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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. neednewgov

    I hope Graham also prays daily for those who are corrupting God's message, ie: many of those in organized religion.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • SCOTTA.

      I WILL PRAY FOR OBAMA TO BE KICKED OUT OF OFFICE!!

      December 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      scott: good luck with that. perhaps you should protest via self-immolation

      December 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  2. Peter

    I believe in god, but he never talks to me, he never told me anything, or maybe he/she did, but I do not realize that. How come these self-rich people think that god speak to them, are they bipolar? is their god the same one that is described in the bible (a manual of bad customs) as the one that order the killing of everyone at Jerico? Is the the master mind in so many crimes?

    December 2, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  3. Peter

    These religious fanatics are what keep those white rich conservatives called republicans in power. If you remove them from the republican party, all what is left is just that: a bunch of millionaries that care nothing for the country, just for themselves.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  4. stoneyage

    It is amazing that Jesus was born in an Israel under Roman occupation, yet he never got involved in the politics of his day. He even told Peter to give Caesar his due! Pay him his taxes! Well, I don't know where the Grahams got their theology, but they should know by now that the early church thrived under this same Roman occupation until the Romans got a hold of the church leadership and changed it to suit themselves. It is really disgracefl that Frankling and Billy dcided to endorse any candidate, when what they should have done is follow their own preaching years ago and pray the God's will be done. They have chased many believers away from thir organization by thir poor judgement. Worst of all, they sought to endorse someone of a faith that adds to the word of God. In Revelation it says "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." the bible never once mentions any angel named Moroni, nor any plan of God which involves America. Yet, if I know you Chrisian folk, you will find another scripture to justify your actions. The danger of accepting Joseph Smith's claims, is that ANYONE could make claims of new plans God whispered to them, and the church would accept it. This is why there is a growing number of young people who no longer trust the church's preachments. Same on you both, Billy and Franklin!

    December 2, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • neednewgov

      I agree wholeheartedly. nice!

      December 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  5. MeowCat

    I completely agree that people should be working together. The Republicans have squandered this concept for 4 years, trashed our country for at least 12 years, and it's about time they grew up. Now, instead of praying for Obama why don't they all just write him a thank you note.

    December 2, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • timelord7202

      Very true. Voting records show their take on the debt ceiling, giving taxpayerfunded subsidy to c0rporations in return for for their offsh0ring of jobs, and saying "myway or the highway". President Obama has spent YEARS compr0mising and c@ving to them. He's shown a lot, since he is on record speaking positively on the middle class while the GOP continues to give ent!tlements to companies that offsh0re and then accuse the j0bless (even if the j0bless had to train their own H 1B replacements before being let go.)

      December 2, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • The Right Left

      For the past four years this man has been talking about the President not being Chirstian and spouting the narrative of the extreme right, laced with bigotry. These so called religion gurus are nothing but snake oil merchants preying upon the sick, elderly, despondent and ignorants. They speak of Jesus but behave totally opposite to his teachings. This man is a snake oil merchant, no different than Pat Robertson who advocated killing of Hugo Chavez, a fellow Christian.Heshould not be included in future dialogues.

      The age of the Christian Shamans is coming to a close.

      December 2, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changeth things

    December 2, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • MeowCat

      You made a mistake because I'm sure you meant believing in the supernatural and religion is not healthy, right? I'd like to see evidence for that statement of yours. Oh wait, you probably use "belief" to guide your life.

      December 2, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • stoneyage

      Prayer changeth nothing. Just look at the massive amount of prayer and fasting done in favor of Romney's election victory. Yet he was soundly beaten. He lost! As dd McCain back in 2008. What then, is God saying, you hypocrites?

      December 2, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • stoneyage

      Perhaps I am wrong and prayer DOES change things. Just depends to who you expect to answer them! I prayed to Joe Pesci as I did in 2008 for Obama to win, and Abra cadabra! he won both times!!! Franklin and Bily prayed and fasted both elections and yet, pouf! nothing. So it's Prayers to JOE PESCI that changeth things!

      December 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  7. rbud

    Franklin Graham is a huge disappointment and makes a mockery of the formerly fine work of the BGEA. We should be praying for him, and he should leave his arrogance and self-righteousness behind. He's the one who converted what was previously the finest evangelistic Christian movement into a political, self-serving debacle. I give his views no weight, and offer him no respect.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  8. Keith Green

    You are right...........Obama is God's will (Psalms 75:7) And yes, the Christian right is racist but they don't know it. I'm tired to trying to teach white folks what is obvious to everyone else on the planet. Religion is not spirituality. Religous people killed Jesus. I'm tired of religous people. Now, having said that...........can we please move on and IGNORE the Grahm's and Robertson's and all their friends, and re-focus on the needs of the people on this planet?

    November 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Linda

      so, now you all think you are god? God does not tear others down, He simply applies His will. You will make a bigger impact by promoting what you believe rather than attacking what you don't

      November 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • rbud

      Linda's reply to you is totally out of line, and defies history. When she writes, "God does not tear others down, He simply applies His will," that's the evangelical way of excusing their own destructive habits. They tear down people all the time on a regular basis. And, they seem to enjoy it.

      What's more, you are spot on with your comments. The church today is so socially bound, so totally dependent upon their social structures and self-serving activities, that few of them could even begin to develop a spiritual discipline.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • stoneyage

      Didn't Jesus ome to die? Wasn't that the poin of his mission? Why then, is there any condemnation of those who killed him? Was he supposed to kill himself? You folks need to start using logic.

      December 2, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  9. Mark

    Obama is Gods will..take that!

    November 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      In the 2008 presidential election Sarah Palin did say that god will do the right thing regarding the choice between McCain and Obama.

      Hmmmmmm!

      December 1, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • MeowCat

      ElmerGantry...that made my day. These conservatives always seem to think they now God's mind, his will...when it works for them. Apparently God has spoken. Now do the right thing; listen to Palin, listen to God...support President Obama.

      December 2, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  10. Darwinsdad

    WillieLove seems to be full of PlentyHate.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  11. bayou2

    Tell Franklin and his daddy to stick it up somwhere

    November 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • ktexpress72

      I can't believe you would say that about Billy Graham. Funny how the world is turning against Christinity, but I remember in the Bible Jesus saying to his followers people will follow the world and not him and when people speak against the followers they are actually speaking against Christ.

      December 1, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  12. N.Shapiro

    Looks like Franklin Graham is inheriting the family business.

    November 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Darin

      BUSINESS absolutely correct my man!

      December 2, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • MeowCat

      Bingo! It's a business. A club.

      December 2, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  13. Lars J

    Taking the Mormons off his cult list simply proved that, when you get past the rhetoric, politics trumps theology. The idea that it was taken off because "we don't want to call people names" is beyond the pale. He talks about voting for people who follow Biblical principles, yet the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially holds that Dr. Franklin's Bible is inaccurate and should not be followed as a rule of faith because "it has not been translated correctly". Rather, follow the teachings in their Book of Mormon. What theological contortion!

    November 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  14. peegee

    Could someone define 'blessing' and 'sins' in the biblical sense?

    November 30, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • K Kim

      I'm not sure if anyone other than God has the authority to define these words BUT:
      Strictly in my personal opinion, "Blessing", at the end of the day when all is said an done, comes down to the fact that God gave you life and the path to eternal life with God through Yeshua, His Son and the Messiah, for those who are saved in Christ (Greek meaning the anointed one or the Messiah) Yeshua.
      Sin (again, just my opinion) is the thing that is the opposite of who and what God is like. Yeshua said that ONLY God is good; therefore, sin is truly bad. Sin manifests itself in the desire to be like God (Satan, Adam, cadio-thoracic surgeon (just kidding) among many).

      November 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  15. Hi

    This proves the religous right is just plain out racist. who was the ONLY christian candiadate in that race??? WHOOO??? Barrack Obama, President Obama. If Romney had been a black mormon and President Obama a white christian they would have swooned to the white christian. please, tell me I am wrong...

    November 30, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Kishmein Touchus

      I applaud your analysis. Spot on. Basic point for me is that religion should be kept outside of politics. Those who wish to speak to imaginary things can do so, but leave me out of it. The Bible and Grimm's Fair Tales share lots in common and I hope it makes the readers of both happy. The Billy Grahams, Franklin Grahams, Pat Robertsons of this world cause a lot more harm than the good they purport to do. A pox on them all. Just read 42% of Americans really believe the Earth is just 6,000 years old: dog help us all.

      November 30, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  16. Keith Green

    The suggestion by Grahm is what he should have been saying 4 years ago. It is disgusting that so called Christian leaders are taking public polictical positions when they are clearly instructed to pray for our political leaders. The demoniztion of Barak Obama is an embarrassment to mainstream christianity as well as those in the Mormon faith. Shame on all of you. Regardless of your religous beliefs, you have failed the first test of what God expects of you. Shame on you.

    November 30, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  17. WillieLove

    CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER:

    There is not one single excuse for calling the pope God–it is BLASPHEMY

    FOR THE RECORD: This article was written on 1-30-97. Do not be surprised if a new Bible version comes out changing the Bible to:

    1) include more "Holy Fathers" or
    2) delete Holy Father from John 17:11 or

    3) change the capitalization in John 17:11 or

    4) add/delete/change in some other combination.

    The purpose of many (if not all) of the new Bible versions is to waterdown the truth so that people won't know what the scriptures really say and they'll be fooled. The Jehovah Witness bible changes around things like this and when you try to reason with them out of the Bible, they argue with their corrupted version. The same thing recently happened to me when I was speaking to a catholic person about Exodus 20:4 (I was told, "my bible doesn't say that"). Satan is a deceiver. But God is not without witness, you can rely on the Authorized King James of 1611–it's been around a long time and Satan hates it. The beast is coming and I forewarn you that men playing around with the Bible and changing it has something to do with ushering him in.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  18. WillieLove

    1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye NEED NOT that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
    The Bible says that the antichrist will call himself God. I'm not saying that the current pope is the beast himself, but I am saying that he is an antichrist:

    1 John 2:18, Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there MANY ANTICHRISTS; whereby we know that it is the last time.
    If it was the "last time" when 1 John was written, how much more so now hundreds of years later! Let us open our eyes and look for these things for they were written for our admonition and spiritual well-being.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:31 am |
  19. WillieLove

    Blasphemy 101: Catholics Call the Pope God

    Everytime a catholic person calls the pope "Holy Father" they are calling him God!

    The name "Holy Father" is found only ONE time in the entire Bible and it refers to God the Father! They are calling the pope by God's name! It is extreme blasphemy to call a man by God's name. The following passage shows Jesus praying before He and His disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane:

    John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
    Lord, please help people to see the truth!

    The pope is even looked upon as the Holy Ghost–catholics are told that they need him to teach them what God says from the Bible. That's why they have all those encylical letters and supplementary books. Look at the catholic t.v. channel one day. They are always quoting from popes–so are "lay" catholics. Now all of a sudden, he is not only God the Father, but God the Holy Spirit too! The Bible tells us that:

    November 30, 2012 at 4:31 am |
  20. WillieLove

    http://jesus-is-lord.com/billpope.gif

    November 30, 2012 at 4:30 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.