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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. Hillcrester

    Graham is another loon heard from.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  2. BriteBlonde1

    Shame on you for even having Franklin and his "thoughts". He's a disgrace and a loud mouth who only wants attention so he can make more money. Come on...with all the fine men who are in the religion field, you can do MUCH MUCH better than this guy.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  3. CaringFool

    Evangelical TV ministers are the most hateful purveyors of untruth we have seen in years. Too bad they don't pay their fair share of income tax.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • right4life

      Ps 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

      Mr. Graham will give an account for his life just like we all will in due time.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Gary

      That's a clever little piece of propaganda you're quoting there right4life.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  4. kd

    why people listen to a word this charlatan says is beyond me.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  5. Alexander Hamilton

    Mr. Graham's behavior during this election cycle is a part of a larger loss of moral authority by church leaders. The clergyman's job is not and should not be partisanship. When we can longer distinguish between preachers and politicians, the church then becomes an extension of a political party, a super pac with religious overtones. This is not what Jesus came to do. This is religious extremism at its best, politicians cloaked in religious garb.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  6. Gary

    Why would anyone need to pray that "God would accomplish His will and purposes"? If there is an all-powerful god wouldn't that just be a given?

    November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  7. Martin

    If his prayers worked, wouldn't Romney be president-elect now?

    November 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Mort Sahl

      no

      November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Gary

      Incisive reply Mort Sahl.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Martin

      ' If his prayers worked, wouldn't Romney be president-elect now? "

      Apparently it wasn't God's will that Romney be elected. Or... more/stronger prayers from the left swayed the Big Guy.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Gary

      Or there's not a Big Guy to pray to that performs magic.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Gary

      LOL ! :D What... your *Sarcasm* detector not working today ?

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Gary

      Apparently I need another cup of coffee.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  8. fsmgroupie

    dolt

    November 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  9. Raymi Athis

    Franklin Graham is more involved in making money than preaching the gospel. He believes that Obama is not a christian and so is he. Being the son of a prominent preacher does not make you a christian. Salvation is individual not a collective action. Everyone will answre to God individually.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. PhilG.

    Look,let's cut the crxp and get the tax issue to refund the government as well as the revamping of some government programs done NOW.

    Praying won't do that-men and women working together in the government will.

    Let's be adults and stop the four year long drag in getting this issue resolved.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  11. Dr. J

    What a hypocrite endorsing Romney who wants to help only the rich million-billionaires. Start praying for yourself so you will
    be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and put common sense in your brain,
    . If you are truly a Christian, start practicing the Church teachings and stop collecting money for your supposed
    congregation.
    By the way Pres. Obama doesn't need your prayers, we the Americans are praying for him everyday!

    teachings

    November 22, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • OR

      It might be noted that Franklin is also an American.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  12. David Lavallee

    You people hold Christian leaders to such high standards. I know this because you're bitterly disgusted by their shortcomings.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  13. Richard

    Just to keep Islam in perspective. From the BBC today.
    A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least 23 people at a Shia Muslim procession in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, police say.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Richard

      Yes... way to go. First, a total non-sequitur concerning the article. Then, make a comparison of a group of terroristis/extremeists in basically 3rd world countries.

      Yep... way to go.

      Good grief.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  14. Lsteel

    We should pray for Franklin Graham also. He and his father have lost a lot of respect over their convenient change of heart over Mormonism, their inability to plainly say "vote for Romney" when that was their obvious meaning, and their hateful remarks about Obama.

    Franklin and other conservative Christians have been bemoaning the imminent collapse of America from liberalism for awhile now. Somehow God is able to keep the system going. Perhaps it is God who keeps the world turning, and not our self-righteousness.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Jim in Georgia

      Would Jesus have voted for Mitt? Would he have supported a "Rich Man" over a champion of the poor and downtrodden? Would he have identified with the liberals or the conservatives? Would he have 3 or 4 handguns, and assault rifles? Who is fooling who?

      November 22, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • holdnon

      Lsteel hit the nail on the head. Very good observation.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  15. James R Ruston

    I have never understood people praying for God's will to be done. Isn't He all powerful? Isn't everything that is happening His will by definition? What these people really want is for God to do their will. Phony hypocrites all.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • nope

      @jam...
      nope

      November 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • counter

      Try reading the scriptures. Jesus commanded we do that. It's just as much for us so we realize the sovereignty of God and at the same time how our choices in life help us or hurt us. You obviously don't understand God one iota.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • gee

      Not his kind of prayer of hate.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • texcal68

      If prayers change things, why does God hate amputees? Not a single amputee ever had his or her missing limb replaced by prayer. Prayers only help psychologically. Praying to an invisible friend in the sky is a waste of time.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Rather than stopping by the Belief Blog to promote himself, I would like to see Graham go to work in a soup kitchen or give blood, anonymously, instead of publicly yapping about it.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • OR

      Why doesn't he organize a program to see that millions of children across the world receive a Christmas blessing?

      November 22, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  18. holly

    Please open your Bible to the book of 1 Nephi 14:9. Wait, I can't find that in my Bible...

    November 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  19. Kassey

    Ministers of the Gospel, i.e. need to go beyond hatred, (these people hate the President with passion), even if the president is a sinner, still he is the leader of the nation. They should know better than that. It is the pastors and church leaders who have made Obama to be who he is, they push him away. I respect what Rev. Graham has shown, let everyone follow. The Bible commanded people to pray for their leaders not to stand against them all the time. It is laughable what these ministers believe about the president.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  20. RKC_atx

    Where is a drone when you need one? Am I right, or am I right? ;-)

    November 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
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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.