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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. DD

    The biggest disappointment of the entire election cycle was learning that Billy Graham is a total hypocrite. President Obama prevailing confirms for me that God always has the last word.

    November 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  2. phil

    Uh, Mr. Graham? Jesus is at the door, and he wants to talk about Joseph Smith.

    November 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  3. pastmorm

    So, the past few months, I've been really concerned about a mormon in the White House because of my background with the mormon church (7th generation...ancestor even mentioned in the D&C) and how horrible I know it to truly be.

    No more of CNN (which obviously supported Romnesia, the big hairy ape). No more fighting with a bunch of mormon propagandists. All that matters is that not only did creepy conservatrolls LOSE last night, but the mormon church lost the money it donated to stop gay marriage in Maryland and Maine. LOL! ON top of that, how many members are going to be questioning their religion now? After all that fasting and prayer, surely God would have seen the light and created a win for Romney, the chosen of the mormons and God himself. LOL! NOT!
    So, no more of these boards. And NO more of cnn. In 4 years mormonism will be a skeleton of what it was. All of the things that have come out about it's REAL temple beliefs and godhood, etc, will hit Americans and they will put it up there with the likes of David Koresh. Younger generations are already leaving the church (I've been able to help 7 out of 13 of my nieces and nephews see the light of freedom) and as technology takes over, even more will leave behind the dinosaur led by a bunch of smelly, old, pathetic men, that is the mormon church. BYE LOSERS!!!!!

    November 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • PC

      Wow pastmorm, aren't you cool. It's only prophesied that the world will become worse as the 2nd coming gets closer so I don't think this will really shake anyone's faith. We will see a skeleton of a country in the next four years if we don't do something about it.

      November 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • phil

      Thank you for electing Obama, Jesus. You still love America.

      November 9, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  4. WillieLove

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLRHkaLG48Q&w=640&h=390]

    November 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  5. WillieLove

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFfdOkwyuL0&w=640&h=390]

    November 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  6. WillieLove

    w w w. jesus- is- savior.com/False % 20 Religions/ Illuminati/who_ are _ they. htm

    November 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  7. WillieLove

    Who Are The Illuminati?

    November 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  8. WillieLove

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z19_tbkSjA&w=640&h=390]

    November 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  9. WillieLove

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVtEvplXMLs&w=640&h=390]

    November 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  10. Elijah Clark

    If you really think about if from a religious perspective. If you are a Christ follower, then your religion should be the only thing that matters within your day to day.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  11. Baptist Minister

    As we near perhaps the most important election in modern times I am very concerned that many Christians have lost their way and are imperiling themselves, and this country as a whole, by supporting the presidential candidacy of a Mormon 'high priest'.
    My position on the Romney candidacy is unequivocal and unmoving. To put it bluntly – and to focus solely upon the most important issue that I, as a Christian minister, must consider – I will state it as follows: Because Mormonism is a church of Satan, and Mitt Romney, in his leadership role(s) in this insidious and abominable cult, is a disciple of Satan, no Christian can support his campign. It's as simple as that folks!

    Now we can all debate why Reverend Graham has taken the actions he has until the cows come home, but, all that is really, at this point in time, is a distraction (no surprise there). We may never truly know why he took such an immoral and bewildering course of action. But, ultimately, it is God who will judge him for it, not us.
    The important thing Christians should focus upon in these dawning days is the Truth. And the truth is that this country cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of Satanical anti-Christian and anti-American cult. Now I know that Romney has promised much to many Christians, and has managed to assauge their concerns over his "religion" with many vocal assurances. He has said what he has needed to say to every particular group he has spoken to, promising "change", an end to abortion and all sorts of other answers that seem to fall in line with Christian morals and values, but..! What else would one expect to see and hear from such a man? Yes, he has checked off on all the right boxes, but, if one looks a bit closer they will clearly see that he has checked off a great, great many other boxes as well. Boxes that each, on their own and alone, are enough to disqualify the man.

    I will close by asking all Christians that have pledged their support to this man to reconsider. In my opinion if you are supporting this man, you clearly have not thought it through enough. I ask you to meditate upon it and pray. And I will pray and ask God to guide us through this dire situation and lead us to the correct decision.

    God Bless America, and Please, please vote for anyone but Mitt Romney!!

    November 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • pete savitz

      If you have read the Bible and any books of Mormons or about Mormanism you can see clearly that Joesph Smith, Jr. was wrong about almost everything. Anyone who claims God was once a man is clearly mentally disturbed. I agree completely with the Baptist Minister and LynnSebben

      November 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  12. LYNN SEBBEN

    DISAPPOINTED REPUBLICAN IS NOW VOTING FOR OBAMA
    I AM DEEPLY SADDEN WITH BILLY GRAHAM. I HAD SUCH RESPECT FOR HIM.AND WATCHED HIM ON TV SINCE CHILDHOOD. I AM 60 YEARS OLD HOW CAN YOU PREACH FOR YEARS ABOUT THE MORMAN CHURCH BEING A CULT CHURCH AND THEN JUST CHANGE YOUR MIND. SHAME ON HIM, SHAME ON HIS SON. THEY TO WILL STAND IN JUDGEMENT. MR. GRAHAM, GET BACK DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND PRAY FOR GOD'S GUIDANCE.
    PRAY FOR AMERICA.

    November 4, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  13. Broncos Fan

    I'm an Evangelical Christian (my church is the Southwest First Assembly of God).
    And I'm also a lifelong conservative republican and NRA member. And I have never voted for a Democrat.
    This election, my 10th presidential election, will be the first time I did not vote for the Republican candidate.
    I cannot bring myself to vote for a Mormon who seems incapable of being truthful and hides his finances.
    And I feel that the Republican party has been taken over and corrupted by disloyal globalists and greedy billionaires who seem hell-bent on some sort of power-mad quest to destroy the middle-class. These people are crying about paying more in taxes but, truth be told, they've never had it so good. Their refusal to go back to the tax rates we had when Clinton was in office is outrageous and unpatriotic. When Mitch McConnell stated that Congressional Republican's number one goal was to "deny Obama a second term" and then refused to work with the President on any legislation, they destroyed any and all credibility with me. These people are putting their party before the good of the nation. They caused the credit downgrade, and they've done nothing but try to hurt the very people who were victims of the economic collapse brought about by Wall Street and the big banks! How can these people call themselves Republicans?? They're not. They're something altogether new and different. I don't know what happened to the Republican party, but, I do know that I can no longer call myself a Republican.

    I am voting against the corporate Mormon vulture, and any and all other "tea party" candidates.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  14. Frank

    "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God".... Jesus John 3:3 Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be born again, you will have peace with God, your sins will be forgiven and you will have eternal life.

    November 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  15. Astonished Christian

    Sorry, Sid1980, but Jesus Christ said that He, not any organization or religion or church, is “the truth” (John 14:6). And you’re really going to have to give Matthew 7:15-20 another look, because it does not say what you and Mormonism try to make it say!!
    Jesus was not talking about identifying Christians at all! He was warning them to beware of false prophets (verse 15), and telling them to judge whatever prophets come to them by their fruits! And what, my dear Sid, are the “fruits” of false prophets? False prophecies! Apple trees bring forth apples, pear trees bring forth pears, and false prophet trees bring forth false prophecies! You can bank on it!! These false prophecies can be in the form of false predictions of future events, or they can be in the form of false teachings that contradict scripture. Cults, like Mormonism, usually, have both. Did the end come in 1914, 1925, or 1975 as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (JWs) predicted?? Is Jesus actually Michael the archangel whom has already returned “invisibly” as they also claim?? Can human beings become gods as the Mormons teach?? Was there, after all, a space ship behind the Hale-Bopp Comet as Applewhite asserted?? No.
    Why did Jesus warn the people to look for false prophecies and false teachings to help them identify the false prophets? Shouldn’t they have been able to judge them by their “works”? No. In fact, Jesus cautioned them that the false prophets who came to them would be wearing sheep’s clothing. If one is wearing sheep’s clothing, what is one going to look like? A sheep! People cannot identify false prophets by the way they appear, because they look like true prophets (or true Christians)!
    False prophets, false Christians, and false religions will be able to show you good works, but do not be fooled — GOOD WORKS DO NOT A CHRISTIAN MAKE.

    I do NOT see President Obama in any of this. I clearly see this as speaking about Romney and Joseph Smith!!

    November 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  16. The Mighty Paw of Dog

    Linda.
    You should say elohim bless you. Because Mormons believe in different and multiple gods. Also they believe in planet kolob and that you receive your own planet in the afterlife.

    November 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  17. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

    "In Greed We Trust"

    In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

    For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

    Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant (Southern Illinois) so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/mitt-romney-implicated-perjury-and-stock-fraud-made-millions-process

    November 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  18. William Hudson

    Last post. I will be at the polls Tuesday, along with millions of other Christians, voting my values–love of God, love of country, love of family and love of my fellow man. I pray that those who do not share these values will one day wake up and see the Light. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    November 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Astonished Christian

      You are a liar and a deceiver. And you Satan worshipping candidate will fail on September 6th! True Christians are NOT fooled by you Mormon apologist arguments. They know that Mormonism is a cult of Satan!

      God Bless America, and God Bless Barack Obama and Joseph Biden!!

      November 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. Sid1980

    To all those bashing Romney and Billy Graham: The bible also says, be weary of those who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravinous wolves. Matthew 7:15. I see that as President Obama.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • FairLady

      Romney is the false prophet. Obama is not trying to use any kind of religion to win voters.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • The Mighty Paw of Dog

      Because your brainwashed. What do you know about Mormons? How can you support someone who worships idols?

      November 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Astonished Christian

      Sorry, Sid1980, but Jesus Christ said that He, not any organization or religion or church, is “the truth” (John 14:6). And you’re really going to have to give Matthew 7:15-20 another look, because it does not say what you and Mormonism try to make it say!!
      Jesus was not talking about identifying Christians at all! He was warning them to beware of false prophets (verse 15), and telling them to judge whatever prophets come to them by their fruits! And what, my dear Sid, are the “fruits” of false prophets? False prophecies! Apple trees bring forth apples, pear trees bring forth pears, and false prophet trees bring forth false prophecies! You can bank on it!! These false prophecies can be in the form of false predictions of future events, or they can be in the form of false teachings that contradict scripture. Cults, like Mormonism, usually, have both. Did the end come in 1914, 1925, or 1975 as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (JWs) predicted?? Is Jesus actually Michael the archangel whom has already returned “invisibly” as they also claim?? Can human beings become gods as the Mormons teach?? Was there, after all, a space ship behind the Hale-Bopp Comet as Applewhite asserted?? No.
      Why did Jesus warn the people to look for false prophecies and false teachings to help them identify the false prophets? Shouldn’t they have been able to judge them by their “works”? No. In fact, Jesus cautioned them that the false prophets who came to them would be wearing sheep’s clothing. If one is wearing sheep’s clothing, what is one going to look like? A sheep! People cannot identify false prophets by the way they appear, because they look like true prophets (or true Christians)!
      False prophets, false Christians, and false religions will be able to show you good works, but do not be fooled — GOOD WORKS DO NOT A CHRISTIAN MAKE.

      I do NOT see President Obama in any of this. I clearly see this as speaking about Romney and Joseph Smith!!
      Your reasoning to support Romney is terribly, terribly wrong.

      November 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  20. W.G.

    The Bible says that satan will fool even the elect . Graham backing a mormon is proof of that .

    November 1, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • FairLady

      Yes, I believe that Romney is the false prophet the Bible warned us about and Billy Graham endorsing him is just even more proof of this truth. Obama is NOT using any type of religious agenda. He is just a good man who wants good things for everyone and does not think the wealthy should inherit the world.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:11 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.