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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. t sonofkig

    People, you can be a good person all your life, and die, and still go to hell...Excepting Jesus Christ as your LORD and SAVIOR, and Obeying Him is what gets you into to Heaven..GOD created us all, and He sets the rules, and those are His rules, with no exceptions..You choose Heaven or Hell! And in this life, if you choose to disobey Him, and not follow His Words the Bible, punishments (curses) will soon follow..Remember this, it is your choice, you choose....

    November 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • believe it or not

      Using the fear of hell to get someone to love god is like a tactic dictators use: convert and live or else you will die by the sword. Your gawwwwwd is a socilpath and your cult-leaders (the Grahams, 'Reverend' Foul-well, and nearly ALL televangelists) have created a hate-filled dogma that can only be foisted on people by using cult tactics. Keep making them rich if you like, but don't confuse what they teach with what god actually wants you to believe.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • do you know him

      RE: "Excepting Jesus Christ as your LORD and SAVIOR"
      Well, maybe you meant 'ACCEPTING'... but then again, maybe god is at work here, because excepting means EXCLUDING... and the worst of the cult of Graham (Westboro zealots) certainly have excluded gods love from their lives. Interesting indeed. God can certainly use people who do not know him. God is love... not fear and hate. Find another church...

      November 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • dsk

      @t sonofkig

      ...of course you know, since your such an expert on 'god' and bibley stuff...that several key figures in those very pages did not agree with you.

      November 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • andtheslitheytoves

      You mean 'accepting' Jesus Christ, 'excepting' means 'leaving out'.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      The word is "accepting", not "excepting". get off your knees and go back to school

      November 26, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • sam stone

      also, t, your god is a petty, vindictive pr!ck.....and i suspect that you find comfort in that because that describes you too.

      November 26, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  2. Oh

    "prayer must never be partisan", but wait..."Graham endorsed the president’s opponent in the 2012 election"...??

    But no limits on what is preached from the pulpit?? Doesn't he feel an ounce of hypocrisy?

    Encouraging that today's youth see through this malarkey and can think for themselves with no need for brainwashing.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  3. t sonofkig

    People, just obey GOD..

    November 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Ed

      Nah. If your god is the christian one, he's just too mean in his punishments. And he doesn't exist. Give god the boot and just live a full life treating other people well. Life is short and that is the best way to live it.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      which one?

      November 26, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  4. DConley

    Go ahead and waste your time praying....what a stupid thing to do.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • t sonofkig

      GOD will make you regret your remark..

      November 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Oh

      so you're saying god is vengeful and petty?

      November 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Elmer

      @Oh,

      Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

      November 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Sarah

      @Elmer – "16. The Lord Jesus asked of His followers what it means to 'shout'. When they demonstrated to Him in loud, vulgar noises, He became dismayed. 17. 'Aye, a shout doth call for volume. Behold! I educate thee now, that the holy meaning of a shout is to feel Mine presence in thine soul, that maketh thee cry out in awe.' 18. One of His followers, Lugubrious of the village of Shlemiel, did become very confused. For all that Lugubrious could feel was indigestion from some bad gefilte fish earlier. Was this feeling really the presence of the Lord within him? Verily! He doth work in mysterious ways!" -Thesauronians 1:16-18

      November 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      t sonofkig: Your god is an impotent punk

      November 26, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  5. .

    Heck with Obama. Pray for US.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Colorado

      He's trying to be gracious, but you're right. With Obama as POTUS and the pack of corruptocrats we have running the country now, it is US who need prayer.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  6. bongobottom

    He needs to pray for his senile father, the president is just fine without assistance from these nuts.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • .

      Where are the jobs?

      November 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Oh

      the jobs were sidelined while the GOP tried to make Obama a one term president. The GOP has become the worst enemy of the USA.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • tucker

      Please jesus protect us from your followers...

      November 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  8. rose mary

    Since the reelection of President Obama must be God's will, does that mean Franklin Graham (and his ministry) is being punished for Graham turning his back on biblical values and becoming too involved in secular activities? With two elections of President Obama, is God sending the message that he is slowly withdrawing his hand of blessing from Franklin Graham? Perhaps Mr. Graham should hope that President Obama is praying for him.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • truth be told

      Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  9. moops

    RE: "Marriage is and always has been a religious rite. ..."
    A justice of the peace and the captain of a marine vessel can perform marriage ceremonies. Your statement is the kind of half-true BS that Foul-well like to spout (such as: our money says in god we trust... that proves we are a Christian nation... which is utter nonsense and a blatant lie because HIS cult lobbied to get 'in gawwwd we trust' put on the money in the first place.... but at least our gubmint used the correct spelling of god. I'll hand them that much. ) The phrase on our money only underscores how far religious zealots will go to get their way. If someone tried to have the phrase removed now, the'd inflame the lynch mobs to intervene. Think I'm kidding? Folks, our Deist founders did not intend for cults to tell us what to believe and how to act.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  10. crockpot12000

    I think Franklin has aspirations and he mistakenly thoought the 'fix was in' right along with Rove and his puppet Romney....SURPRISE!!!!

    November 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Ted Weller

    Pray that Franklin Graham goes away.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  12. J

    More importantly, I'm sure Obama is praying for Franklin Graham.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • .

      Sure. It goes something like alahu akbar Franklin - or something like that.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Shannon Underwood

    Political advocy should remove the tax free status from all Billy and Franklin Graham organizations, and in fact all pulpits that preached who to vote for.
    Take away the tax free status and lets see how much they will do, without the millions.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Taxation means representation! So if you are ok with churches running candidates and getting their people elected, then I'm with you. Let's shake off the shackles and become full participants in our American democratic republic!

      November 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Gen. Washingtin

    Let us keep god out of this... He's got too many natural disasters to handle right now, to be blamed for the "man-made" ones! I pray for all politicians at once anyways... ;D

    November 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  15. David

    As a nation and on Thankgiving Day; we need to pray for our country, the United States of America. Yes we are the lited house on the hill, and all creeds and nationalities live here. Our country is blessed and is being tested, hopefully we will not be pulled apart. God Bless the US.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  16. pants on fire

    RE: "Billy Graham has helped countless people in this country and throught the world. What have you done?"
    At what price? That is what people are all discussing here and what you are deliberately ignoring in Graham-fashion. You cannot justify a greed by saying some good came out of it. You cannot justify a cult that spews hate (Westboro... anyone disagree?) by saying they do some good. Well... you CAN, but not without being deceitful. Liar.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  17. Mike

    Tax them, they are a political activity.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  18. davecu

    PLEASE pray for him AND for us.

    Should misfortune befall him, consider the chain of command!

    November 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  19. Fred

    Why pray now when you could've just voted for the better candidate? Seems counter-productive.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Sarah

      Roseanne Barr? No, it was God's will that Obama be re-elected.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  20. Sarah

    Why should we work hard? Why should we study in school? Doesn't it seem obvious that we only need to pray for everything we need and want in life? God answers prayer. But, when someone dies, or is injured, we say it was God's will. If God is going to do his will anyway, prayer or not, why pray? No wonder man drinks!

    November 22, 2012 at 3:05 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.