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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. steve

    Pray that Franklin Graham finds Jesus.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Lenny Bruce

      The only Jesus he will ever find is his gardener.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  2. YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH

    lionlylamb your a real piece of work that wont be missed

    November 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • YOU CANT HANDLE MY BANANA

      It's "can't," not "cant."

      It's "you're," not "your."

      It's "won't," not "wont."

      November 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Hello

      religions change what would be normal human beings into brainwashed sheep.
      Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill... the best book on the bible ever written.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Noodreamer

      Hello is a poster child for everything wrong in this country. The USA is doomed because we no longer believe in anything.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  4. jeffision

    Franklin's quarterly profits must have taken a dip after the election. Damage control is the new mission.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  5. trex

    ....The BIBLE has warned each of us about these FALSE PROPHETS, and those that pretend that religion is a political issue. ALWAYS remember what Christ said when asked about the duty of Christians to ANY government......."Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's. Give unto the LORD, what is he LORD's." Look far far righties..............GOD is NOT POLITICAL.

    November 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • chex

      Almost there trexxie dear. There's no god. That's the truth.

      Chex. Mate.

      November 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • jeffision

      Trixie, dear...there is no God. God is just a story.

      November 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • krhodes

      chex

      "Almost there trexxie dear. There's no god. That's the truth.

      Chex. Mate."

      Prove it...chex.mate.

      November 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @khrodes

      Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, at least practically. There's as much evidence for god as for unicorns, and we comfortably state that unicorns don't exist, though they might somewhere or somewhen.

      November 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Hello

      the Roman created Christian myth was created to be a political tool...
      Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill for the details...
      its is also a joke book....

      November 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • krhodes

      Moby Schtick

      @khrodes

      "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, at least practically. There's as much evidence for god as for unicorns, and we comfortably state that unicorns don't exist, though they might somewhere or somewhen."

      Well if you are willing to state that "though they might somewhere or somewhen" the you absence of evidence statememt goes out the window don't you think? My "prove it" remark aimed at chex was in reference to his absolute negative that "There's no God. That's the truth." Obviously he cannot make that statement unless he has complete knowledge of the universe which i am pretty sure he does not.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    The IRS should investigate the tax exempt status of Franklin Graham's church. Keep religion out of politics.

    November 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • chex

      And keep money out of religion, and keep religion out of life.

      K. Thanx.

      November 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  7. Abraham

    Lionlylamb was FULL THROATED with me last night....

    November 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    The Grahams can say anything they like in this free country.
    I don't have to listen to them at all.
    Many other Americans must have voted in opposition to the Rev. Billy's endorsements, because the Democrats won. Hallelujah!

    November 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Agreed Joey...seems like the republicans and freaky religious "leaders" missed the whole election night doesn't it? They lost and they just won't shut up.

      November 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Akira

      JIF! How are you, dearheart?
      Happy Thanksgiving, love, and I concur!

      November 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Hello

      they can say anything they want to make money... but they need to pay taxes like the rest of us. Just because they make money telling lies should not get them tax free income status.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • craig

      Well you are right the Democrats won. But Franklin Graham is only quoting what the bible about praying for our leaders. No party affiliation. Just pray for the men and women in power. We may not like it, but God's word is clear. So we pray.

      November 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  9. TQTGA

    Please lead us in prayer, Franky boy. And be sure to close your eyes real tight. I'll hold the collection plate for you and make sure none of the money falls out. Just remember to keep your eyes closed, okay?

    November 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  10. lookingforfreedom

    @ lionlylamb...please just go take your medications and sleep it off. Go now, go with Nurse Rached...be a good boy now.

    November 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      lookingforfreedom

      For God does never change His spiritualism and His Holy Spirit is the Great Sea of Absolute Nothingness! Always was and is and will ever be no matter what smatterings of materialized shapes do tend to seemingly clutter up His unending spiritual abundancy! It is truth that God has troubles within the fractal paradigms of inwardness's inter-cellular cosmologies as protrutions of insolent 'activists' that are sometimes revolting against the grains of our embodied sanctifications creating many unrighteous undulations of travesties not uncommonly being viewed by us celestial beings as being viral and even bacteriological in the way we understand things to be and therefore become.

      November 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • reallife47

      lionly whatsit.....you sound very FULL THROATED!

      November 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Scott

    Why are churches alllowed to endorse candidates and be tax free, yet other political groups have to pay taxes. This gives them an unfair advantage.

    I absolutely support the right of churches to endorse a political candidate, the same as any other organization can, but it unfair to give them a tax benefit that other organizations don't get.

    November 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • reallife47

      And a FULL THROATED tax break at that!

      November 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      That's "Throatasciously" stupendous it is!

      November 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • God'sChild

      Because it is all about money and power

      December 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  12. lookingforfreedom

    I hope to get a FULL THROATED endorsement from Franklin Graham someday!!!

    November 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  13. Discernment

    FRANKLIN GRAHAM LOST ALL CREDIBILITY AS AN 'HONEST' CHRISTIAN ON THE 'MORNING JOE' SHOW

    During the height of the Birther movement when Republican Tea Party wackos were getting desperate with their false claims that President Obama was Kenyan-born and a Muslim; Franklin Graham on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" threw fuel to the fire by insinuating President Obama was NOT a Christian, but was instead a Muslim.

    On that same show Graham expressed full-throated confirmation that 'three-time adulterous' Newt Gingrich was a Christian along with every other Republican candidate. Franklin & Billy Graham are hypocrites and cannot be trusted.

    November 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Manly made Gods in name onliness euphemisms have become false-cherishing sublimations not to be subliminally outdone by anothers' naming of God such as Elohim or Jehovah etc etc. Is it not of more-so importance to write or make small-talk toward others to 'menstruatively' condition the morals of youthfulness than to bicker and banter about as elder-aged 'gossipers' seeking shadowy umbrage praises of youth-based others to justify their own selfishness sakes? Who therefore is to be pitied more, the one behind the podium using cards or the audience sitting in the seated?

      November 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      I am a FULL THROATED FREAK!!!

      November 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Your blackenedness does shine thru you d i l d o dawdler of shoddiness!

      November 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Chuck

      Agree! They are the hypo=hypo=hypo ..... of the highest order!

      November 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Hello

      and so should all the mythic salesmen..... With more and more people reading Caesar's Messiah there will be more and more Atheists.... and the god business will be seen the fraud it is... and was intended to be by the Roman creators.. the Flavian Family... The joke is up god salesmen... we know the truth... time for you to get a real job and pay taxes like the rest of us.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • LT

      Good point but I believe they are good people that like so many others have failed to discern God in such matters. I believe it's God's will that we influence policies but that we stop short of becoming political and keep our ministries focused on the Gospel of Christ while trusting God with the results and leaving Him in control. That's easier said than done and when you have acquired that much influence, it's easy to misuse it.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:46 am |
  14. J C Nix

    Yesterday, Franklin said God would destroy America's economy for disobeying Him and electing Obama. Today, he gaves us the evangelical "Bless his heart" with a call to prayer. If there were a God, he'd smite Franklin Graham for his vainity.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • J C Nix

      A full throat has no gag reflex.

      November 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      I do SMITE Franklin Graham! He is banished to HELL!

      November 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      Well, I'll let Franklin swallow before I SMITE him to Hell! At least he'll have a good memory to keep him company...

      November 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      J C Nix et al,

      The spoken Word entails much scandel and will ever linger upon the celestial shorelines of the human's bestial nomenclatures of not only the begotten but also those of the dead and even the stilled rotten.

      November 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Akira

      "The more I know, the less I understand...."

      November 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Hello

      no different than the book of lies they live off of tax free.... they are all a bunch of flip floppers.... they just want the money to keep coming in.. and will say anything to keep the cash cow alive.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Phil T. Listener

      @ Akira...
      All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again.
      Time to get down to the Heart of the Matter!

      November 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  15. Ephraim

    I agree with Franklin and Billy Graham, they are not only respected by a majority of our society but they are righteous men of God. I stand with those who would pray for our leaders and desire to see this great nation of America turn back to God and leave the wicked ways of abortion, depravity, and perversion.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Ephraim

      I agree with Franklin and his Father with my throat full! Full of Franklin!

      November 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ephraim

      I stand with them...right up until i bend over!

      November 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      AMEN Ephraim!!!

      November 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • God'sChild

      "Turn back to God" This country was not built on a spiritual fundation. The Whites came over here because they needed new land to call their own. They took from the Indians and brought over slaves to work. I really dont see what God you are talking about. Satan? I'm not sure about going back to God when these people destroyed many people to become rich. Maybe the problem was and is the lack of Jehovah from the beginning.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  16. Franklin Graham

    I call on all Americans to pray that President Obama obey my political agenda. Amen.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Franklin Graham

      And then I pray that everyone gives me and my daddy more money so that we can spend it on lavish republicans!

      November 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Franklin Graham

      Oops! I mean, well, you know, republicans like lavish things. So I meant I pray for more money for me and my daddy so that we can lavishly spend it on Republicans! RIght! There. See, ok, I'm as dumb as I look.

      It's true. Sigh.

      November 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Franklin Graham

      Well, I pray with a FULL THROAT that people give me more money and more Romney!

      November 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  17. Wise1Speak

    MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS GRIMACE WITH PAIN EVERY TIME FRANKLIN & BILLY GRAHAM DISPLAY BLATANT HYPOCRISY AGAINST THEIR OWN CHRISTIAN BROTHER PRES. BARACK OBAMA

    It is as clear as a cloudless blue sky of the hatred the Grahams have for President Barack Obama.

    The President is a devout Christian, loving husband, caring father, and a compassionate American citizen. And in spite of Obama's life-long endeavor as a Christian and as a community organizer to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the sick, find justice for the oppressed, and provide jobs & hope for the struggling; Billy & Franklin still cannot bring themselves to accept the fact that in GOD'S eyes President Obama is their "Brother-in-CHRIST" who just happened to be Commander-in-Chief and half Black.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Don't 'bogard' the joint my friend and do pass it along! :-)

      November 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  18. Wise1Speak

    MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS GRIMACE WITH PAIN EVERYTIME FRANKLIN & BILLY GRAHAM DISPLAY BLATANT HYPOCRISY AGINST THEIR OWN CHRISTIAN BROTHER PRES. BARACK OBAMA

    It is as clear as a cloudless blue sky of the hatred the Grahams have for President Barack Obama.

    The President is a devout Christian, loving husband, caring father, and a compassionate American citizen. And in spite of Obama's life-long endeavor as a Christian and as a community organizer to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the sick, find justice for the oppressed, and provide jobs & hope for the struggling; Billy & Franklin still cannot bring themselves to accept the fact that in GOD'S eyes President Obama is their "Brother-in-CHRIST" who just happened to be Commander-in-Chief and half Black.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  19. who invited me?

    Anybody that really read this article has to wonder where the authors mind was when he wrote that Franklin "gave a FULL THROATED endorsement to Romney." Hmmmmm

    November 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually Dan Merica borrowed Eric Marrapodi's text from a month ago:

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/18/billy-graham-buys-election-ads-after-romney-meeting/

      The ad hit the prominent papers Wednesday and Thursday, and could hit a dozen more newspapers, a week after the famed evangelist met with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Graham's Montreat, North Carolina, home and less than a month after his son Franklin Graham issued a full-throated endorsement of Romney in a USA Today opinion piece.

      Today:

      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.

      November 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • hippy

      SO...the media seems to like this "reference" of a full throat? Clever people huh?!?!?!

      November 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Hello

      humm.. maybe they just misspelled it.. full throat.. as in deep throat...

      November 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Phil T. Listener

      But was it "Deep"?

      November 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  20. Benjamin T.

    The Christian Taliban ... Those three words say it all.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Silly Benny T.

      The christian word of truth being the wordage of gospels of which are now way too varying many to be had and can no more be held up in agonies righteousness sakes. To the christians; "The troubles with faithless and unfaithful trinitarians, those who belly-up to one god times three is, they read but only into it and get very little out of what they make 'gospel' in treacherously unsound morbid amplifications of unblessed pleasings by the manly adaptive and grudgingly adopted childishness views of Godly moralisms. Their rudimentary and timid preaching in devilish tongues beatifies only the lecherously dumb-hearted relics, the aged heartburns of their christiandumbness's idiosyncratic marmoset-like redundancies. Their godly embittered and fettered moralisms are but self-centered and selfishly censored upon age old redundant principles that are remorsefully archaic in round-about cultured replicants behooving those old fuddy duddies who fumble ever for their next glass worth of wine! Drunk and in temperamental stupors are the emotionally fallen within christiandumbs folds becoming sciatic pragmatisms unworthy of even one toasting for, but rather for the many to be rightly toasting against!"

      November 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Don't bogart the doob, dude.

      November 21, 2012 at 6:26 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.