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
[twitter-follow screen_name='danmericacnn']

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. WillieLove

    Billy Graham praises the pope, a man who allows himself to be called God (see Blasphemy 101)

    When Billy Graham was on the Phil Donahue show on 10-11-79, he said that pope John Paul II was someone that he could quote with "some real authority." He also said that the world was looking for a spiritual leader and that the pope didn't pull any punches. [Lord have mercy, Jesus]
    For a newspaper clipping showing Graham praising the pope as "almost an evangelist", click here.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • olorinstaff

      Not a practicing Catholic, but no Pope has ever called themselves God. If your gonna hate get your facts straight.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. WillieLove

    Billy Graham receives honorary degree from Catholic college

    Billy Graham received an honorary doctorate from Catholic priests at Belmont Abbey College in 1967. He called it, "a time when Protestants and Catholics could meet together and greet each other as brothers, whereas 10 years ago they could not". He joked around, "I'm not sure but what this could start me being called "Father Graham".
    ("Belmont Abbey Confers Honorary Degree," Paul Smith, Gazette staff reporter, The Gastonia Gazette, Gastonia, North Carolina, Nov. 22, 1967).

    November 30, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Darwinsdad

      WillieLove seems to be full of PlentyHate!

      November 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  3. WillieLove

    Billy Graham thinks that infants can become Christian through baptism

    But the Bible says that by the works of the flesh shall no man be justified. Baptism comes after faith in Jesus Christ. Look what Billy Graham told the Lutheran Standard in October 1967,
    "I do believe that something happens at the baptism of an infant... we cannot fully understand the mysteries of God, but I believe that a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, MADE CHRISTIAN, THROUGH INFANT BAPTISM."

    November 30, 2012 at 4:29 am |
  4. WillieLove

    Billy Graham let apostate Catholic Bishop bless new converts

    In 1962, a Roman Catholic bishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, blessed the people that came forward at the invitation. (Daily Journal, International Falls, Minnesota, Oct. 29, 1963, cited by the New York Times, Nov. 9, 1963).
    Those poor people came to Graham for help and he let an idolator bless them. Has he not read that behind every idol is a devil? Yet he let that man "bless" the people of God.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:29 am |
  5. WillieLove

    Billy Graham befriends heretics

    Based on what I've read, this apparently is not an uncommon practice by Billy Graham. In 1959, he had the liberal Bishop James A. Pike lead in prayer at one of his events. Yet Pike said in an episcopal letter: "Religious myth is one of the avenues of faith and has an important place in the communication of the Gospel." He called the garden of Eden a myth and said, "The virgin birth... IS A MYTH which churchmen should be free to accept or reject..."
    What I've supplied here don't even touch the tip of the iceberg of Billy Graham's cozy relationships with heretics.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:28 am |
  6. WillieLove

    Billy Graham gives stamp of approval on practically every Bible version that comes out

    In fact, I cut out one of his endorsements for the "New Living Translation." He says, "...I am pleased to recommend the New Living Translation for even greater readability and accuracy." The authorized King James is highly readable and pinpoint accurate. People been getting saved by reading the authorized King James and they've been growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through it. There is no need for another "translation." But the devil will keep 'em coming.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:28 am |
  7. Mkikijoe

    Let's not forget that Franklin Graham insulted over a billion Moslems on this planet by saying that, "Islam only leads to the grave".

    It's a wonder that there is no fatwa on him.

    With him, it's Christ's way ........ or the highway.

    Gee, I wonder if he thinks Hindus or Buddhists can go heaven.

    Or do THOSE religions also just "lead to the grave".

    November 30, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  8. AmericanLiberal

    Now there's showing a little class...

    Good job Franklin – The election is over, time to move on

    I just might pray too... maybe we all should

    November 30, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  9. GayAtheist

    No one cares what Franklin Graham thinks.. Once the old man goes to hell, that's it...his 15 minutes is over.

    November 30, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  10. JJHenryJr

    Good Grief!

    November 30, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  11. GrowUp

    This Graham is even nuttier than his father!! Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings. 'Nuff said.

    November 30, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  12. MikeB59

    Now that Romney lost, is the LDS back on the Grahams' list of cults?

    November 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  13. gman tello

    please support our troops


    November 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  14. Dave

    Graham is a self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, would-be power broker. He should quietly pray for himself.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Gecul


      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  15. Jo

    Pray for yourselves Grahams!!!!! gather up some of the millions you took from others and give it to the homeless!!!!!!You do not have a pipe line to God!!!! Nor The Plan of Salvation!!!!!!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Juanita

      Jo, they have given millions to the homeless.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Gecul

      Where does that info come from, Juanita??

      November 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  16. cleareye1

    Just another Elmer Gantry looking for some cash.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  17. K Kim

    I hope all Christians will pray for Pres Obama to be filled with knowledge of God's will and for God's will to be done through him for he is -for better or for worse; whether you like him or not- God's choice to lead the U.S. God's will will be done regardless but if Pres Obama goes against God's will, God may take away his authority to rule while leaving him in power (like God did with King Saul) which will likely result in Pres focusing on retaining his power rather than leading the people or have ordinary Americans pay a heavy price (like when King David went against God's will) for President's sins against God.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • GrowUp

      Are you actually crazy or just dumb?

      November 30, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • sam stone

      if you want "god's will" to be part of government, move elsewhere

      November 30, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  18. ja

    what about billy, at one time did't he call the mormon church a cult, when convienient flip, flop, (hypocrisy) the man is a bit old, with all due respect (a time and season for all things)

    November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • cleareye1

      Billy was an effective speaker, even almost got me to walk down the aisle, but at the last second I was saved by my rational spirit screaming in my ear, "you fool, you fool!"

      November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  19. Billsf

    Obama doesn't need prayers. He needs republicans who care more about their country than their own private bank accounts!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Herm

      Well the Religious Rights "prayers" weren't answered regarding Mitt-so I guess they have to try again...

      November 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  20. Billsf

    Now that Romney lost, will they go back to calling Mormonism a cult,lol?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
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.