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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. Wade

    Every pastor that says the bible is CLEAR that marriage is between a man and a women are lying.

    The bible does not say that! Read if for yourself!!! Jesus quoted from Abraham about a man and a women becoming one flesh which meant procreation. The one flesh is a child. Abraham had 2 wives and many men of the Old Testament had multiple wives...King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. You can't say that Jesus quoting from Abraham was his endorsement for 1 women 1 man when Abraham himself had 2 wives!!!...that's crazy. Even early Christians had multiple wives which is why Paul said if you're going to minister you have to only have 1 wife. It wasn't until group marriage was made illegal that the 1 women 1 man became more mainstream in society.

    December 11, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  2. USDude

    This post is for the person out there that is struggling with something or has questions about God.

    Step 1 – Take the Roman road outlined below in order. If you don't own a Bible, google the verses.
    It will be the most important "road" you have ever traveled.

    1. Romans 3:10
    2. Romans 3:23
    3. Romans 5:8
    4. Romans 5:12
    5. Romans 6:23
    6. Romans 10:9-11
    7. Romans 10:13

    Step 2 – Say the following prayer, "Lord, I know I am an sinner and I'm sorry for all the bad things I have done.
    I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Lord Jesus, come into my heart and be the Lord of my life."

    Step 3 – Did you say the prayer in step 2 and believe with all your heart? If so, welcome to the family of God!
    If not, that's ok, please cut and paste these steps into a file on your computer for a later time when you are ready.

    Step 4 – Now it's time to start reading the Word of God. Purchase a Bible if you can, if not, search the web for
    free online Bibles – there are many! Start reading the New Testament – I recommend starting with 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John
    then Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Make reading the Bible something you do each and every day! This is a
    very important step!

    Step 5 – Find a church and start attending as often as you can. Volunteer your to help out when you are able.
    It's important to worship with other people. Begin to seek out Christian friends.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  3. tony

    Working on keeping the Tax exemption. Nothing else matters.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  4. carly

    I pray that hypocrites like Graham stop telling other people what to do or think.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  5. steve mcclendon

    graham, bigotry, prejudice, senility, narrowmindedness, idiocy, stupidity

    December 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  6. steve mcclendon

    graham has gone senile

    December 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  7. RockInD

    It is the responsibility of our government to "solve these monumental problems without the help of Almighty God". Individuals may rely upon him with their own interpretation as they deem fit, much as Franklin Graham has. We certainly don't need a government to define 'Moral Decline" and I'm not sure most Americans would agree with Mr Graham on what moral decline is. Many believe what he see's as Moral Decline to be Moral Accent.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  8. Ricky Gibson

    Maybe someone can help–was the Mormon church put BACK on the list of cults by Graham's website after the election, seeing as Romney is no longer an item?

    December 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • kirk

      all governments are corrupt, what side is god on?

      December 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  9. WillieLove

    Graham's need prayer to be strong and not get in bed with the Roman Catholic church

    December 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  10. vada

    I think Franklin should pray for him and his father. During the Watergate affair, there were suggestions that Graham had agreed with many of Nixon's anti-Semitic opinions, but he denied them and stressed his efforts to build bridges to the Jews. In 2002, the controversy was renewed when declassified "Richard Nixon tapes" confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Nixon three decades earlier. Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. He went considerably beyond that in offensive remarks characterized as anti-Semitic by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and evangelical author Richard Land.

    When the tapes were made public, Graham apologized [56][57] and said, "Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon ... some 30 years ago

    December 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • WillieLove

      wouldn't be surprised if Graham was put in there to act like a baptist by the RCC church. they have done evil acts all over the world to get their way.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  11. Wrathbrow

    "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."
    This old line again. People have this antenna to god in how god views things. And that antenna is in perfect tune with then have an opinion (god did this good thing, god is punishing for this bad thing). But when questioned about why a child gets cancer, the answer is of the nature of god works in mysterious ways, the antenna is not working right now, please try again later when you have a different question.
    Maybe god is causing problems because people a long time ago wrote their dislike for gays, men with long hair, and other things that god does not like. Or maybe the reasons for bad things and good things are more complex in the real world and take real reason, understanding, adjustment, struggle, adaptation, effort to really understand and make changes for the better. But that's not easy and may not be as comforting to people.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  12. Blame Bush

    Franklin, tell you dad to avoid politics. He stuck his nose into Nixon's messes long ago and got a dirty face for it.

    I thought he'd learned his lesson; IIRC he apologized for his incursion into Nixon's cesspool and promised to not go there again. But go there he did in 2012, walking back his "belief" that Mormonism is a cult; it is, and so is Scientology, et al.

    There's NO place for religion in our government, laws, and politics.

    Please stay on YOUR side of the First Amendment and the separation of church FROM state.

    December 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  13. Laura518

    The only pastor I ever had respect for was Billy Graham. He was high profile, but stayed out of politics. Well, his legacy was destroyed, as far as I am concerned, with his endorsement of Romney. Although I suspect he did this because he is elderly now, together with his son's influence. I think it should be pretty clear by now that while most Americans are religious, they do NOT want the bible brought into politics. Furthermore, the Republicans only pandered to the evangelical Christians for the votes. That isn't working for them anymore.....I can't wait for the Republicans to drop their anti-gay and anti-choice stances because it is no longer politically helpful.....then the Christian right will see if for the ruse that it was.

    December 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • bob

      VERY well put Lura 518

      December 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Blame Bush

      Laura, I agree fully, but there was a time when Billy Graham got more than a bit dirty by palling around with Nixon.

      Read this story for more: http://observer.com/2002/03/billy-graham-nixon-and-antisemitism/

      December 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  14. James

    What a hipocrite.

    December 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Patricia Kraybill

      To James. My thoughts exactly. What a hypocrite !

      December 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  15. Oregon

    This is nauseating. Rev. Frank Graham better pray for himself. I've heard his race-baiting, unchristian jabs at other religious groups, and kowtowing to the wealthy interests bankrolling the Republican Party. Maybe he learned it from his father – do you remember the Nixon tapes?

    December 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  16. bware

    Man, oh man this is the last guy I want praying for anyone. The man is living off his fathers name, which he shamelessly used during the past election by having the Republican candidate visit him, while at the same moment removing references to the Morman religion from his website. He obviously has no shame.

    December 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  17. parrish

    Yes, it's a strange & perverse ideology. I had naively presumed it was God's plan to have us live in peace. I truly, truly hate it when men turn religion–whether true or invented– into a weapon. It is no wonder that so many brilliant minds are fearful of even looking at any religion.

    December 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • parrish

      **Sorry! I had meant to reply to a previous poster's comment on how the Book of Mormon said black people had sinned. I am NOT referring to Mr. Graham's advice to pray for our president. Sorry. Yes please, let's pray for him & all the world's leaders.

      December 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  18. YAHYA SUILAMAN

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/07/276747/zionism-and-nazism-work-hand-in-hand/

    December 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  19. parrish

    Given the seemingly infinite scope of the universe, how is it possible for anyone to believe in "American Exceptionalism"? Rather would I expect God to believe in "Life Exceptionalism" or something similar. These narrow-minded views are the number one cause of war: "We're right, & you (not being us) are wrong. Therefore, it is acceptable that we kill you". Dense thinking coming from a religious leader.

    December 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • steve mcclendon

      the older graham did it because he has gone senile. The younger one is a total imbecile

      December 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  20. cave man

    The USA is not rach because of God's approval, but because of Satan's. Money is not God's reward for morality.

    December 9, 2012 at 9:56 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.