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
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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. Alain

    I honestly don't understand how these people can be so obsessed with keeping marriage "between a man and a woman" while touting "biblical values," all the while ignoring social justice.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • srcactus

      Marriage is and always has been a religious rite. Civil unions or civil marriages are an act of government and not a rite. (Look up the spelling). The religious are defending a rite not objecting to people loving, sharing and living together. Marriage includes the procreation by the joining of a man and a woman. Live and let live! We are what we are.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • .

      Nothing wrong with social justice. If you wanna marry your boyfriend, knock your lights out. And consummate yourselves until you can't sit down.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      srcactus: since marriage is licensed by the government, the government determines what marriage is or isn't

      November 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  2. realfreeenterpriser

    Perhaps instead of praying for President Obama, who advocates the Christian sharing of voluminous wealth to help our fellow travellers, Graham and his supporters should remember the words of Jesus; "It is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" and pray for themselves while asking forgiveness for their greedy, grasping indifference to less fortunate American.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  3. Sarkar

    Please pray for Islamophobe hate priest and loser Franklin Graham. May God guide him so that he does not spread hateful messages anymore.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  4. PoBoy

    Franklin, if you were a real Christian you would have been telling these Pastors to pay for the President long before the election. Instead, you and your father went out of your way to try and defeat him. You can keep your prayers now!

    November 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • santa claws

      well put... Billy and his boy be BUSTED! I especially loved the way they denied (probably 3 times) any association with political influence. A family of weasels. Wish they weren't from my home state.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  5. Gerry Daley

    Franklin Graham's greatest contribution would be to just shut his stupid mouth and lay low. He's a hater from the git go.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  6. Miss Demeanor

    So when is Billy Graham going to publish his own version of the bible and sell autographed copies? Nothing is too tacky for his cult.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  7. what would Jesus do

    The Grahams obviously aligned themselves with Mutt, then, hypocrites that they are claimed they didn't get involved politically. That is how their cult operates in every small town they are in. Since when is deceit a 'family value' ? Hypocrites. Liars. Greedy pigs pocketing millions intended for the poor. That's their legacy.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • so it goes

      well put. their sleazy, low-class act needs to close. maybe the internet age will usher in Christianity based on love, not hate. They have skewed the message of Christ into a politically-based dogma that divides people where it shouldn't. it is the same approach they have used for over a hundred years... but always, they inflame witch-hunters (NOTE: if you are a fundamentalist, that is a metaphor... not intended to be taken literally).

      November 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • kent adsit

      thank you very much for saying what is so so true.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Darkness

      Isn't it interesting that Graham believed Mormonism was a cult prior to his meeting with Romney. Then it wasn't. Now that the election is over, suddenly it's a cult again–all of which is verifiable on Graham's web site and with a simple search through Google's archive of it. These people are the worst kind of hypocrites, and I can't believe anyone finds their spiritual guidance useful or valuable.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  8. @revjeffhood

    Please pray for Franklin Graham...

    November 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  9. Greg

    Is Franklin trying to gain his soul back after selling it out to the false prophet?

    November 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Donald in CA

    Since Franklin has become a serious far right winger he should pray for himself.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Tim

    In parallel with praying I say we let our republican house representatives know that we'll hold them responsible if they keep doing what they did the first 4 yrs of Obama administration - that is to block vital legislation.

    They need to stop being the straw men for the Wall Street financiers, and stop blocking fair taxation legislation.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  12. Evangelical

    Happy Thanksgiving, Franklin, to you and your family!

    November 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      Franklin....walk in front of a bus....and take Evangelical with you

      November 26, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  13. Ben

    No longer impressed at all with the Graham family. No longer have my support at all. .

    November 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Right there with you. Friends used to disparage evangelical ministers, especially guys like Baker, Swaggart, etc. I used to stick up for Billy, say that he was a good genuine guy. After this election I no longer believe that to be the case

      November 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  14. Jay

    Pray for Obama? Given the history here, the only prayer I can imagine Franklin Graham saying for President Obama is one to turn him into a Republican. I'm not terribly worried, though. God's track record on answering Graham prayers is, in my estimation, very good. Obama was re-elected, after all, and Romney won't be in a position to lower his taxes by raising mine. Thank you, God!

    November 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • realfreeenterpriser

      Well put, God bless!

      November 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  15. MaryM

    Franklin is NOT a Christian. Christians, do not believe a word this cretin says

    November 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  16. what gawwwwd wants

    The Grahams remind me of the old joke where after taking up the collection, the 'minister' tosses it into the air and says, "What gawwwd wants, he'll take" ... so whatever lands ends up in Frankin & Billy's hands... Don't know where they got the idea that Jesus wants them to have an opulent lifestyle...

    November 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  17. Chris

    Sounds like someone doesn't want to be on the outside looking in......

    November 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  18. rdeleys

    To paraphrase Diderot, we will not be free until the last Fox News anchor is strangled with the entrails of the last fundamentalist preacher.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Why is this man publicized?

    He was the loser son of Billy Graham who is now become a hate-evangical.

    Does he seriously believe the United States is exceptional in the eyes of God? Where in his Bible is this stated?

    November 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Evangelical

      In what sense does Franklin Graham hate?

      November 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Atheists get out

      if you don't beleive the United States is exceptional, get the hell out!

      November 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Another Evangelical

      @Evangelical – just because someone doesn't have an inflated nationalist ego does not make them bad Christians or unpatriotic. Your intolerance positions you closer to a religious fanatic than to a true Evangelical.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      evangelical: because he wants to deny others their civil rights

      November 26, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  20. cosprons

    Hey Graham, prayer is the least efficacious activity for accomplishing anything! If you want the President, divest the republcian party and youself of your narrow minded views on the social reality of the 21st century. Try reading Darwin and Stephen Hawking!

    November 22, 2012 at 1:53 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.