By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
Washington (CNN) – The Rev. Franklin Graham spends most of his time running an international aid group called Samaritan’s Purse. But he usually makes headlines for his political pronouncements.
Over the past year, Graham has attracted attention for his role placing newspaper ads in which his dad, the iconic Rev. Billy Graham, encouraged voters to support conservative values in the lead-up to Election Day. Franklin Graham is CEO and President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which in addition to financing the ads removed a reference to Mormonism as a cult from the group’s website. The move came as Franklin and Billy Graham met with Mitt Romney, who was campaigning to be the first Mormon president, shortly before Election Day.
The younger Graham stopped by CNN’s Washington bureau this week en route to New York, where he was checking in on Samaritan Purse’s Superstorm Sandy relief and promoting a Christmas campaign collecting gifts for poor children.
5 things we learned from his visit:
1. Graham rejects allegations that he is co-opting his ailing dad - who turned 94 last week - to voice support for conservative causes like opposing gay marriage.
Graham says that his dad would have never imagined current debates over the definition of marriage and about when life begins, which he explains is why the famously bipartisan Billy Graham has stepped up his conservative activism. Franklin Graham says it was his idea to run political newspaper ads before the election, but that his dad signed off on them. He says they traded several drafts of the full-page ads, which read as letters from Billy Graham, before they were published.
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“When the president accepted same sex marriage I felt that became kind of a moral crisis for our country,” Graham told us, referring to President Barack Obama’s endorsement of legalized same-sex marriage in May. “And that Christians should be reminded as to what we’re voting for. I presented this to my father, and he agreed that we ought to remind people to vote for biblical issues.”
2. Graham says his dad has always been political, and that Billy Graham’s activism last year was in sync with past behavior. “I’ve read some of the reports where they said my father avoided politics,” Graham said. “That’s not true. I mean, he’s known every president since Truman.”
Graham told a story about his father speaking at a 2000 news conference with George W. Bush in Jacksonville, Florida, on the Sunday before Election Day. That year, after a protracted recount, Florida wound up determining the election’s outcome for Bush.
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“Now don’t you think that was worth some votes in Florida,” Graham asked, referring to his dad’s appearance with Bush. “I think it probably… changed the outcome of the race. So my father has been involved in politics at different levels over the years, and so for him to be involved in these ads is not out of character.”
3. Graham thinks America’s economic doldrums could be God’s way of sending a message about the nation’s growing secularization – and about what Graham sees as its increasing immorality.
“I don’t see our country turning to God,” he told us. “I see if anything the pride in the hearts of politicians [being] very big and very strong.”
“For them to admit that they made a mistake and to call up the name of Almighty God, it would take a major crisis in this country to do that, and maybe that’s what God will have to do,” Graham continued. “Maybe he will have to bring this country down economically before we will turn our hearts back to God, I don’t know.”
This scenario is related to Graham’s view of American exceptionalism, which revolves around the idea of a special relationship between God and the United States. “God has blessed the United States of America more than any other nation on this earth,” Graham said. “But we’ve turned our back on God as a nation and it’s sad, and I believe that his hand of blessing could slowly be removed from this country. We need to repent.”
4. Graham thinks preachers should speak out on social issues like abortion or gay marriage, but not on economic ones. “When it comes to the taxes - whether you should tax the wealthy more or the poor more, I’m not into that,” he said. “Let the politicians worry about that.”
5. Graham didn’t direct the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to remove its website’s reference to Mormonism as a cult shortly before Election Day. But he agrees with the move. “I didn’t even know it was there. We have like 10,000 pages on our website,” Graham told us.
Graham said the reference isn’t coming back to the site. “I don’t want to be involved in calling people names,” he told us. “I want to reach people for Christ, and how can I do that if I’m calling them a name? I don’t even like the word cult; it sounds like dungeons and dragons or something.”
What’s your take on Graham’s political views and how they grow out of his religious beliefs? Let us know in comments.
** Fair Warning – Totally off subject subject **
I was flipping threw the TV the other night and saw a story on the 700 Club about this lady that had contracted leukaemia. When it was discovered the doctors said that she had a very aggressive form and that she had two weeks to live. She flew to a different city and started treatment immediately and long story short she is in remission now. She had always gone to church and had always been a devout Christian. After the treatment she gave God the credit for her recovery and thanked him for her survival
Here are my questions
Why did she seek treatment ? Heaven is WAY better place than earth. She could be in the arms of the saviour right now. Additionally, isn't she defying God's plan by traveling to a different city and seeking treatment? Why did she not stay where she was and pray for survival? Does prayer only work when accompanied by docu.mented repeatable scientific medical treatment/ procedures ?
It sounds like a nice story, but ask yourself why they don't interview the family members of the hundred or so typical cases for each of these where people's prayer did nothing to stop their cancer from taking their lives just as their doctors predicted?
I had a member of my family from back in the 1930's who was diagnosed with leukemia. He was reportedly a hell raising, drinking, party guy who hadn't set foot in a church since he was a kid. In those days, there was little or nothing doctors could do, leukemia was a death sentence. They told his wife that he probably wouldn't live out the weekend and sent him home to die. To make a long story short, the disease went into a spontaneous remission and he lived well into his eighties. He didn't pray, nor did he ever change his lifestyle after his recovery. Diseases sometimes do that (remiss) for whatever reason, which has nothing to do with the supernatural.
Great input and story MaryJ and Woody thanks :)
Still waiting an answer to my questions, however.
Prayer only ever "works"; Christians dismiss all times when it doesn't work as a "No" or a "Later" answer from God. So, no matter what happens after you pray, no matter how much it looks like there isn't anything special going on, it's still God answering_ And they buy it!!! It is just amazing!
Christianity is dying. In 50 years, religion will be the myth that paganism has become.
This is neither true statistically (hard-core religions are on the rise globally) nor historically (such strong predictions have never actually come true, as in the case with Voltaire's famous prediction). Belief in God and a literal religious text are here to stay for the long-haul.
Hey you are right. The Bible even says that they will be a falling away. Then we can start the CNN cult club. My mistake,it's already here. Hey you can think Cnn for this cult club.They look like they finally will get some followers since their tv ratings are in the pits. Oh yeh and when the Church is gone you can do anything you want to without worrying about getting preached on .Hey what about Adultry or lets call it Adult entertainment, Don't like somebody do what you want with them. Tell your parents to get lost you hate them. Remember if they are no God or Bible or like some people a fairy tale then there can be no evil or good because everybody has a right to their own opinion. Man this CNN CULT CLUB IS WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The blog has a tv show?
Did they ask Franky if he put pops up to supporting Romney ?
Sadly, the elderly are easily abused and manipulated, and usually by their grown children.
I like the moniker "Religion is not healthy for children and all living things" I would extend it to say, forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE.
Eventually religion becomes self abuse.
you're a real liberal dumbo ass turning this country into circus, ignorant, first father or mother children of your own, goon.
All religious leaders should be shamed of themselves. They must know that they are lying to their followers. Most know there is no god and all religions are the work of man, but they still continue to use religion as a tool to manipulate the masses. I wish there was a hell, because Graham and the rest of them deserve to burn.
Man, this place sure is dead following Mittens comeuppence.
Where are you fundies to defend your sky fairy against the atheist "haters???"
Come on, we are here making fun of you and your stone age myth, and all we are getting is crickets.
Fight back. Tell us how we are all going to hell for mocking the grand wizzard. Or quote some nonsense from your book of magic spells. Or heck, just tell us a babble story. Do something.
Did those mean ol' atheists ruin everything by voting for that Kenyan Mulsim who will come and take all your guns away?
God loves even you.
They've gotten tired of talking to people who think "stone age myths" is witty or a good argument.
Although I am a devoted follower of Christian views, I cannot stand idly by watching these modern day pharisees fleecing their flocks and living the highlife upon the backsides of the emotionally suppressed. :-(
Clyde, stone age myths is a good description of your book/beliefs.
Until you come up with some proof of it, then a myth is exactly what it is.
We are waiting.......
robert: you have no authority to speak for "god"
"God loves even you."
Wow, you could probably scr ape the condescension off this guy with a butter knife.
mary: it is because robert is a punk
You do not get a rise out of anyone because simply put –you are not a worthy opponent. I tried to feel insult over your post, but they were not well enough written to stir up any other emotion other than pity. I have no guns, do not think Obama is an Muslim and definitely would not cry over his win. I will leave the tears for Oprah. As far as your comments on religion –they did get a yawn out me and I needed something to get off to sleep.
When it comes to taking care of the needs of those that are suffering, Christians as usual are in the fore front helping those in need.
Christians just don't talk they act with kindness and compassion.
I agree to an extent. The christian missions go build "churches" and medical huts and drop off a bunch of bibles and supplies and then a week after they're gone the muslims step in and appropriate all the buildings and resources. What a system!
What say you about Tv Pharisees who sell their caustic faithless goods to the worried masses that are searching for understandings and are emotionally troubled due their positions in Life? Although I am bound to Christianity's social teachings, I am fed up with the Tv pharisees fleecing their flocks with books and Cds and DVDs that further screw up the mindsets of the emotionally depraved starving for emotional enlightenment instead of righteous involvement by the church hierarchies' yet undeveloped psychological intentions to do good works upon the most poorest in their folds. Intimidating their flocks via the 'good book' is psychologically irrational and should be abolished from all religions!
HS & MS: lol.
I wholeheartedly concur in your understandings M.S. The ever so lavish lifestyles of the ever getting richer christiandumbs pharisees will one day soon get their bellies full. Do not get the wrong idea for I detest physical lamentations no matter the reasoning. I am quite angry with the lavish lifestyles of those 'pharacitical' quamires we call preachers and pastors etc etc. They all disgust me ad make me want to puke all over their tommy hilfinger suits that they paid a great deal for! God damn them all for Christ's sake!
Creepy Hindu guru, we are all tired of your schitck. You are boring us.
Come up with some new material or just go away.
When your ilk are not enslaving or lynching or stealing their land, you drop off some used clothing and bibles and small pox.
Then a few weeks later retreat to your comfy homes, all improved because of science, then try to pass laws to include your sky fairy into our lives.
Maybe you did not get the memo, but god is not real.
Why not try to be a stand up guy because you choose to be, and not because you think big brother is watching.
Dude, tell us your Mom's number so we can call her to let her know you are off your meds and on the computer again.
Atheists do compassionate things without the sucker at the end. Guess who is more altruistic ?
Read "The Faith Healers" by James Randi. You will have a different view of their "charitable" side. They rake in obscene amounts of cash from the poor, the elderly and desperate and give nothing in return but ruin and heartache.
Everyone knows that the Graham charities are merely ways to get in and convert the needy away from their local culture and to Graham-approved beliefs. They do shoe boxes for the poor of third world countries here, but they've been caught slipping in tracts before shipment. I call that taking advantage of people's misfortune in order to further your own selfish aims.
Prayer is for weak-willed dullards.
I think you are referring to the democrat party?
This is not CNN Belief Blog, it is the CNN Hate on anybody with faith blog.
Some of you people need to learn to stop calling names.
Don't flatter yourself. To hate those who believe in invisible sky gods is tantamount to making fun of retarded people.
SOooo "Flash Gordon of the Grahams is his father's self-simiar cosmological paradigm?" What a load full. Christ himself was reportedly to have told a pharisee to sell all he had and give it then to the poor! What a hogwashing today's most highly rich religious pharisees are doing to the masses, the small minded mobs that may one day see the fruits of the winepresses and breads of marked bakeries while willingly turning their eyes away from religious tv lotteries of buy this but only as a 'gift' offering price of $29.99 plus the cost of shipping but if you buy more than 4 DVDs, the cost of shipping and handling will be waivered! May God damn all of today's enriched pharisees and their fruited generations for all time in the hells they so deservingly attire! Since when does a gift come with a price to be fetched? When really will the dumb and dumber wake up and realize they are some of the dumbest mobs in all christiandumb?
Who has ever "hated" on you?
We could care less about your psychotic dilusions and your stone age fairy tale.
What we care about is you pushing your myth on us in our courts, schools, laws and bedrooms.
Go howl at the moon all you want, but stop trying to drag us out there with you.
Mennonites do not push beliefs on anyone.
which of the 3 above posts are you clamoring with? Mine? Or one of the otherly 2?
i find some of the faithful amusing, mennoknight.....is that so wrong?
Who is calling anyone names, Mr. Poopy Pants?
Honestly, you people take even the slightest criticism of your religion as "hate".
For all those who don't know what "hate" is how about:
– "to hate those who believe in invisible sky gods is tantamount to making fun of retarded people"
– "When really will the dumb and dumber wake up and realize they are some of the dumbest mobs in all christiandumb"
– or my favorite "Mr Poopy Pants" Oh wait that one was funny.
My point is that if you name call you cannot engage in dialog, and you appear immature and foolish.
This goes for either side.
How about learn to express your opinion without calling people names (poopy pants is OK though)
Hey Christians, I hear ya. We members of the Flat Earth Society get laughed at and ridiculed all the time too by all those smarty pants know it all types. Those "rational" science lovers with their demand of evidence, etc. Just ignore them. They'll find out one day that we're right when they are out for a walk one day and fall off the edge of the Earth. Then we'll see who's laughing.
Prayer changes things
actions cause change; prayers waste valuable time.
I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:
I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
"Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
"Salvatore" degenerates to:
"Douglas" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degenerates to:
"Thinker23" degenerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"tina" degenerates to:
"captain america" degenerates to:
"Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
"Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
"Kindness" degenerates to:
"Chad" degenerates to
"Bob" degenerates to
"nope" degenerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degenerates to:
"fred" degenerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" is the degenerate.
This troll is not a christian.
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.
you know i cant say i never lie because chances are i do,.. some one who says they never lie are most likely lying
its the a lairs paradox
"this sentence is false"
its childish and illogical
thus by saying everything in the bible is true, makes the bible a lie, if everything in the bible is not true then this statement is a lie, and the entire bible with it.
so let us find one lie in the bible,..
Jesus was a human a not the son of a god; even if he was a the son of god; that makes him a nephilim and those not a pure sacrifice. but never mind that the lie is simply found
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. (Matthew 18:19-20 NAS)
Obama won, end of story
in short i would not trust an infallible Deity, because nothing is infallible not even the gods
and infallible Deity is a liar
How do you figure that is a lie or contradiction?
Gaining respect for Franklin! He's becoming a solid voice for the truth...I like his take on things
What a loser, that FG. I'm sure they don't feel to happy now having sold their "souls" to another cult all for naught.
Well in the liberal atheist world...truth is irrelevant and means nothing.
Ye and now the downward spiral :(
the truth is not a contradiction
so Christianity is not truth
Ye "Christianity" might contradict itself, but God does not.
Seeking truth is what led me away from christianity since it is all basless assertions with no verifiable fact.
God is a rap.ist
F.G. is his father's creative evolution of a self-similar cosmological paradigm masquerading between book authoring and Rock of Ages semantic profiteering. It is somewhat disgusting to see a religious pharisee's son living in the highest of life treasured in tommy hilfinger suits and living in mansions fit for a king while all te most poor do barely have a pot to pee in! God damn them all for Christ's forsakedness! Damn them all the whole lot of money grubbers and lavishness seekers! Your father was a taker and did not give his all to the most poor! Will you F.G. follow in your 'pharasitic' father's footprints upon keeping your treasured walth far from the hands of the most poorest of folks?
Dammit! Forgot to proofread! Sumna Beetch!
F.G. is his father's creative evolution of a self-similar cosmological paradigm masquerading between book authoring and Rock of Ages semantic profiteering. It is somewhat disgusting to see a modern day religious pharisee's son living in the highest of life treasured in tommy hilfinger suits and living in mansions fit for a king while all the most poor do barely have a pot to pee in! God damn them all for Christ's forsakedness! Damn them all the whole lot of money grubbers and lavishness seekers! Your father was a taker and did not give his all to the most poor! Will you F.G. follow in your 'pharasitic' father's footprints upon keeping your treasured wealth far from the hands of the most poorest of folks?
It's ok lionlylamb, no one is going to read your babbling anyway. ;)
You actually proof-read your posts and still think they are coherent?
I'm not a GOPer,
I take it you need not worry about low hung brancjes? With a mind such as you supposedly claim, there's plenty of room to spare when going under,,,, :-)
branches brancjes whatever
Graham and his father should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2+ million/yr.
And they have the audacity to call themselves Christians !!!!!
Wonder when this idiot Franklin will revert the stance on mormons.. lol
As soon as the mormons kick down some $$$.
They act like its some kind of honor to have this clown "stop by" their desk.
He is just there to promote his families bidness of fleecing their flock out of the little money they earn each month.
There is nothing different between the various religions and regular corporations.
The cross/star of david/half moon are just as much a corporate logo as the Nike swoosh.
We should be able to buy stock in them too.
Re: buying stock, isn't that what the believers think they are doing now? Saying the right things and depositing a little money now for payback in the "afterlife"? Maybe the SEC should investigate all religious cults (and that would include all religions) for truth in advertising and audit their cash flows.
oh I thought he visited CNN to declare Mormon cults!
Reblogged this on ISM Group, Inc..
THE Franklin Graham? The world's greatest ventriloquist?
What a lying hypocrite Franklin Graham is.
At the end of this bit Eric Marrapodi sounded like he would rather be anywhere than talking to Franklin Graham. I was imagining a little thought balloon above Eric's head with the words: "What a waste of time this was."
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.