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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. Joe K

    Prayer – the prefect excuse for doing nothing.

    December 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      I think most Christians are intelligent enough to understand that "prayer kneads no dough," to quote an old Russian proverb.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Global Mens Group

    In the Bible, 1 Peter 2:17 says “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” In 5 New Testament passages and examples above, God uses Paul and Peter to tell us … A) Honor your governmental leaders and fellow citizens. B) Obey the laws of your country. C) Pay your taxes. D) Pray for those who are in authority (as Franklin suggested for Obama). E) And above all, LIVE OUT and GIVE OUT the Gospel! ... my further thoughts are explain on "Government & the Gospel: a Christian's Response and Responsibility" at this link (no advertising) http://www.globalmensgroup.com/bible-verses-on-government-and-the-gospel/

    December 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  3. Not for Franklin

    It is ashame that Franklin took advantage his father's old age for His own political agenda. The Historical Jesus was not a conservative on social needs of the poor. Mormanism believes you can become a god if you live a good life. That is why most Christians consider Mormans a cult, as the Grahan web site stated before it became politically expedient to Oppose Obama for the 1%. Yes I am praying for the President and all our leaders that so badly need wisdom. But not because Franklin is asking people to pray, but because it is the right thing to do. Ron Paul was the only one who has any wisdom in congress.

    December 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  4. David

    Unfortunately, Franklin Graham and Conservative Christians are the single biggest threat to America. Fortunately, this last election showed that they are in a decline.

    They play the victim, but they are the largest group of bullies in our nation. And if you notice really carefully, the more conservative they are, the more you will see that they don't worship God – they worship money. It's as though they use all the Jesus and God talk to divert our attention so we don't see their true love of money.

    December 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Joe Peterson

      The largest bullies hmmm... Have you ever seen how the many on the left in this country wishes to shut down anything remotely conservative , the evangelical atheists, the intolerant left etc.. If your idea does not fir the leftist agenda in this country you are shut out. If you speak about moral issues you are chastised. At some point we all are going down the road to perdition as no moral voices will be heard unless sanctified by the new religious lords.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Observer

      Joe,

      "If you speak about moral issues you are chastised."

      Yep. If you support the Golden Rule for everyone, the hypocritical right will chastise you.

      December 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • visitor

      They stand in the way of discussion about Global Warming and what we are going to do about it. Yes, they work for money and frankly, evil.

      December 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  5. niknak

    What he meant was-

    "Pray for Obama to be assassinated."

    December 6, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  6. Slambo49

    I had all the respect in the world for the Grahams until they decided to "praise and worship" a worshiper of other gods – wonder what romney promised in that meeting that would sway them after 3/4s of a century of identifying mormans as cultist – i am sure it was money because thats all romney has to offer anyone, and Lord knows these mega men need it to sustain themselves and there organizations in a manner that they have been accustomed to. sad day for Christians I tell you. glad i am not the one going to the bema seat with that one hanging over me.

    December 6, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  7. John the Historian

    Baptists were founded on Calvinist Puritan traditions. The country is now secular so everything Billy Graham and Franklin Graham say is irrelevant. The Southern Strategy in elections will no longer work. The mjaoriyt of White Americans is over. Hispanics, women who are pro-choice, Gays, Blacks, Asians, Muslims, and immigrants will now rule America, Non-Believers are increasing as well as Agnostics. Urban America is more important than rural America. Billy Graham was called a counterfeit by President Truman. Obama can call him irrelevant.

    December 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Joe Peterson

      And our country will fall to ruins....

      December 7, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  8. MrHighMighty

    Mr Graham, you are a phony and one of the threats to true Christianity in America. If you are so concerned about God's blessing on America, why did you endorse a Mormon to become president? Do you think it would be pleasing to God if we had a president who is a member of a cult that denies the eternal deity of Jesus Christ? You wanted America to elect a heretic who believes that our Holy God is one of many, and that man can achieve equality with Him? Is that not turning your back on God?
    Get on your knees and pray for understanding, you fool. Remove yourself from your flock until you repent from your hypocrisy and false motives, lest you further weaken the minds of your congregation. And stay out of politics. Like Jesus did.

    December 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  9. cinci

    i don't understand how he can blame poor economic times on our morals. Wall Street didn't care
    about morals in 2008 and many suffered bad results–many who had nothing to do with these wall
    street decisions. I hear this bad moral refrain by many right wing republicans and wonder where
    have they been? Their argument makes no sense to me at all. It's irrelevant. Whether one is Christian
    or not this is an irrelevant argument. Innocent bystanders who lost jobs, homes, retirement had nothing to
    do with creating this mess. Of course, many of us can't elect another republican–they have done enough
    damage while protecting their elite friends.

    December 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  10. Badua

    Look Obama does not need your prayers. You are such a racist. Pray to your God for yourself. Preachers are supposed to help poor people and you are damn not. You want to control women just like Talibans. We all want our freedom. And God almighty loves us all.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  11. tony

    Atheists hanging out here is only a tiny aspect of their reaction to daily driving past several of the millions of offensive butl "in your face" prominent roadside church billboards.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  12. Me

    It seems people are making more out of this story than what is there. We are always told to pray for our leaders. Big deal.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  13. KLCambridge

    Pray for Franklin Graham.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • tony

      That will make as much difference as Franklin praying for Obama. But it may help them keep their tax exemption on their huge bamboozling income

      December 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  14. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    THE MAN OF GOD. YOU HAVE SAID IT ALL IS A REVELATION THAT YOU GAVE TO PEOPLE OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.THE SHOULD NOT FORGET THEIR LOGO THAT IN GOD WE TRUST. BUT IN CLEAR TERMS IS LIKE AS YOU SAID A DEPARTURE FROM THAT SACRED LIFE OF FORMER AMERICA TO SECULAR LIFE WHICH IS DANGEROUS. I PRAY THAT PRAYER OF THE SAINT IN THE LAND LIKE YOU AND OTHER ONES SHALL HEAL THE LAND OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SIR. SHALOM

    December 4, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Timmuh

      In god we trust was added to the dollar bill and became America's national motto is 1956. The original and real motto is E pluribus unum, the Latin for ‘out of many, one’. This was done so to differentiate the west from communist Russia.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • parrish

      Rev–I think I understand what you mean. I's difficult because you write in upper case. So are you saying the guy is a saint? Umm...well, okay.

      December 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  15. angel

    Being conservative with love and compassion is not likely to get you into God's Kingdom,where everybody there will love everybody,all the people there will be liberal with love and compassion.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • tony

      And 99.999% of the already dead are non-christian

      December 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Franklin Graham's judgemental, narcissistic message is far, far, far from the word of God or Jesus. This man should be officially listed as a "false idol" and should be ignored by any true christian.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • dnick47

      The Grahams have finally shown their true colors: Green. They all just love those greenback more then anything or anyone else and use the nme of Jesus to gather more of them.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  17. GayAtheist

    Franklin Graham, his father, and his sister are all disgusting, hateful people.

    December 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • KM

      gayatheist Nice to see you hanging out in the Belief section, very interesting.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Timmuh

      Why wouldn't he come to the battleground of his enemies? When you enter the public debate, you may hear views and opinions that go against what you have already decided to believe.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  18. phil

    lol, funny. After he met with Romney he gave a "full-throated" endorsement.

    December 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • parrish

      One does worry what that might mean...

      December 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  19. Geoz

    I once had my mom refuse to come see me so that she could go to Billy Graham's camp in NC. She had arranged the vacation time at my request because I was struggling with life at the time. She changed the plans to visit me and went there instead because "My church family needs care too." I think my mom is like a lot of christians. She has never regretted this kind of thing and done it multiple times. It is a regrettable model, but others in the church see her as a pillar. I'll never claim christianity. As they say, Christ is ok, it's the Christians that I can't stand to be around.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • KM

      Sounds like alot of hurt and bitterness there. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Good luck on finding the perfect people by the way.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  20. Peter

    According to the Book of Mormon, god darken the color of the skin of one of Lehi's son as a punishment for his disobeying and making fun of his father. God did that to make him un-desirable to others. WHen I read that part, I ask the missionaire: Is that how blacks were made? He said, no. That is how native americans were made, god did not make blacks. The devil did. Year later, I read that the god spoke to the mormon president and told him that it was OK to accept blacks in the mormon church (just like that!!). This is the true american religion, think that Rommney almost become president. Can you imagine? At least we could have four slave women, I mean wifes.

    December 2, 2012 at 8:52 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.