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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. Paul Williamson

    Its too bad Franklin Graham's prejudice against a black man causes them to endorse a bishop of a non-Christian cult. He can explain this to St. Peter.(or maybe he thinks it is Joseph Smith and Brigham Young guarding the gates of Heaven). Shame, shame on Franklin Graham, he is not the man his father is.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Patines

      He's not the man, neither is his father, you don't expect corruption at this level and it's so sad to see men getting down their needs for political favouritism. I respected Bill Graham for decades and never realized what kind a worn he is and his sn is looking even worse.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  2. W.G.

    It´s sad to see Billy Graham in his last days endorse a mormon Blasphemer like romney . His son is right
    about one thing and that we should pray for our president . Mr. Obama says he´s a Christian , while he
    may not be the best christian in the world I take him at his word and pray that GOD guides him . Mr. Graham
    you should look at the fruit of the tree before you endorse somebody next time . Mr. Obama is fighting for the
    Poor the Old and the Sick . Mr. Romney called these very people the 47% a bunch of Leeches and fought for
    the rich . Mr. Graham (in all honesty I can´t call you reverend anymore ) I will not be supporting your causes
    anymore . I will look for other ways to help the poor the sick the needy . To me your like the other "T.V. Pulpit Pimps"
    that come on T.V. and are just a bunch of Pharasees . Just whitewashed tombstones .

    November 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  3. McShannon

    Let's all pray for Franklin Graham that he might really know what the bible says when interpreted to include all races, cultures and Democrats.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  4. Agnim

    "Pray for Barack Obama"; so that, as Rick Ridiculous Perry would say, "god can pierce his heart." lol
    These brainwashed & lost souls with their mind-weakening & mind-wasting religious rubbish, can be so transparent in their pretentiousness. They are good for a laugh. Ha ha!

    November 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Al

      Don't under estimate Perry's prayer power. He can make it rain.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  5. Evangel

    I'm an Evangelical and I lost all respect for Rev Graham. The Evangelical Church has taught me that the Mormans were a cult. Romney was a Bishop in the Morman church making him one of the leaders of the cult. (They believe that Jesus was not the son of God and there are multiple gods because we will all become Gods) Rev Graham threw away his Christian beliefs for a political agenda. I believe all Evangilicals that turned away from their beliefs and voted for a cult leader will pay in the after life for giving their approval to a cult.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Brandt Ziegler

      Hey bro, also an Evangelical here. I find myself only partially agreeing with you. Yes, the Mormon church is heretical in their teaching. Because of this, sadly, many if not most Mormons do not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, the end question, theologically in the afterlife is "Did you receive life-altering, redeeming grace through Jesus Chrst? It is not "Which candidate in the early 21st century did you vote for?". Of course our voting can and should be influenced by what the public policy of the candidate is. If I may be so bold, did you not vote for Mitt Romney based on your perception of what his public policy was, or what faith he held? These are tough questions, but not questions God condemns us for evaluating. I am Canadian and from an outsiders view, religion and politics often have a very tight link in the U.S. Our faith should influence our decision on who to vote for, but this means trying to figure out how our vote would advance the kingdom of God as far as justice, etc. If it's any comfort, I would have voted for Ron Paul.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  6. Kev

    I believe that whatever your religious or political affiliation is, or even if you don't have any religious or political affiliation, whether you even pray or don't pray, the idea of wanting our elected leaders to succeed for our well being as a country should be embraced because their success effects our success.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Sandra

      I agree, and I am seeing more of thoughts like yours. I find hope in this idea.

      Right here, right now, the majority of Americans voted for Barack Obama, and we should hope and/or pray that he succeeds, so that OUR country can be successful.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  7. amlcpamaine

    It's sad to see CNN give this charlatan more coverage. They foster his hatred and his exploitation of the weak by giving him the attention he wants, while solid, real-Christian benefactors have to fight for attention.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  8. Priest

    Who are the REAL haters here? It is plain to see. May God forgive you, for you know what you do.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  9. marygrace

    If God is in control, let us accept his decision for the election, come together and offer support. I heard from a preacher long ago, God always answers prayers and sometimes he says "No" I beleive God said NO to the hate, greediness and prejudices I am seen not only from different politicians, but so many Americans, including some of my friends. Imagine how great we could be if we come together, work together for acceptance to all.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Ting

      "God always answers prayers and sometimes he says "No""

      That's how you keep fooling yourself. You can rationalize sunup to sundown, but it's not going to make something that doesn't exist magically appear.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  10. John Diomitron

    To TheVocalAtheist who stated "Keep your God and your religion out of our public lives, go away and we will be a greater country for it."

    1+1-God=Nothing! 1000+1000-God=Nothing! 1,000,000+1,000,000-God=Nothing! A nation, no matter its standing in the world, is NOTHING if it denies the Almighty!

    Mr. Graham is correct when he said that God has blessed the United States of America, but we’ve turned our back on God as a nation. What Mr. Graham and others of faith can not discern or accept that America IS in the Bible! God's judgment on her is spoken of in Jeremiah 50-51 and Revelation 17-18. But many, including those of faith, will deny that America is that great Babylon. The Lord Jesus knew their reaction beforehand and had a reply for them thousands of years ago. Revelation 18:7 – "Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ "

    Did He not even punish Israel/Judah for doing the same? Yes He did! Why would His justice change? He is holy, righteous, and just...AND HE DOES NOT CHANGE!

    America is indeed filled with the spirit of Babylon, and she sits as no queen before the Most High.

    His Word does not return void. This is an irrevocable and irreversible judgment. It shall come to pass no matter how much Mr. Graham and others pray. They need to read Jeremiah when the LORD told him not to pray for the people nor would He listen to the prayers of the people. His judgment was final then as it is now! It is done!

    REPENT!

    November 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • InformedAthiest

      You are an idiot.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • *

      *Atheist (not athiest)

      November 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Dave

      How ironic that everyone says China is overtaking America then, especially conservatives. They are a much more Godless country by Christian standards and yet...

      November 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  11. Robert

    I thank God daily that Obama is our President.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  12. Robert

    I thank God daily thank Obama is our President.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  13. GLP

    Maybe he should pray to his god for understanding about his own hate and bigot ideas. He is nothing like his father. Just another Little Angry White Man .

    November 22, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  14. Terry

    I pray for Obama every day but he is still here. Ha Ha just kidding. Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  15. Randy

    It's funny how christians endorsed a mormon??? LOL

    November 22, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  16. Jo

    I pray for Graham and his 'ignorant followers'!!! Get them some current SCIENCE books!!!!! Teach them about compassion and Global Warming!!!!!

    November 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • right4life

      I've got your global warming update right here:

      2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat

      November 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • I wonder

      right4life,

      In ancient times, when those stories were written/dreamed up, the worst and most destructive thing that they knew about was fire. We know about a lot more of them now - acids, gases, chemicals, germs, etc. That you are stuck on these primitive fantasies is quite ridiculous.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  17. Texas GOP

    Texas GOP

    This was an anti-religion article against Franklin Graham who used his endorsement of Romney to generate donations to his Church. I guess he has a church, may be he operates out of his home. In any case we real GOP members hope and pray Obama runs the Country off the financial cliff then all you ignorant Americans will be crawling back to George W, Rick Perry, Palin, Newt and even old John McCain so save your bacon. We want you to beg us for help. Rev. Franklin Graham has always supported the Right Wing. Who do you think paid for all those full page ads and contribute all that money to his "Charity"? But I will admit Romney was a Mormon Loser. So get smart like me an vote straight Tea Party no matter how sorry the Candidate is. I mean even idiots Senate Candidates like Akin and Mourdock need to be elected to get these liberal/moderate women straightened out.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Nick L

      This has to be sarcasm, right? Right? No one can actually be this, um... confused, can they?

      November 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • lolol

      the reps and dems are two faces of the same party.
      wake the f up.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Glenn

      1st: There is only one Church; no man is the head of it. Not Graham and not the Pope.
      2nd: You say that you and other "real GOP members hope and pray Obama runs the Country off the financial cliff..."
      What an idiotic, hater of the USA remark to make. You should be hoping and praying for the very opposite. You apparently love your Tea more than you do your own country. Maybe you should take your leave now.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Tom Howard

      Your Texas lack of information is showing. Are you really that information-deprived?

      November 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  18. Charlie 828

    I love when christians and other relions claim the United States was specially blessed by god. Can someone please tell me when that actually happened? Was it when we were bringing boatloads of Africans here as slaves. Murdering , raping and torturing them along the way. Maybe it was when we were committing genocide againest the native population, using the same tactics stated above. During Jim Crow, suppression of women etc, just when did so called god bless us. Remember he also murdered the first born
    Egyptians in his so called loving way.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Gerry Evans

      OMG... Charlie 828... you are sooooo right. When will people realize what a big fairy tale all this religious crap is and understand it has ONLY ONE PURPOSE.... Separate the stupids from their money... Convince the stupids they can buy their way into "heaven" or GOD IS GONNA GET UM BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY FOR THEIR SINFUL WAYS..

      November 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  19. dsangiovanni

    Hipocrisy, we all know the campaign against Obama that people like you did all around this country. These people like wining both sides of the coin.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  20. JGC

    This is the oldest trick in the bible...when your position is shown to be flawed or otherwise losses some control, you regain that loss by telling your followers that loss was "meant" to happen...by telling his followers to pray for Obama, Graham can now claim that it was prayer and prayer alone that caused any success to happen and not Obama...every cult in the world uses this trick to reinforce control over the minds of it's followers when their ideology is proved lacking...the only real story here is that people still fall for this painfully obvious attempt to deceive them.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • right4life

      “The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1

      November 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • I wonder

      right4life,

      You just contradicted that ol' "free will" thingy.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:04 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.