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. RE McCray

    Pure rich white trash pastor. They should be taxed as a for-profit since they are expressing political opinions. Pray for your sole bigot.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Nope!

      If you can post such garbage, you are telling on yourself that you are 'pure collored' thrashy mouth!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • trailer trash barbie

      Sweet... I'm sending each Graham a trailer-trash Barbie for Christmas. I agree. They have a lot of gold coins in a sack in the trunks of their big trailer-trash-caddie's.... tax the frauds

      November 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  2. Aneriz

    I agree with Franklin.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  3. L G

    I have no respect for Franklin G. and have now loss all respect for Billy–why did they change their position on Mitt R. faith–election/race!!!!

    November 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  4. Humanist11

    How arrogant of Graham. Does he think that prayer will convince a supposed perfect god with a perfect plan to change it just because humans ask him to? Must we kiss his hind parts in order to get mercy for our sinning ways?

    The elder Graham's assertion that god is punishing us economically for becoming a more secular nation is absurd. We are more secular because we are more educated, exposed to varying points of view through the internet and better able to apply reason to our lives. The days of religion calling the shots are numbered and they are certainly feeling the heat!

    November 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Fred Derf


      November 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • right4life

      Yes, lets apply reason to our lives. Who's definition of reason? You've stated in your post about "sinning ways". So we listen to someone who has lied and may in the future or Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  5. NotFooledByDistractions

    I have a hard time associating true christianity with franklin graham. He's nothing but a coattailer...reaping the benefits of his fathers work and name. franklin is nothing but a con man and huckster.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Humanist11

      That is exactly what religion is and always has been.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  6. george wheeldon

    Why doesn't Franklin become a Mormon Bishop? Seems he likes cults.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Violette

      Yes the Graham's website listed Mormons as a cult until the infamous meeting with Billy and Mitt. Gee when did you decide that Sir?? A concession for supporting a candidate? It seems things really are a-changin'.

      November 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • so true

      birds of a feather flock together... (though it makes it easier to target them...)

      November 23, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  7. happyfrenchman

    Only a christian can say "I am praying for you" with the same intent as "F U"! This serpent is the latest money changer in the temple.... Christ threw them out and was dead in a week.... and they have been back in ever since.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  8. Mac

    Pope's book on Jesus challenges Christmas traditions
    There is your FABLE and FAIRY TALE
    THE BIBLE IS A FABLE FIND YOUR TRUE FAMILY with the National Geographic DNA family tree test OK

    November 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  10. shoos

    Pray for politically active pastors to quit pushing their personal agendas.

    November 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • nope


      November 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  11. slrman

    As always, the religious reich reverses its field and tries to make us believe they were always in favor of a winner. That's just one more lie among the millions religion has told to try to keep the ignorant and gullible under control

    Fortunately, those days are ending. Not to worry, you can still go away and form your own country. You'll be taking the most ignorant and useless one with you. Lots of luck!

    November 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  12. John Watson

    I HAVE prayed for hussain obama every day since he became? president,we all know he was not ELECTED,Prayed GOD would remove him from our midst &back to the HELLHOLE he came from....AMEN

    November 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • slrman

      Fortunately for you, prayer is useless as is believing in any religion. Also fortunately for you, willful stupidity is not a crime. Tell us, exactly how and when was Obama not elected? By the popular vote? By the Electoral College vote? Because you right wing-nuts failed to buy the election? Or was it because the American people rejected your racist, hateful view of America? I will n ot hold my breath waiting for an answer. Mental and moral cowards always run instead of answering direct questions.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • jordans

      JW may all you pray for obama be your lot, you are very sad and disturbed creature.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • andtheslitheytoves

      You are emotionally disturbed. Get help.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Obama won both the popular and electoral by quite a large margin. Certainly better than Bush's loss by 500,00 when he still became pres. anyway. Obama is 10 times more legit as our Pres than Bush ever was.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  13. JJ

    Pray for America, the Hell with Obama!

    November 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Rod

      How "Christian" of you (spoken as a non-believer).

      November 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • slrman

      That's a typical christian answer, full of intolerance and hate. It also marks you as a sore loser. Are you going to leave the country, too? If so, I'll pay your way.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  14. Rod

    Yadayadayada... Who cares what that man or his father has to say?!

    November 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  15. michaelelijah

    Weather you love or hate christianity I hear the same old intolerance from those who preach it the most. There is such a thing as God's perfect will versus his permissive will–Saul and David and the OT and NT of the bible do say pray for your leaders. All of them!!!

    November 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  16. prayforurself

    @Franklin Graham – being that he is the President of the United States, has been and will be for the next 4 years – you should have been asking people to pray for him and the country all along. You all the other false Messengers need to stop using the Bible to further divide the country. America please pray for Franklin Graham – he really needs it.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  17. John/kc

    And religious right are the ones that are going to interpret to us what God's message is in the Bible? How fasinating!

    November 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  18. HopefullyNot2Late

    Some of the most powerful clergy in America used their influence to spread hate against this president. It won't be so easy to turn that page with all the hate groups reawaken. It's no different than if CDC purposely put out a seriously contagious disease into the atmosphere and then decide they shouldn't have. The contagious disease, once out there, they lose control of it. The disease mutates and changes over and over again many times to the point of being unrecognizable from its beginnings or who and how severely those who catch it will be affected.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  19. suptally

    I am so disappointed in Franklin Graham's views. I grew up watching Rev. Billy Graham and so ashamed how his son has helped to divide the nation. We already have enough hatred among the races, it is shameful that the likes of Franklin Graham, Huckabee, and Pat Robertson contribute to the fray.

    The God I serve is not one of confusion. The Bible says a house divided cannot stand. These individuals have helped Republicans to divide the nation. If my people who are called by my name shall HUMBLE.....................We must do it God's way or no way

    November 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      My grandfather was close friends with Billy Graham and what Franklin is doing in the name of his father is disgusting. Bllly was NEVER political and only offered counsel to leaders who sought him out. He never got involved in the political process – ever. Franklin sees his father's ministry as a moneymaker for himself and he is a fraud and no Christian. Franklin gave Billy hell growing up – drugs, motorcycle gangs, dropping out of school, rejecting all faith but suddenly when he had no job and had been kicked out of his father's house, Franklin suddenly realized the money he could make inside the ministry. I never liked or trusted Franklin. I met him years ago and thought he was nothing more than a fraud out for money. He has shamed his father's great ministry. The IRS should go after him since he is so very much in the political scene.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  20. mike proctor

    Now you see where the pope is changing the views of what Xmas mean to the whole world. These are the same people who re-wrote the book on marriage. The heads of these religious groups change the meaning of what God indicated in the bible to keep their groups in line and will stay within the groups forever. Believe it or not, it was God will President Obama finish what God wanted brought forward. I mean even Mother Nature voice her opinion in this election.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • dsk

      @mike proctor

      'God' did not indicate anything in 'the bible'. It was these '...heads of ... religious groups' which decided what was to be included/omitted from the Canon. Have you actually read your Bible through anything other than a devotional lens?

      November 22, 2012 at 7:48 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.