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Franklin Graham’s Thanksgiving message: Pray for Obama
November 21st, 2012
12:11 PM ET

Franklin Graham’s Thanksgiving message: Pray for Obama

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – With the world facing “perilous times” and “anxiety stemming from economic challenges,” evangelical leader Franklin Graham is asking congregations to pray for President Barack Obama, even though Graham endorsed the president’s opponent in the 2012 election.

“Having just come through a divisive national election, I am urging pastors across this country to lead their congregations in praying daily for our president, Barack Obama …  for wisdom, Divine guidance, and that God would accomplish His will and purposes,” Graham said in a statement. “While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan. Americans need to come together, and people of faith should lead the way, by praying diligently for our leaders whether or not they agree with them or their policies.”

Graham the president and CEO of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is the son of Billy Graham, the famed evangelist with many political ties. The elder Graham has met and prayed with every president since Harry Truman.

Though Franklin Graham decries political partisanship in his statement, he endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

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After meeting with Romney at the elder Graham’s home in Montreat, North Carolina, Franklin Graham gave a full-throated endorsement of Romney in a USA Today opinion piece.  Billy Graham appeared in full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers, calling on voters to cast a ballot for their faith.

"As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last,” reads the ad, which features Graham prominently. "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."

Many saw the ad as an endorsement of Romney due to its timing, but Franklin Graham insists the ad was not a formal endorsement of Romney, rather an endorsement of biblical values.

During an editorial meeting last week with CNN, Franklin Graham made the case that America was at a crossroads, especially economically. In the meeting, Graham said he 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.

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Graham’s view is connected to his 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.”

Graham made the same sort of economic message in his call to prayer.

“When we look at the moral and economic decline of our nation and the international threats before us, it should be clear that we cannot solve these monumental problems without the help of Almighty God,” he said. “Our future may very well depend on our prayers.”

– CNN’s Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Evangelical • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (1,158 Responses)
  1. Science

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    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

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    Peace

    May 4, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  2. Aldewacs

    "Franklin Graham’s Thanksgiving message: Pray for Obama."
    ========

    That's a low-risk proposition: since prayer as never ever ever ever made one iota of difference, they can pray for whoever or whatever. The outcome is that the Grahams look 'magnanimous', but nothing is accomplished.

    January 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  3. Kate

    Graham(s) both need to go back to Seminary. They have been snookered, big time, by the Republican Political Machine,
    in order to win votes.

    December 24, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  4. McShannon

    God hasn't turned his back on our nation Franklin its people like you turned around showing their backsides thinking it's so

    December 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • tuffi

      I second that, nothing but a hypocrite, praying all the way to the bank!

      December 23, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  5. blackjesuscom

    What a hypocrite. During the campaign he said
    he doubted that President Obama was a Christian
    but now says he wants to pray for him.
    Click here to see http://bit.ly/yaUPTf

    December 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  6. The Woof

    I will pray for the President. I will pray that the Father will give him the wisdom he needs to lead, the strenght to make a decision despite the fear of losing popularity , to make decisions that are just and fair in God's sight. As for the Grahams and all the other so called mega-pastors that involve themselves in political matters, I suggest that they follow the example of the Carpenter. Because they should know and believe where this system is headed for and not just for America but for the world.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  7. McShannon

    Some of us could have interpreted Franklin Graham's accusing President Obama of being a Muslim by his not denying that lie while others in his presence promoted it as a political move. A Christian characteristic I guess of Franklin?

    December 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  8. stoneyage

    Here's one I forgot to ask: Will Mormonism eventually go back to being a cult, do you think?

    December 20, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  9. stoneyage

    The Romney fasting and prayer didn't work, huh? I guess Obama is God's choice!

    December 20, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  10. McShannon

    I would expect if you followed the contributions that the Billy Graham organization receives that many of them were and are Democrats. Using donated tax free income to support a political candidate or help pass Amendment one in NC isn’t where one would expect their donations to be utilized. Franklin by your own admittance you said that you never have and from that we would surmise never would vote for a Democrat. That makes your involvement politically motivated.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Nancy Baird

      Franklin Graham no doubt received a contribution from Mitt Romney for his support. That's the business he is in.....collecting contributions. Mormonism was a cult until money entered the picture. Marriage to Mormons is not ONE man and ONE woman – it's one man & several women! And God? Their god is Adam! Read up on it folks! Franklin Graham should have stayed out of this election!

      December 21, 2012 at 10:25 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.