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. DD

    Franklin Graham needs prayer because he is nothing but a fraud draping himself in religion. How convenient that he is now preaching that prayer should not be partisan when he has been nothing but a partisan, hypocritical, self-serving hack. It is time for the IRS to make an example of churches flaunting the separation of church and state in such as obvious manner as he did, and I vote they start with the Graham organization.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • pattysboi

      fr the article:

      >...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....<

      Frankie is completely nuts. It was most certainly a formal endorsement of Rmoney, and he's just whining because Rmoney LOST. (Thank Heavens!)

      November 23, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Mirosal

      It was his "end run" around the 'no-politics' clause of a non-profit organization. He couldn't come out and say "I'm Franklin Graham, leader of a megachurch, and I endorse Romney"... that would be a clear violation of federal laws governing tax-exempt status.

      November 23, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • dove

      hypocrites whited sepulchres !!!

      November 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Calypso

      Frankly Graham is a fraud? If you are going to accuse the man of fraud, you need to present your evidence, otherwise you are simply spreading slanderous lies.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      compare Franklin Graham's words in this article with the USA Today Editorial he wrote, advising Christians to vote for Rmoney.

      He is a lying hypocrite – by his own words.

      November 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  2. so humble man

    Forbes List of 200 Largest Charities reveals a lot of better managed charities than Franklin's Samaritans Purse. Tell us Franklin why do you pocket way more than $400,000 for a salary for 'helping' people? Helping whom, yourself? Such a humble man. Folks, research and find out who gives over 92% of your donations to the ACTUAL intended people. Samaritans purse is merely typical... that isn't good enough. Frankin needs to account for his greed.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  3. Patricksday

    Thank you Jesus we did not get Corporate Servant Mitt Romney as President, even their attempt to throw the election with the voting machines in Ohio had to of been Divinely protected! Evil has had its day in America and now its time for the Light to shine on it from Sea to shining Sea.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  4. lcleejr

    who cares what franklin graham says. he is buddies with sarah palin, that says it all.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Like his daddy, FRankie is angling for a spot in the WH now that Mr. O is back for the next 4 years and the Dems are having upper hand 😉

    November 23, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  6. Billy

    I was raised to be religious however as I grew up I opened my eyes and saw the world as it truly is, Religion regardless of which one it is is nothing more than a crutch for the weak minded to lean on to get through the day to day stress we call life. Religious orginizations are nothing more than money wanting scams, they try to manipulate the politcal system buy pushing their values onto everyone while at the same time crying to keep their tax expemt status. The world would truly be a better place without any religion..be in christian, muslim, or any of the other hundreds religions that exist.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Mike Grey

      Absolute. Although I imagine there are some good people among the parishioners and the clergy.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • kb

      Religion was created to manipulate the masses. What happen to the separation between the church and goverment?

      November 23, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  7. Dorothy

    So, we have the religious right fighting for 1. Control – so that they can manage women's reproductive systems. 2. Greed – so they can protect their worldly assets from taxes and lawsuits. 3. Injustice – so they can suppress knowledge about the illicit activity of their clergy.

    We have Obama fighting for 1. Care for the poor – so that all people can have access to healthcare, both the poor and the rich. 2. Access to contraceptives – so that families can be planned and children can be born into stable homes – and we can reduce the number of abortions. 3. Equal rights – so that all people can live in legally recognized, loving and committed relationships.

    We have gays fighting for 1. marriage – so they can live in legally recognized monogamous relationships. 2. Family – so they can raise their children in stable households as a couple; 3. Service – so they can defend their country in the military.

    The latter two groups sound very similar to the message of a guy named Jesus. The first group sound strangely like....well, evil personified.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • we arent in kansas anymore

      Well said, Dorothy. The religious 'right' doesn't realize they aren't in Kansas anymore.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  8. whut wood Jeeeezus dew

    The shameless self-promotion mantle passes on from father to son. How precious the moment must be for "America's Gawwwwd" when the position of "America's Pastor" changes hands. Would Jeeeeeezus be a televangelist and rake in millions of dollars over the airwaves? Would Jeeeeeezus promote a presidential candidate and skirt around the law by LYING and say "I didn't support a candidate?

    November 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  9. Ricardo Martinez

    I read a lot of messages of persons angry at God, saying he does not exsist. If he does not exsist then who are you angry at, get over it, if you can't see it, feel it God does not care to hear you, stay angry at Nothing! Fool.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • End Religion

      there is no proof jesus, son of god, ever exited. Since your bible is a known fraud and book of lies, we also know your abrahamic god never existed. In other news, there's no Tooth Fairy. Now move on, already.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      *existed. Of course he exited!

      November 23, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • sam stone

      we are not angry at a being that does not exist. we are wary of the inbred rabble who purport to speak for "him"

      November 26, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • sam stone

      ricardo....take a small pineapple and go know yourself in a biblical manner

      November 26, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  10. Ken

    Can't we all just........get along? – Rodney King

    November 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  11. Floyd from Illinois

    Too late to switch back, Franklin. You lost any credibility when you embraced Mormonism as anything other than a non-Christian cult, for partisan political advantage. I.e., ratting out Christ for temporal authority.

    Apologize for that boneheaded move, and you might again have some cred.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Franklin Romney

      You are right on target.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • LA Ramz

      Amen....Franklin is a sellout to his faith. The Graham's have called Mormonism a cult for years then scrub their website of all negative references to Mormonism, and then tell everyone to support Romney.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  12. adam

    It's time for an Atheist President, the one who truly represents the values of the USA.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Sorry but atheism in no way reflects the values of the American people.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • freeman

      I agree. time for a president that does not believe in a mythical being!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      Unfortunately at this time, to reflect the values of the American people, who seem to value ignorance and fraud above all else, they need to have a religious person in office. But religion is dying, so hopefully rationality will win the day and we will see an atheist President soon.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Calypso

      Yes, that's what they said in Russia, at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, and got Lenin and evenually Stalin (and a succession of other Soviet dictators) and 30 million dead Russians. That's also what they said in China under the leadership of Mao Zedong - where they got 60 million dead Chinese. Yes! Definitely bring out the atheists. Oh, incidentally, you already have your wish.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      @calypso: Debunked and refuted about 10 times a day... we know you wanted to add Hitler, but it isn't just Hitler that makes you look silly.

      The actions of Mao and Stalin were totalitarian. They sought total authority, which means getting rid of religions which would compete with that authority. The pursuit of atheism was not the cause for the bloodshed; it was the pursuit of control over a people.

      November 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      eva: yes it does. get back on your knees, b!tch

      November 26, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  13. adam


    November 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Barbara Ball

      I will pray for him tonight. I will pray that the next four years go fast so I don't have to look at his lying face everyday. By the way, the president doesn't go to church so those who want an atheist for a president-you might just have one now.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      barbara, thanks for the great news!

      November 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Well Barbara....Jesus didn't seem to spend a lot of time in the Temple either.....and when he did he seemed to reek havoc according to the stories....maybe Obama is more reflective of true Christianity than most.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Calypso

      Barbara, you are correct. Obama is no more a religious man, than Karl Marx was. Both are atheists –so Adam already has his wish, although he appears not to possess the discernment to understand.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      Barbara: So, if you don't go to church you are an atheist?

      November 26, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • sam stone

      calypso: so, now you know the true spirituality you've never met?

      you are a pompous dweeb

      November 26, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • sam stone

      calypso: discernment? well, thanks for the clarity of your views

      November 26, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  14. whocareswhatfranklinsays

    Who is this Franklin you speak of? Yawn.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  15. MalcomR

    Adults that believe in things that are self-evidently nonsense (gods, fairies, santa claus, etc.) should be dismissed without further consideration. The fact that they aren't is a sad commentary on how far we H.Saps have to go yet in learning how do deal with that extra bit of gray matter we were blessed (cursed?) with. Monkeys I tell ya. Glorified, flea-picking monkeys.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Evangelical

      How arrogant can you possibly be?

      November 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      Can never be as arrogant as a religious person, who believes a prayer will change a god's will - the very height of arrogance.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • david esmay

      @evangelical, asking a supernatural being to perform certain tasks is not a viable mechanism for change, it's lunacy.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Evangelical


      Prayer doesn't change God's will. Many prayers go unanswered because they are not God's will.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, God's will is GOING to happen, is it not? And if it's going to happen, prayer is pointless because if it lines up with gods will it would happen anyway and if it doesn't line up with god's will it would never happen anyway. What stupidity.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Evangelical


      Your lack of morals is self evident in your disgusting post.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Sue Perlative

      I used to say arrogant things too, before I was converted and believed in God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, one God.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      So now that you've let yourself be manipulated, please explain how your judgement of me and assuming to know the mind of god is OK, while me saying a couple naughty words is worthy of condemning? You've committed any number of sins tonight, and so I hope you've packed your fire-retardant swim trunks for the lake that awaits you beside god's infernal concentration camp.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      "How arrogant can you possibly be?"

      Like purporting to know the mind of god, gash?

      November 26, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  16. Mclark

    I could not care less what this fraud says or thinks. Why does CNN?

    November 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Not a fraud, but a man of God who actually cares about America.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Dorothy

      @evangelical – if he cared about America he would have supported Obama.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Evangelical


      I'm sorry, but Obama supports abortion and ho.mos.exual rights among other things that are abominations to God.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      god has been abundantly clear that he loves gay folks

      November 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • dorothy

      @evangelical – the only thing that is an abomination to God (and probably the only unforgivable sin – as it is a sin against the Holy Spirit) is people such as yourself who actually believe they know the mind of God. Gays are fighting for marriage, family, and military service. All the religious right nuts jobs are fighting for control of women, protecting their assets from taxes, and keeping their clergy out of jail for their illicit activity. The arrogant religious right believe they know the mind of God and can't even see that they are acting like the pharisees of old which was clearly condemned by Jesus.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Evangelical

      The religious right seeks to enforce the commandments set forth in the Bible, the Holy Word of God. It is not the same as knowing the mind of God, but then you knew that and you posted it anyway.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      the bible is the holy word of nothing. It is an instruction manual for simpletons and those who take advantage of them.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Patricksday

      The Grahams have sold their Souls to the God of Greed, Materialism, Selfishness and building your Kingdom here on Earth.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • sam stone

      eva: you are a bigot. and a diseased gash, to boot. go meet jeebus....hopefull with the aid fo a speeding bus

      November 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • sam stone

      "It is not the same as knowing the mind of God..."

      Yes it is.

      You are taking a book written, translated and edited by man and claiming it is the word of god.

      November 26, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  17. popseal

    Franklin has an interesting conversion account. Was a rebellious hard drinker for a while until Dad's message got through to him. Now he heads up an organization that is on the spot where there is a need for disaster help;;;;;;unlike his self styled morally superior critics. Anybdy on line ever see an atheist go somehere to serve the victims of a cruel world....of course not, they're being intterviewed by leftist commentators about the poor dellusional Christians. Arrogant hypocrites don't patch the wounded, feed the hungry, etc. they bask in their own sorry lives.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Dorothy

      I have seen more athiests and agnostics serve the homeless and the poor than any right wing religious nut.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Dorothy

      And the atheists and agnostics do it from the kindness of their heart rather than from fear for their own immortal soul. The former is done out of true charity, the latter is done for self-serving celestial credit.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

      Sorry Dorothy...you're not in Kansas anymore. Those "right wing religious nuts" give more time and money to charity than the secular liberals. As far as i know there are very few secular or atheist organizations that help the poor or needy...they are usually religious and particularly Christian.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • dorothy

      @krodes – actually you can check it out.....there are actually more secular shelters for the homeless and programs for the underserved than ones sponsored by religious organizations. And the secular ones want nothing in return......unlike many of the Christian ones which expect the anaw

      November 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Wrong krodes.....secular and government sponsored shelters and programs serve far more of the homeless and poor and underserved than religious sponsored programs.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm |

      Well Dorothy...you keep on believing that, but i am afraid that every statistic on the subject proves me right...thanks for playing.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Dorothy

      sorry Krodes....check the stats from the National Coalition for the Homeless. The largest number of homeless are served by organizations that do not have any religious affiliation. I'd thank you for playing....but you're obviously not even the game.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      I thought Kroady long ago reached the maximum level any human could be wrong. I see he has surpassed his previous record.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  18. Dorothy

    For most of the nation, the religious right (including the evangelicals and catholic hierarchy), have lost their credibility and moral authority. It has gotten to the point that in order to know what is the right and just thing to do all one has to do is listen to the religious leaders and hierarchy on the right, do the opposite, and you know you'll most likely be right with God.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  19. Humanist11

    Those that believe THEIR religion is the only true religion and everyone else is clearly wrong are dangerous. Like Graham, they feel a responsibility to dictate their world view on the rest of us through legislation. He wants to have the ear of politicians in order to influence laws and this call to prayer is a way of getting political access. Religious and non-religious alike should fight to keep this kind of influence out of government and instead fight for religious freedom in our private lives.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  20. GMC123

    The comments posted here are exactly what's wrong with America. Regardless of your or any belief system....praying to a higher power comforts some. Doesn't matter if you're "left" or "right", or whether you belong to a "cult", doing the right thing is all that matters. Praying for a president to have wisdom is not a bad thing. Did it hurt you or your family? Did it take money out of your pocket? If not, then you shouldn't have anything nasty to say. Go read a different article if it offended you too much.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Humanist11

      The problem is that religion influences political decisions and that does concern me. When laws are passed that are grounded in biblical teachings, people are discriminated against. Graham's actions are an attempt to legitimize religious teaching in government affairs.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:21 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.