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. Damocles

    Atheists believe in self-anhilation after death: There is nothing after this life.
    Atheists believe that there are no gods, goddess or higher powers.
    Atheists believe that everyone should believe the same way they do.
    Atheists have groups of people that actively engage in converting people to their way of believing.
    Atheism is a religion, just like any other religion. Atheism is as extreme as christian fundamentalism.
    If you'd like to be your own person, try being Agnostic. You can do as you please, believe as you please and be a good person without having to believe in what other people demand of you.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Gregonion

      atheists don't "believe" anything. they come to logical conclusions about the world based upon human observation aka science.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Most atheists are also agnostics since theism and gnosticism are two completely non-mutually exclusive states. Theism deals with belief in gods, gnosticism with knowledge of god. Agnostic atheists neither claim to have knowledge of spiritual matters nor believe in any gods. Educate yourself on the terms to keep from appearing ignorant.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  2. Camcan

    What do Atheists believe?

    November 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Wow

      What do Atheists believe? They do have a belief system. They do 'live" by it. They do believe in total annihilation after death. They do believe that there isn't a god, goddess or greater power...they do have followers that they teach to believe the same things.

      Yes, Atheism is a religion.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • nope

      "Yes, Atheism is a religion."

      nope, all you are proving is Christians are stupid.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ nope...you're kinda dumb yourself you git. Didn't you read about being Agnostic on the original post? Of course Wow isn't a christian. Man, you prove how stupid atheists are. LOL!

      November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • MikeB59

      Athiests believe in science.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • AmericanLiberal

      well their head honcho Dawkins says we was all made by aliens...

      yee-haw, stellar science thar buddies

      Shee-it gomer

      Yew Christians is sooo dum

      November 30, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  3. Wow

    I sure would like a "DEEP THROATED endorsement from Franklin Graham!" Seems like it would feel really nice!

    November 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  4. Koni

    The Prophetess Ellen G. White (1827-1915) had a word from God, that will certainly offend some. "It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday Sabbath: that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until SUNDAY OBSERVANCE shall be strictly enforced." Great Controversy p. 589-591.
    That leaves the Jews and those who observe the 7th Day of Rest in honor of their creator, out of the picture, with only the Ten Commandments written by Gods own hand, to come out of hiding, so we can examine WHO is GOD? And which day did He Create to celebrate LIFE He created. Can the Pope take us to heaven? away from the holocaust predicted for earth?

    November 29, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  5. Pravda

    Goodness knows he needs Prayer. Most incompetent President that I can remember, all the way back to and including Carter...

    November 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      he is cleaning up a mess left by smirk

      November 29, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Wow

      @ pravda, oh, you're talking about Bush Jr. You seem to be behind a bit...

      November 29, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  6. demo Joseph

    Now that's what give religion a bad name. People like Graham.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • arturo Cruz

      thats man made religion for you... Graham above that... we must pray for our leaders .. its God choice ... we can only obey

      November 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      all religion is man made

      November 29, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  7. demo Joseph

    Well if he was a Romney man, I know what kind of church man he is.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Brett

    Ironic that athiests come to the belief (or faith) blog.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • sam stone

      how so, brett?

      i think athiests are amused by the pompousness of the True Believers.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • sam stone

      also, Brett, it is a belief blog, and atheists have beliefs. are you hurt because people do not accept the same stories you do? if so, put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Think of it as doctors going to where the mentally ill hang out so that many can be helped, and the spread of religion stopped, more efficiently.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  9. Tony

    Franklin, the President does not need prayers from a cocaine and myth user like you, idiot and a hypocrite. You see, Obama did just fine despite your raciist and hate that you put out there, so go find a rock and crow under and never be heard or seen ever.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Brett


      If past use of drugs indicates that someone is still a user (as you imply), then are you calling Obama a drug user, too? I mean, he admitted in his book that he got high and was a junkie pothead (those were his words used to describe himself) in high school and college. So, maybe you should call out Obama, too, instead of discriminating against people you disagree with.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • sam stone

      brett...i guess that would include shrub, too. in fact, i would imagine that most of our presidents used some kind of recreational drug or another

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  10. Brett

    Interesting, and ironic, that CNNs belief blog draws a lot of athiests (or so-called athiests)...I guess they really do have faith and are just disguising it with well-worn and old arguments against faith. Otherwise, they would be congregating at an athiest blog.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Camdog

      it's about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      Atheism is a belief, Brett. Why should they not come to a Belief Blog?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Saraswati

      I'm guessing those who are really into their atheism or Christianity or whatever also participate on sites for their own specific belief. And I can't imagine more than a handful of people find commenting in the same arena for more than a few weeks very interesting.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Primewonk

      I come to correct the lies and miss-information put forth by many of the theists here. Not only are many of these theists ignorant, but they are proud of that ignorance, and wear it as a badge of honor.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  11. donner

    Romney surrogates donated 3 million dollars to the Graham ministeries. One week later, the Graham ministeries purchased one million dollars worth of advertising urging people to vote for Romney. you do the math.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Why would people need to pray that "God would accomplish His will and purposes"? That's a silly, pointless suggestion. Supposedly, God's "will and purposes" are unaffected by anything people do (which begs the question of how prayer could ever have any effect at all), but Mr Graham is suggesting God's will won't happen unless people pray that it does. Sorry to vent, but these types of silly prayers annoy me.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • davidhoffelmeyer

      I hate these comment columns. Everyone's an expert here! Please remember that you are a real person. And there are other real people just like you who have voices and perspectives and– believe it or not– feelings! Why not treat other people with a bit more humility and kindness? I guess that would rob you of your opportunity to prove how perfect your worldview is. Oh for shame!

      November 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Hannibal

      David – Tom Sawyer was merely posting his own perspective (as you put it) without attacking anyone. How was that unkind to anyone?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  13. Elmer

    Mormonism teaches that all men are Gods, which is the opposite of Christianity. Maybe we should be praying for Franklin Graham since he has endorsed it so wholeheartedly.

    November 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  14. Sutalleesue

    Obama is doing just fine. You should pray for yourself because you are doomed for the hot seat in hell because of you and your daddy's crooked schemes to get rich off of the poor and ignoranr folks that have been sending you their social security checks for years.

    November 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  15. Brother Maynard

    It is obvious that Obama IS on the side of GOD. Not sure why we have to PRAY... the PRAYER already worked
    PROOF?? Huricane SANDY sent by GOD to hijack media attention away from the election. To suspend Romney from campaigning and to give Obama the opportunity to show that he IS the leader of the US by visiting the area and deploying FEMA help. Obama is the peace maker ... even NJ govenor C Christie was converted.
    __END__ sarcasm

    See how easy it is to twist and manipulate "prayer" into any thing you wish ?

    November 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • gdouglaso

      I want to believe that there must be better ways you could spend your time.

      November 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  16. Rufus T. Firefly

    It would be nice if Christians truly believed in the power of prayer. Then they might stop throwing their weight into politics, meddling in other people's lives, and constantly asking for money. If prayer worked, these actions would be entirely unnecessary.

    November 26, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Tom Sawyer

      @Rufus – I agree.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Impeccable logic as always your exellency.

      November 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Angel Moronic

    Hey Frankie: Good idea of going with the WINNER all the time !!!!

    November 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 26, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
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      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian

      November 26, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 26, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  19. Lion

    Since when has praying achieved anything? Except to make more money to charlatans who say these things to make more money? Send them love gifts all you gullible idiots.

    November 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • William

      Lion, charlatans aside and there are many out there, one Truth remains. The only prayer that will achieve anything for a person who has not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the prayer of repentance. God loves you, and Christ shed his blood on the Cross as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. As a Christian, I cannot prove to you the existence of God or the reality of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. However, after Christ ascended to Heaven, He sent us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And, at some point in your life, the Holy Spirit has dealt with your Spirit whether you are willing to admit it or not. To this point, judging from your own statements, you have rejected this calling from the Lord God. Surrender your prideful will to His, and you will begin a life of Joy that you have never imagined. You will have fellowship with your creator, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and no human being will have to prove anything to you. My prayer is that you will not continue to live in darkness and will receive the abundant life that the Lord promises all who call upon His Name.

      November 25, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      William, you do not any evidence for any of your claims. You are delusional, a liar or both. Please seek help to get out of your death cult.

      November 26, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • William

      I will pray for you also OG. The Lord does not want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. Only an irrational person could deny the existence of God, however He has given you free will. You may accept his amazing gift of eternal life or spend eternity separated from Him.

      November 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Sam Stone

      "The Lord does not want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance."

      Nonsense. God is omniscient, right? God knows who will or not be saved, but created those he knew were inevitably bound for Hell. Why? Is that the sign of a loving god?

      "Only an irrational person could deny the existence of God"


      "You may accept his amazing gift of eternal life or spend eternity separated from Him."

      I do not desire eternal life

      I find it intersting that some folks desire eternity with a being from whom they feel they need to be "saved".

      Sounds like a spiritual Stockholm Syndrome

      Anyway, William, you undoubtedly know people who are not "saved"

      Are they decent, kind people?

      Are you comfortable with the idea of them being tormented forever?
      Are you comfortable with ETERNITY with the being that would sentence them to that?

      November 27, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Sam Stone

      "Only an irrational person could deny the existence of God"

      Also, William, how do begin to equate rationality with faith?

      They are two separate things

      November 27, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      William, if your "god" really is omniscient, then free will does not exist, because the outcomes are already known.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      William, you have provided only more words and claims, no proof or evidence at all. My question goes unanswered – are you mentally ill, a liar or both?

      November 27, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Sam Stone

      "As a Christian, I cannot prove to you the existence of God or the reality of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ"

      Fair enough

      "However, after Christ ascended to Heaven..."

      Wait, you said you cannot prove it, then you appear to speak of speak of it as if it is a fact.

      which is it,a fact or a belief?

      November 27, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Believers are merely engaged in the biggest and oldest fantasy role playing game. When teenagers fail to move past Fantastic games we worry about about their maturity and mental health. When believers in gods do not mature, we put them on pedestals and elect them. We are collectively mentally ill but getting healthier as evidenced by the increase of those with no religious affiliation.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • sam stone

      I see William is another cut and run Christian. Ho hum

      November 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Brett

      Lion, you said:

      "William, if your "god" really is omniscient, then free will does not exist, because the outcomes are already known."

      Just because God knows something will happen, doesn't mean that free will is non-existent. God just knows what someone will choose.

      How does that make free will non-existent?

      November 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • sam stone

      "How does that make free will non-existent?"

      Because everything is known.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  20. the AnViL
    November 24, 2012 at 1:10 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.