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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. JLO

    Judging from the comments I have seen so far,except for the "nope" guy, ths is an epic FAIL on Graham's part-rightfully so. He is not asking pastors to pray FOR Obama-the headline s dead wrong.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  2. Michael

    Hey franklin and dad; get out of politics and back to your fire and brimstone. Where did you get all of that money to place ads in expensive newspapers ?? Your ethics are very questionable along with your religion.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  3. Chedar

    Obama does not need your fake prayer Mr Graham. You are forgiven. Who say? Me say. I am your God. Hear me talking and read my lips. Shame on you Mr Graham for being sucker do nothing charlatan lying to my existence so you can get 10% of the hard working men and women here. With your lies, you can be sure a one free ticket to he'll you dreaded the most.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  4. Sane Person

    I wish these idiots would pray for thier own wisdom. Mumbling crap to your invisible sky zombie is not going to solve any issue. (And it sure as hell wont get someone elected)

    November 22, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  5. Martin

    Wow America i didnt know God had such a personal relationship with you. With the state you are in you might want to try going it alone instead cause he seems to be either ignoring you or doing a very poor job of looking after you

    November 22, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  6. sds65805

    Franklin Graham has done more to damage the worlds opinion of the Christian faith than any other person in his generation. His obvious personal agenda in his speeches (I won't justify them by calling them sermons) undermines all that I hold dear in my faith. God is Love – Franklin Graham is not.
    As a Christian, I respectfully ask him to please shut up.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Kate

      Please please shut up Mr. Graham.. God is in our homes and churchs.. personally I think church's should be taxed if they are political..

      November 22, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • jay

      Thank you, I have long held the belief that all religious foundations should be taxed, as everyday citizens are.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  7. julie

    another HATER.....disguised as a preacher.................please just like romney did lil graham take a hike, with your gloom and doom tired old white man haten will they EVER LEARN

    November 22, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  8. Gracie

    I pray that Franklin Graham will stop using donations to his charities to double dip and take a million plus dollar salary. I pray that he will stop spreading prejudice against non-Christian fundamentalist religions, gay people, non-believers, etc. I pray that he will see that the mixture of Christian fundamentalism mixed with reactionary politics that he preaches is one of the main reasons evangelical Christianity is losing the younger generations in the United States.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  9. Pokydoke

    Praying is where you think you are doing something when you are actually not accomplishing anything but fooling yourself.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  10. appalled

    Who is he praying to? Snow White??

    November 22, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  11. Fed up with Republicans

    Let us all remember that the Africans were blessed by the representatives of GOD on the shores of Africa as they were being loaded aboard slave ships in shackles and chains and shipped off to a life of slavery in the Americas.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  12. Fed up with Republicans

    In case most of you pro religion right wing evangelical so called Christians hadn't noticed all of those candidates that were called or personally told to run for President by your interpretation and version of GOD lost in this election.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  13. SensibleJoe

    God, please help Franklin Graham see the light. Inspire him to lay aside greed, gluttony and lust for money and power, and move him to embrace the love of neighbor, love of enemy and ethic of treating others the same way he wants to be treated that lie at the heart of your gospel - in Jesus' name. Amen.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  14. dzerres

    I pray that there will eventually be an end to these ignorant evangelicals and people will see the real reason for religion which is not seeking political donations, the limelight and the subjugation of anyone who disagrees with their simple mindedness.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • jay

      I see 'real' religion in the Salvation Army who is quietly helping as many as they can without a lot of hoop la and fanfare.
      (By the way thank you for spell check, it has already caught one mistake.)

      November 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  15. JustWho

    Out of charity, pray that your god will silence this piece of TV noise.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  16. Fed up with Republicans

    Franklin Graham orchestrated the entire Billy Graham pseudo endorsement of Mitt Romney and personally I think it was beyond shameful what Franklin Graham did to his 94 year old father and his legacy.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  17. blaze562

    I try to pray for him however all my fingers seem to form a fist except for my middle fingers and I don't know why.....

    November 22, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  18. jimmy

    This creepy little mofo looks like Romney II.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  19. Splishkid

    If praying makes u feel well then pray away

    November 22, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  20. CitizenJP

    God is Sat-Cit-Anand or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss according to the Vedant. There is Consciousness alone. An inherent property of Consciousness projects the world upon Itself. The world is projected like a mirage, a snake on a rope, a ghost on a post, etc. This site beautifully describes the definition of the ultimate reality. http://brahmacharcha.blogspot.com/

    November 22, 2012 at 8:05 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.