October 18th, 2012
11:45 PM ET

Billy Graham buys election ads after Romney meeting

By Eric Marrapodi CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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Washington (CNN) - The most famous and revered pastor in America, Billy Graham, is calling on voters to cast a ballot for their faith in full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers.

Graham's picture appears prominently in the ads, next to copy that reads, "As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last."

It continues, "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."

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.

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Shortly after the meeting with the Grahams and Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association scrubbed prior references to Mormonism as a cult from its website because, the association said, "we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

Romney is a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30-minute sit-down in Montreat, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

The evangelist, who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman, said in a statement following the meeting that "it was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney, for his family and our country."

Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

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The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the new ads were paid for by "friends who support the ministry" and that no general ministry funds were used.

"The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest, urging instead for readers to cast votes for candidates, at all levels, based on their support for biblical values," the group said in a statement.

Billy Graham's long-time personal spokesman, A. Larry Ross, said of the ads, “[Graham] is challenging citizens, particularly the faith community, on how to vote, rather than for whom to vote.”

Ross said the 93-year-old is still active with the ministry, though not necessarily with the day-to-day operations. In this case, he said Graham was consulted about the ad and signed off on it.

"This ad is consistent with both the mission of the BGEA and Billy Graham's personal methodology to diligently and consistently remain politically neutral and nonpartisan throughout his public ministry," Ross said.

"Against the backdrop of moral decline and a cultural shift in our nation that reflects timely issues, Mr. Graham's quotation in the ad is an extension of his faithful preaching of a timeless message and strong stand on biblical values for more than six decades."

The campaign also includes bulletin inserts and posters of the ad for churches to download and distribute.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Leaders • Politics

soundoff (2,816 Responses)
  1. Henry Griffin

    Where was Billy Graham during the civil rights struggles and the Viet Nam war? He was hobnobbing with Richard Jaihouse Nixon and his VP Spiro Agnew who did go to jail. Graham was morally bankrupt then just as he is now. His tax exempt status should be rejected.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Al

      Where was Billy Graham during the civil rights struggles

      His actions were mixed during the civil rights era, but amazingly he was the one that posted bail for the Martin Luther King Jr. to get him released from jail in 1963 during the civil rights protests in Birmingham.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  2. NoTags

    Billy Graham has not been a Christian since he accepted 'New Age Religion' theology quite a number of years ago.

    Remember what the Apostle Paul said ii his epistle to the Churches of Galatia, i.e. "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" Galatians 1:8 (KJV)

    When Billy Graham accepted 'New Age Religion' theology he became accursed if we are to believe the Bible.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      Yet Paul (Saul of Tarsus) countermanded Jesus on a number of issues, hijacking Christianity away from it's anti-Roman center.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • You Don't Say?

      Really? I went to his website about 5 years ago. I saw nothing to the effect of him accepting 'New Age' ideology and incorporating it anywhere with Biblical Scripture and how one comes to accept Christ as his or her savior. I think you're misinformed.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. WDMcGhee

    Hypocrisy writ large. How sad. Graham has always said, and continues to say, that he is apolitical. His hypocrisy is disappointing to see. He's fully within his rights to support Romney. However to list a positions that he then agrees with Romney on but then conclude by saying he's not endorsing either candidate is insulting the intelligence of the public.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  4. Norm

    No true Christian would ever endorse a Mormon for president.
    Romney must have made quite the "donation" to Billy's pension fund.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • You Don't Say?

      That's the sort of thing a few people said back in the day when JFK ran for President. How could people put a Catholic in office? And look how that turned out. Think it's not going to matter, no matter how much some people object. Just an honest observation.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • lejaune

      Well, in fact, Billy used to call Mormonism a cult until Romney made a deal with him recently. Money is god.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • RETTA

      Doubt very seriously Billy Graham is for sale and Mormons leads more of a Christian life than anyone I have ever known…..I do not know if I could do all they do for the POOR. I have several close friends who are Mormons which I did not know they were until this election (they do not brag about what they do) and I visited a Merman church to see what they are all about, so before any of you condemn Mormons do your research and quit mouthing off on a subject you know NOTHING about.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Orwell prefers Guyana punch

      Catholics make up 25%, been around a couple thousand years. The fact that JFK is the first catholic POTUS, says a lot.

      Putting a bishop of any religion as POTUS would be a first.

      Mormonism, Scientology, what is the difference? Not much.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • ca3b

      Good. Another intolerant "Christian" who dislikes everyone but the people who are a member of their own special Christian church. And certainly you wouldn't want a Jew, a Catholic, a Hindu, or anyone else who isn't your exact same "true Christian faith". But, I'm sure you consider yourself a follower of Christ. Love thy neighbor – as long as they belong to your church.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  5. Catheryn

    You know the bible said you would say you wouldn't believe this is the end times. 1 Thessalonians 5:4 thur11, may you please read and listen to the news for one month ,I am praying that the HOLY SPIRIT bless you in wisdom and knowledge in Jesus Holy name aman.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • midwest rail

      Good grief, another "end times" fundie. Men have been predicting the end of days since roughly 40 A.D. They have all been wrong. So are you./

      October 20, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • REM

      It's the end of the world as we know it.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Juan Rodriguez

      It is a shame that a prestigious evangelist with a history that can qualify him as one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11) will ruin his reputation at the end of his life for who knows what reason (money?). Mormon is a sect, period. I have lost all respect for him and I will not support his ministry anymore.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  6. tony

    All religion is based on the big lie, so what's a little corruption matter when you need it? Forgiveness is always just around the corner.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • RETTA

      Juan Rodriguez
      you probably NEVER did support Billy Graham

      October 20, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  7. You May Have To Just Suck It Up

    Wow. A lot of push back here. Oh, wait, these are mostly liberals and trolls who wouldn't vote for Romney anyhow who get mad for anyone coming out with any endorsement for him. Well, too bad. Looks like you may just have to suck it up this time. People are more concerned about their financial situations than whether or not an elderly Billy Graham endorses Romney.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • tony

      Endorsement is 100% illegal, if you take the TAX exemption, although being sucha n ethical, honest chap, he was careful to sleazily word it, so that YOU recognized it as such, but so it didn't quite say that legally.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Orwell prefers Guyana punch

      Billy and Franklin religious enterprises are entiltled to announce their choices, and pay their taxes.

      So am I. Stick it.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • RETTA

      Wait until they hear Lee Iacocca Thursday endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president and I do not think he needs the money.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  8. 703NOVA

    Senile...like Ole Jack.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  9. libtrads are just libtards

    Rev. Graham has a responsibility to excercise his vote.He also has full freedom to stand by his principles and moral beliefs.
    You go Rev. Graham

    October 20, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • kenny

      libtards?? You mean people like santorum and baughman and the others like them are sane LOL

      October 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Norm

      As a Conservatard...we fully expect you to overlook the FACT that Graham just recently called Mormonism a cult.
      But lies and are your known agenda and we take every comment you post with a grain of salt.
      Go back to Fox and beg them to open their comments section so we don't have to make you feel like such a piece of filth all the time.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  10. John

    Billy – what about affordable healthcare for the poor? Doesn't Jesus want that?

    October 20, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Dan

      Jesus said, to be perfect, give all your money to the poor.

      But, apparently, if we give universal government healthcare to the poor, we'll all be damned to hell or some such. It's hard to keep up with the ridiculous dissonant beliefs of Conservative (Contradiction) Christians.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • lejaune

      Well, Billy thinks all you need is faith and a hand placed on forehead of the ill, and the cure comes. Just like Jesus did some 2000 years ago.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • RETTA

      Have you not heard JESUS HEALS only if YOU believe, (I am a witness to that) and Jesus does not believe in woman to woman and man to man marriage and NOT in abortions. So Rev Billy Graham is right in his endorsement

      October 20, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  11. prayfast2

    The founder of Mormonism esos he received another revelation of Jesus while in the woods, an angel gave himgolden plates

    October 20, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Trevor

      Sounds like insanity to me.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Norm

      And these plates being the most valuable thing on the planet were mysteriously "lost" not long after he translated their meaning by talking into a hat.
      Did I get that right?
      Or doesn't it really matter?

      October 20, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Jeffrey Root

      Yeah. And Moses didn't find stone tablets in the mountains from a burning bush

      October 20, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • jean

      Aren't gold plates mighty heavy? Maybe Jesus gave him super strength or maybe he was just another crazy person.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  12. Norm

    It seems Christian principles can be bought after all.
    Especially when the alternative has a brown face.
    Right Billy?

    October 20, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Orwell prefers Guyana punch

      A black POTUS on their watch? Their heaven is very upset, along with their god.

      Batten the hatches, ready the swiftboats, arm the torpedoes for the TRUE Jesus, their Jesus.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • tony

      Oh the Bible's Truth keeps spilling out, just when it seemed so good..

      October 20, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • DJ


      October 20, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • GLS

      What that is just a narrow mind view – brown face?

      Billy Graham has done more for all races than most.

      He also has "advised" Presidents from all parties including Obama.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  13. stephen

    So much for staying out of politics by playing favorites....would have expected Graham's son to stoop to this level of cronyism but not the elder.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • moroni

      It is funny how a religion so steeped in pagan doctrine tries to rehibilate themseles an call themselves Christain. The latter days you to say the Blacs where a race taht God had cursed then because of public pussre they now can become priests. Then there was the mountain meadow masscure cover and more recently offering Bibles instead of the book of mormon. Although they are good moral people they are very two faced.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  14. Pete

    Just howvmuch money did Romney give that senile ole Graham,bet it was pretty good amount to change that hypocritical Christians mind from where he stood only months ago against the Mormon moron..Romney just making another 8 million from Bain buying out Honeywell in Freeport,Illinois and selling it to the Chinese firm Sensata,shipping it overseas.Making employees there train Chinese employees and if they didn't they'd cut off their benefits,but they did last night closing down the factory for good screwing the employees out of their benefits anyway and you treasonistic republicans want this Mormon pathelogical liar as president,you need your heads examined!!Romney,Tagg are being investigated for a 9 billion dollar ponzi scheme with Allan Stanford who is sentenced to 110 years for this scheme,but the Romneys are still out because they can't find the billions,their lawyers must be great aren't they and again you want him for president,how bout running the penitentiary library at Sing Sing for a couple hundred years ,he'd be good at that wouldn't he,boy you republicans really pick winners don't yah,how pathedic!!!

    October 20, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • jean

      Right Pete, I saw the story on Sensata last night on MSNBC and how Bain is doing business as usual shafting the work force of this country and filling their pockets..and Romney's.. with dirty money. Romney has the nerve to stand there and say he has nothing to say about Bains' dealings because of his "blind Trust" after saying a few years ago that blind trusts were a farce because a person could direct what they want done with their money.. Makes sense. I wish everyone would wake up, pay attention to how Romney made and is still profiting from Bain. It was all done with manipulating money and the stock market and cost hundreds if not thousands of jobs. What is being done is anti American and anti Christian and is still going on. . And Billy Graham rolls over to this man. Why? This man should NOT be president!!

      October 20, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  15. GOD

    I had a good laugh this morning

    October 20, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  16. PA86

    If he thinks that telling Romney that he will do all he can to help him is remaining politically neutral, then he is deceived. If he thinks putting out an ad like this is neutral because it does not specifically name Romney, but is still clear in its intent, then he is playing games with gray areas of advertising, and is also deceived. God gave man freedom. Jesus never told anyone to go force your beliefs on an entire country by rule of law. He said to be "fishers of men", not countries, and that the greatest commandment is to love. That is why choosing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is, a personal choice, and not to be forced by rule of law on anyone. He should be more concerned about individuals personally making that choice by their own free will rather than dabbling in what I can only call "nation Christianity". His position is not in line with the Bible I am reading. Do I agree with some of the choices people across this country make in their lives? No, I can't say that I personally do. But I respect their right to make that choice and to have the freedom to make that choice, and still be treated equally under the law.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • MickeyB

      You are absolutely right....Christianity is all about accepting the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and allowing the process of salvation to conform us as individuals to the image of God....and it's really a matter of choice......never to be imposed. Any christian individual who thinks just having great moral values without actually believing and receiving Jesus in their hearts is enough is unfortunately wrong. The latter can only be likened to self righteousness which is like filthy rags before God....i agree that it is grossly unfortunate that certain moral values that generally were unacceptable are rampantly accepted these days but to tie people's moral values to their basic individual rights and deny such by laws is absolutely wrong.....we cannot win people to Christ by forcing them to imbibe so called christian principles as specified by law.....we can only preach Jesus and allow people make their choice..

      October 20, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  17. Alex Santana

    I am taking notes!! Any company or person who comes out and support RomNuts I am boycotting! So far....Ford Motors, because their spokeman Mike Rowe came out for Romney! Just bought a GM Equinox, but wanted Ford Escap!

    Trace Adkins,country start came out for Romnut, just tossed out his DVDs. Billy Graham is addled old man, he just secures his dementia with that ad. Sad end of a career. Maybe small moves by one person, but the sooner I hear someone or some company comes out for GOP I either cancel a purchase or throw the item away. GE Jack Welch comes out for GOP, I just bought LG washer and dryer...it works like that!! And...my family and friends are following along too. This is how a movement starts. Jeff Foxworthy? He was a lame brain anyway...AS

    October 20, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • GLS

      Wow – so a company doesn't support your candidate and you don't buy from that company. That is your choice but I find that most large organization have both democrats and republicans so you might have trouble getting product you need.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  18. bcrunner

    I am a Christian and for many years I respected Billy Graham. One reason was that he was all about faith and and country and stayed away from politcs. Even though I knew he did not support Bill Clinton politically, he stayed out it for the good of the country. I think last year it was when his son came out and basically said they would not support President Obama. I had hoped that his father would have had a talk with his son, but I guess not. He has lost all respect from me. It is not good for the country that has been torn in half to have prominent people of faith all of a sudden take sides like that.

    October 20, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • jean

      So very sad that in the twilight of his life Billy Graham sells his reputation as a man of God for what..Money? What kind of deal was made behind those closed doors? Can we blame it on Graham being senile? One thing everyone believed was that Mr Graham put his belief in God and Jesus formost and preached the gospel to all regardless. Now he has turned into an ugly, possibly racist ,hypocrite who likely has sold out to a filthy rich Mormon, a religion that he formerly and recently said was not really Christian. Religion and politics do not mix!!

      October 20, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  19. Will4203

    Pseudo Religion Begats Pseudo Morals.....

    October 20, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. NKB

    Tried to go onto the Billy Graham web site to post a comment.......guess what?......the contact portion is Not available..........I guess they had more than One "Negative" comment, and shut it down...................Should have stuck to "Religion" and left Politics alone...... Get ready to pay Big Taxes....

    October 20, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Decency costs Nothing

      Rubbish – it's more than likely overwhelmed with supporters comments!

      Since WHEN did Billy Graham NOT stand his ground for God and Morals? You Muppet!

      October 20, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Name*wayneross


      October 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Re: Decency costs Nothing

      Why do you call this fine person a muppet? Do you, like Romney have something against muppets? I'd venture to say that Big Bird and his muppet friends have done as much good for his country as Billy Graham. But unlike Billy, at least Big Bird stays out of politics.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:37 am |
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About this blog

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.