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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. BOb the Prairie Dog

    NO ONE knows what happens when we die, and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a LIAR (who probably wants your money.)

    November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  2. brd893

    This fellow is a disgrace. Wonder who would take him seriously. He's got nothing to say that would be of interest as he is one of the false prophets that the bible spoke about. He never had much credibility and perchance he had any before it is all gone.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  3. Tone 2

    "They honor me with their lips but their heats are far from me" -Jesus. These are men who have built their wealth by fleecing the gullible and then use their influence in service of the wealthy.. Isn't it obvious that their prayer does not work? They pray for rain in Texas they receive wildfire, they anointed Rick Perry and he failed spectacularly. They endorse Romney and his fake momentum is stopped by an act of God. If there is a God he is not on their side.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  4. JP

    When churches begin to pay taxes, we may listen to the crap that spews from the mouths of their leaders. Until then, keep out of the political arena.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  5. Grampa

    “While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan."

    Who does he think he's kidding?

    November 22, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  6. Bill

    No matter what your political beliefs or party affiliation, you should always root for the president's success, as a successful president means a successful country and a successful people, and that's something I'd like to think we could always support.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  7. Abe Qutub

    What a hypocrite !!

    November 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • sybaris

      and hypocrites are the most dangerous because they don't know when they are lying

      November 22, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  8. John R

    Obama has stood up for the poor, and has directed policy to give millions of children healthcare coverage who did not have it in the past. Obama is a Christian. I am not sure why the religious leaders of this country would not be more supportive of him. It seems like they are more political by nature than they want to admit. And how wealthy is the Graham family? It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Judgement day will come for these preachers and CEO's who mask their wealth in God's name. Perhaps the nation should be praying for them instead of Obama.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • JP

      Well said.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • counter

      He 's no Christian. he never attends church and supports late term abortions. Also, it is clear in the scriptures that there is a limit to welfare and social safety nets when people won't even try to work. Don't buy it.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  9. Carl

    After this election I've come to the conclusion there is no God.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Grampa

      Well, at least you learned something.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  10. sybaris

    “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,”

    Love this

    By Grahams logic all non christian countries and regions should be in total chaos. That is simply not the case.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Grampa

      Logic, unfortunately, has little to do with the Grahams' world view.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  11. Edward

    Franklin Graham should quit the false preaching and pray for his damned flock of bigots.
    Perhaps a mass attempt at a self exorcism would also be in order. This time without the collection plate.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  12. SteveM

    Nothing fails like prayer. Perhaps they should do something that actually helps people instead of wasting time talking to an imaginary god.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • sybaris

      Helping people isn't profitable

      November 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  13. chefdugan

    I'm praying that both Grahams die soon and stop telling the rest of us what they think God wants or does not want. God, they are disgusting!

    November 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  14. Mikey

    What a crock of you-know-what........this exceptionalism stuff is just the same old division, hatred, and intolerance that these religious boneheads spew all the time. I say we invite them to "self deport" and find a more godly place to try to sell their tripe.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • MKR

      well said!

      November 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • George

      This Exceptionalism idea is the same concept they used to as the excuse to wipe out the Native Americans and take half of Mexico. Jackson called Manifest Destiny. If you read the Bbile and history you will see God being used as an excuse to plunder, steal, and excute anyone standing in the way of the greedy. It's really all about wealth and power, and God is just a pawn the wealthy use to rule the common people.

      Graham has mde a vast fortune from very poor people like my elderly Grandmother who used to send half her Social Secrurity checks to him, and then not even have enough left to eat for the month. They spew hatred and lies splitting the country in half all in the name of their god, and get filthy rich in the process. It's time to come together as Americans and make these hypocrits irrelevant.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  15. Colin

    If you want proof our education system is a mess, reflect on the fact that the majority of Christians still believe in the power of prayer today.

    The idea is that you think silent thoughts like "please God help me pass my exam tomorrow" and an immortal being that created the entire Universe and its 400,000,000,000 galaxies, each with about 100,000,000,000 stars and even more planets about 13,720,000,000 years ago, reads your mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer your request.

    And you Christians wonder why we atheists think you are childish fools.....

    November 22, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Grampa

      Absolutely correct, Colin, except that I would say "DANGEROUS, childish fools." If they were just childish fools they wouldn't be so scary.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Doc1

      Colin,
      Have you ever considered that the thought of several complicated cells coming to together randomly to form all of the different species is just as insane as thinking a Supreme being did it?

      November 22, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • counter

      What a bunch of BS. There are many educated Christians that believe in prayer but still think logically and are very high functioning. You sound like the typical radical elitist atheist that has a chip in his shoulder.

      You protest too much.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Hosea

      What makes you think education and Christianity are mutually exclusive? True education can only lead to the conclusion that there is so much more about our world that man does not know and that every attempt man has made to explain his existence and the world around him is fundamentally flawed when he takes away the premise of intelligent design. To not accept that fact is the greatest proof of ignorance that I know.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  16. beairdboy

    Frankly Frank , I've been praying for Obama everyday since before he became president. He's a great Christian man with a good relationship with his maker, but you don't see him mixing religion and politics.
    Rather he lives his faith.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Ry

      I am also a Christian and pray for Obama. But I don't involve my faith in my work then what good is my faith. A true Christian has to live his or her faith in everything that they do. You can not separate the two unless you really don't believe in what you claim to. If someone in government is calling themselves a Christian, I want to see them live it out.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And how, exactly, do you measure someone's faith? What do you expect to see someone do at work that would indicate his/her Christianity? I'd like to see your answers and then have you explain how you "know" that those behaviors are unique to Christians.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  17. Spanglish

    They should have a session of exorcism to take out the hidden evil inside Obama

    November 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  18. Kweso

    So he inherited his father's snake oil business and has become CEO. Well, anyone can be reached by flattery. Afterall, that is what prayer means.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  19. Woody

    Its up to you if you make yourself or your minister wealthy because your minister will not be there when you need that 250,000 dollars from that heart attack , or that 100,000 dollars for that neck surgery from aging disk in your neck !

    November 22, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  20. CHris

    BEWARE OF WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING

    November 22, 2012 at 9:49 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.