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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 • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (1,158 Responses)
  1. Penny Wright

    Franklin Graham will burn in hell.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Gerry Evans

      Well Penny, he won't be the only one. There are so many of these holier then thou shysters, past and present, that are gonna burn somewhere. If people would stop and wake up to what religion (and it's shysters) are all about (GIVE MORE MONEY) even if your poor as a church mouse, GIVE ME WHAT YOU HAVE AND GOD WILL SAVE YOU, cause my all seeing god, who is kind and forgiving and unselfish, and cares for you and wants you to be happy, will take care of you IF YOU WILL ONLY GIVE ME MONEY... Take the MONEY OUT OF THE CHURCH AND SEE HOW MANY OF THESE PREACHERS HANG AROUND... JUST LIKE POLITICIANS. PAY THEM AND THEY'LL TELL YOU ....... ANYTHING YOU WANT TO HEAR.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  2. dan

    franklin graham is a stain on Christianity. Jesus did not endorse graham in his partisan rantings and i doubt very seriously Jesus endorses samaritan purse because graham used it for supporting sarah palin in her failed attempt in 08 to bamboozle the American people.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @dan

      Thanks, Dan... good to know who Jesus endorses and who he doesn't and why.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Xstianity is a stain on the USA it keeps our test scores low in comparison to other countries. Xstianity is the OPPOSITE of patriotism. If he lived at all, Jesus was stupid and is now irrelevant. Xstianity is on it's way out, and it's about time for science and reason to rule, not religious mental illness

      November 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  3. rexdogcanadien

    All religion are cults. Religion and god are not synonymous. Religion is a business (churches,mosques, etc are businesses ;Free enterprise) it has no relationship with deities. Gods do not need money. Gods are all loving. Gods are peaceful. Gods have integrity(truthfulness), spirituality and compassion.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. Larry McDonald

    Pray for Jackson Graham

    November 22, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Pray for the continued disintegration of the GOP. Pray for the continued downfall of these religious nuts. Pray for an end to organized religion

      November 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  5. JiminDayton

    We need to pray for the end of the gay marriage scourge

    November 22, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      Amen, JiminDayton... hurricanes, economic decline, black presidents... what's next ? These same-s exers are hurting our country Jim. 8O

      We shall pray.

      Amen.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Straight male here telling you to go shove a Chick fil A right up your............

      November 22, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  6. god_is_irrelevant

    enough said

    November 22, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  7. Jimmy Moore

    Sorry Frankie, the Graham family no longer has any credibility in the REAL Christian world. That meeting with Mitt Romney and then the Mormon cult being removed from the cult list on your website. Really, how absurd, ignorant and dangerous.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  8. August

    I prayed to an ashtray that Romney would lose.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Dumbpolitics

      Thanks, to the ashtray.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • stoneyage

      And I prayed to Joe Pesci for Romney to lose, and look what happened– he lost!

      December 2, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  9. Dillion

    These religious zealots.......they get stranger with each passing day. Are people really that ignorant to give money to this leach, or are people that desperate for hope??

    November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  10. James

    President Obama does not need praying for. He is already doing God's work and is somebody to emulate in his personal and public life. In any case praying does not work, as I am sure everybody who has tried it will attest and none more than Graham and his followers who all prayed for President Obama's defeat.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • dtboy

      Sorry James, but Barack, nor any other elected official, can't be doing God's working within man's government, because man's governing authority only operates out of force, which is opposite of God's freedom. No where does God command us to fulfill His will out of force. In other words, government is NOT God.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @dtboy

      Good to hear a bit more about serparation of government and religion.

      Peace...

      November 22, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  11. Dave

    It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. – Jesus Christ

    November 22, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  12. Loki

    Should pray he gets to keep his tax exempt status

    November 22, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • stoneyage

      Preach it Loki! Love you!

      December 2, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  13. dtboy

    No where in the bible does it say to pray for our leaders in government. Every reference of man's government identifies it as authority, not leadership. The terms are not mutually inclusive. The tax man has authority, but s/he is not leadership. If you pray for Barack, it should be that he doesn't use his authority in government against its citizens.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • counter

      Sorry, wrong

      1 Timothy 2:1-2
      I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • dtboy

      Again, it says "authority" NOT leadership! God authority is leadership, not man.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  14. Eugene

    It would be well if Mr. Graham just shut up and went away.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Julie

      AMEN!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  15. Perrochato

    The Grahams are charlatans and hypocrits pure and simple. They only have the gift of gab and sell false hope in a can with a face of Jesus on the label or eternal damnation with the face of Satan. The expiration dates are long past and what they sell has been stale for millenia. Nothing like the vapour of hope and fear to generate money, that's really the oldest profession. As far as their politcs, well it goes hand in hand with the two oldest professions. Wear a body condom if you are going to get near them.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  16. Sally Bethune

    Really, pray for Obama. Franklin, pray for yourself! Franklin Graham is a genuine fraud. I don't blame Billy, he probably is not as clear thinking as he was when he called thousands to Christ. I am from North Carolina and remember sitting with my parents watching Billy Graham's crusades on TV. He inspired and challenged and I was better for having sat and listened in so many ways. Franklin, on the other hand, strongly supported Romney (clearly not a sermon on the mount kinda guy, reportedly gave money to support Romney, taking money from his donation coffers and then quickly takes the part about Mormons being a cult off the Graham website. I do not respect him and if he is going to insert his narrow minded, yet apparently flexible religions/political beliefs on to others, his foundation must pay taxes!

    November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  17. Tom

    Why don't Christo-crackpots just "shut the front door!"

    November 22, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  18. joe

    peopel should pray for mr grahmn . that his bigotry and nastyness will be taken away. His daddy stayed out of politics to bad he didn't fowwol his example.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  19. holly

    i have a question about Mormon beliefs – (not being Mormon I am curious) – do Mormons teach that God has always been God, or that God "became" God – I only have a Christian Bible and do not own the Book of Mormon

    if Mormons teach that God somehow "became" God, or that I will be my own God one day – then that contradicts the information in my Christian Bible

    my God WAS, is, and is to come – I serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

    if Mormons do indeed teach that God "became" God, then they do not serve my God

    Romney does not serve my God if he believes that God "became" God

    can anyone offer any advice on this!

    November 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      It's all conspiracy theory. There was no God, there is no God and there will never be a God. Get over it.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • holly

      this question goes out to thousands on CNN and only one person has answered it so far! So far not only one person (an atheist) has challenged it!) i respect opinions - why did our religious leaders endorse a God (the Mormon one) who "became god"? why? Why did our religious leaders tell us to vote for a man who "became" God -why did our religious leaders bow their knees to a Mormon!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  20. James

    When will people accept that praying does not work? God does not micro-manage our lives.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • dtboy

      You're talking about a theist prayer, that God intervenes. However, even if you don't believe that God intervenes, there is still power in prayer as it strengthens the mind and spirt, almost like meditation.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:50 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.