life as an evangelist did Billy ever get messed up in politics, and he said he regretted that. The name and work of Billy Graham have both been tarnished by Franklin Graham. Franklin should figure out his own "calling"–spreading the Word or spreading the manure of political rancor and divisiveness.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  8. Missy

    Rev. Graham,
    Where were you in the 1960's when Blacks and other marginalized groups, were dying in the streets just for basic human rights? How many ads did you place then speaking out against racism?

    October 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  9. Briana

    I thought Billy Graham had given up on politics since his support of Richard Nixon had caused the preacher so much sorrow and grief. Apparently not.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Nostradamus

      He did it, but his son and heir, Franklin Graham, is part of that extreme right wing that have done a lot damage to the economy of the United States, supporting all the possible wars, earthwide..... If you want a clear example of a "false prophet", F. Graham fits accurately.....

      October 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  10. Journey

    "Once the coin in the coffer rings...your soul from hell springs." Catholics used to say that when selling indulgences...evangelicals now say that to get your sect off their political hit list. Romney must have helped get the Grahams a tax loophole or a Cayman Island account. Bravo Evangelicals!

    October 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  11. Patricksday

    If men could bare children and be forced to carry a family members child the laws would be different/

    October 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • goo6er

      Right – much better to murder an unborn child than go through 9 months of inconvenience.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  12. dreamer96

    The hate against the west and the USA has a lot to do with the millions killed in the middle east by GOP Pro-Christian followers of a pacifist, War Mongers... Eisenhower over through the elected President of Iran after that government voted to nationalize their oil fields...and put the Shah in power..who was brutal to anyone that opposed him..that was why the religious leaders were able to build up the population against him...when ever you know someone killed or tortured by a leader you can find followers that want to overthrow them.. Nixon and the Yom Kipper war Reagan has a long list but consider Reagan talked Saddam into starting the Iran- Iraqi war 1980-1988...That war killed about 1 million young men on both sides..and is why the populations of both Iran and Iraq are now mostly young...the war lasted the same years as the Reagan Administration..and Reagan sold Saddam many WMD's and weapons..Military grade Anthrax, Sarin Gas, Tuban Gas, Mustard Gas, Botulism, Diluted Agent Orange in the form of Roundup to be used as a nerve gas..60 helicopter to gas the Iranian troops and the Iraqi Kurds..Saddam gassed entire Kurdish villages..killing men, women, children..and Reagan sold radioactive Yellow Cake..which was stolen and now is in Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program..Ironic...and Reagan even sold the shoulder launch missiles to the Afghan rebels and helped make Bin Laden a hero and leader of Al-Qaeda... GHWBush killed 100,000's of Iraqi troops and people maybe a million in 1991 gulf war.. GWBush killed 100,000's in the Afghan and Iraqi wars and occupations... So how would you feel if someone killed a member of your family..your country..We went to war over the killing of 3,000 people... Look at the southern states today..they are still showing signs of PTSD from the Civil War..Most of these extremist groups, anti-government groups, in America and their fear of NATO black helicopters, and a one world government are like a nightmare from the Civil War years, of the invading North Armies, and the flood of the Northerners, the Carpetbaggers, that flooding into the South and changed their world forever... Obama is going after the terrorist leadership...But Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan, both devoutly religious leaders, are talking more Wars..Iran and Syria...All while praying to a Pacifist God....Two pro-lifers that talk about the importance of every life, and then want to kill hundreds, or thousands, of innocent people in the middle east...Ironic and scary at the same time..

    October 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  13. GetReal

    2Th_2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    October 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      Why would you believe the ravings of that delusional fear-monger, Paul of Tarsus?

      October 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  14. Martin Von Heagron III

    yet no storys on CNN about rev jesse jackson and rev al sharpton campaigning for OBAMA.

    why arnt the lberals screaming about this?

    October 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Are there stories on Fox News regarding any campaigning by those two men ? Has Obama visited either of them recently ?

      October 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Martin Von Heagron III

      Two two aren't even authentic Christians. They're psuedo-Christian.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • midwest rail

      two two ? did you mean desmond tutu ?

      October 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • nottolate

      @midwest rail.

      I meant THOSE TWO. Posting without my glasses and can't see a thing.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "No Authentic Scotsman Fallacy."

      Nottoobright's reputation is intact.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • midwest rail

      I know what you meant, I was just teasing you.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  15. aurelius

    Another proof that bigotry is on the side of Romney. Bigotry and racism are still the tow most important factors in this election and no media dares talk about it.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • STORMTRQQPER

      A resounding YES, he still is of Very sound mind.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bill

      You are so full of yourself...Bigotry? you are the one bigoted

      October 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Steve

      So true. I'm a Christian, and I'm on the left. I'm sick of venom being spewed from the pulpit, and those who hide behind the banner of Christ to do nothing but mask their hatred, bigotry and racism.

      Is it any wonder the Mormon Church used to have blatantly racist ideals? Is it any wonder the KKK was established as an offshoot of the Southern Baptist Church?

      October 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  16. Tom

    Was wondering if Billy Graham was still of sound mind at his age...Answered!

    October 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Nostradamus

      I live in NC, close Asheville and everybody knows Billy Graham can't hold a normal conversation due to the Alzheimer. Every single communiqué coming from Billy Graham Ministries are really the viewpoint of Franklin Graham, a "humble christian pastor" making over 1.4 millions per year and visible head of BGM. Everyone knows he's in love with the rigthiest side of the Tea Party....Btw, can any "christian scholar " explain me how an alleged christian minister as F. Graham, can recommend a non-christian mormon candidate? Go figure.....

      October 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  17. Laurie

    Me thinks that their money would more appropiately be spent on feeding the hungry and clothing the children in distress. The Republicans are always pushing the fact that charitible organizations should be caring for the poor and disabled not the government but alas they cannot do it all...then Billy Graham chooses advertising over the poor....I'm quite sure that is not what Jesus would do. Shame. Too much suffering in the world to think that this is okay.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • ENR

      Have you ever heard of Samaritan's Purse?

      October 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Justin

    Disgusting. Hypocritical. Faithless.

    Not the man we used to know.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Psalmistic

    ROMNEY IS THE ANTI-CHRIST AND GRAHAM THE FALSE PROPHET!!

    October 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  20. CryfromtheWinderness

    Sick the forums people use to puff themselves up only to spread hate. This ignorant old man poisoning America to to the end. So stupid not realize that all of the rights politics are what brought so many Muslims to America and then to alienate them with his political positions wanting a "Godly" nation. The American right on the world stage, hate fill stupid arrogant murderers having not a clue what the cause and effect of their actions are. How many more in Islam must die before you blood thirsty murderers have had your fill? HEY OLD MAN! Christians also vote of the left. DID YOU HEAR ME YOU OLD BIGGOT!?

    October 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Bill

      Many many of us want a Godly Nation as it once was. I will tell you a fact. Jesus is coming back and things will happen just as He said it would. So if you choose not to follow Jesus then I'll say good bye to you now....Hell is not a place I wish to be...but if you are ok with it...then ok you can have it.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Nostradamus

      Cryfrom...., Billy Graham can't coordinate two straight phrases. He has dementia senil and Alzheimer......The problem is Franklin Graham, visible head of the BG Ministeries and a well known supporter of the Republican extremist right wing. He is a disgrace for the world of real Christians.

      October 20, 2012 at 5:42 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.