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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. Harmony

    Why would a gunman open fire on a group of innocents???Why?? Where is God? I appreciate the comments of love and goodwill. The hate comments are appalling. God is not the author of violence. God is not the author of hate. God is the only source of love, it is unlimited and His grace is over-abundant. It is our free choice to love and follow Him or follow Satan, the author of hate, violence, & crime. Surely we do not believe that we can be fed violent movies, criminal actions, hateful words and still be loving, gentle people. Adults cannot hate and expect to raise kind, loving, well-adjusted children. Surely we do not believe the absence weapons would automatically fill our hearts with love? Surely we are smart enough to recognize the power of choice. We are not hapless humans. We choose everyday. We choose to be hateful of America, the Grahams, our parents, etc. God's Spirit within hearts produces a safe environment. It produces a heart that could not open fire on others, no matter how many guns they would have. It is in our best interest as individuals, to take personal responsibility, recognizing a hate-filled heart. This 20 yr. old boy had no one forcing him to act. He chose because his heart was filled with hatred, no doubt, having been a product of hatred. Someday, every knee shall bow before this great God, who longs to fill our hearts with His great love. If everyone's choice would be to allow God's love to fill the heart, we would not suffer these heinous crimes. We could not wish evil on someone.

    December 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Ol' Yeller

      "The hate comments are appalling. "
      I disagree. The religious comments seem to be appalling to me, as usual. It wasn't God's fault... though he could have stopped this guy at any time. He could have gave him a flat, he could have sent a cop to pull him over for a tail light being out and catch him with the guns and stopped it. He could smite all the evil from the world in flick of His pinkie, right? He did none of this and those children and Teachers died horror filled deaths screaming and crying and praying to a nonexistent being (whom if he did exist, allowed this to happen... I wonder if he did exist, did he laugh at this?).
      As you posted, "Surely we are smart enough to recognize the power of choice." That is right... and you choose to worship a God who in your own belief could have stopped this and didn't, yet he is blameless and it is our fault, or Satan's fault... anyboby's fault, but not the one omniscient being in the universe (according to you) who without a doubt could have stopped it (according to you)... Now before you go and say trot out the old ... "free wiil" or, "how dare you question God's intentions because he has great plans" nonsense... try and reason this out... I do not believe that, therefore it is not within my reality based world. I KNOW that no amount of religion, praying, or church going will change one thing, though it makes some people feel better, so I'm not against it. What I am against is people who try and shove their worldview down my throat and threaten punsihments from their beliefs that I have no fear of, because it is just made up. So quit it.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • sam stone

      Is 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  2. Frank Cardenas

    He stinks of superiority and self-righteousness. Reminds me of the people Jesus was referring to when he said "you know every letter of the law but you have no love in your hearts"!!!

    December 16, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  3. PaxAmericana

    It looks like Billy Graham forgot his Gospel doctrine. Barack Obama is his 'erring' brother in Christ while Mitt Romney is a 'moral' unbeliever or non-christian. Lets not forget what these Fundamentalists actually teach. Mitt Romney to them is a cult member, unsaved, deceived by Satan, who believe in a different Jesus, worships a different God and denies the Christian Gospel.

    By endorsing Mitt Romney as opposed to a true servant of Christ, the Graham family endorsed Satan for America.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Robin

      So I'm not the only one who sees that! You couldn't have said it any better! People have a serious case of amnesia! Then they read one part of the Bible and disregard the rest of the Bible. And then wonder why America and the rest of the world has rejected such an awesome and gracious Savior

      December 17, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  4. Jennifer

    ahhhh the Graham family. Gotten super rich from the needed. THE BIGGEST CHRISTIANS HYPOCRITES IN THE WORLD.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rick

      Correct Jennifer, it's an industry. It caters to individuals unable to think critically on their own two feet. Franklin graham is a disgrace...spewing hate time and time again.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  5. A fellow mormon

    Do I agree with obama no but I think grahm is right. Obama is elected we have a duty to support our elected officials. I am a republican but I am still going to pray for him and support him because he is our president.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • donna

      About time a religious leader stepped up and called for prayer for our leaders.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  6. cmnsns

    The Graham family is a pox on humanity.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  7. Mitch

    God never left. We are forgetting that we have free will. The will to choose to do what is good, and what is not good. The Grahmas have done their job, to educate and preach the gospel. It is up to us, once again to accept it or reject it; Free will.

    We seem to forget God when things are going well, but when others do what is evil we ask "why did God let this happen" or "Where is God".

    Follow the instruction: "Love thy neighbor as you love yourself." "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" "Do not covet...."

    December 15, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  8. eyesopened

    its amazing how we as people lose the one thing that we all have in common and thats, that we all take our life for granit. we dont need people to tell us that we are sinners a person will know for themselves whether or not they are at peace in their mind heart and soul. this is whats so awesome about the truth and grace one either knows the power there in or they dont.its not something that a person can produce and then distribute.the message of salvation by the way is the same, Gods perfect plan before the foundation of man.this is perfect love perfect honor perfect trust perfect justification. So how or why is God mean or thoughtless? when He set in place before the foundation of man freedom liberty and justice for all. DONE. its when we reject this good newsin and over our lives and instead choose to be God,thats when we set ourself up for disappointment after disappointment. We dont short God we short ourself by believing in our self or man or the world, and that means churches as well. faith in Jesus that He took ALL our sins apon Himself period, not religion or churches. We are saved by grace through faith it is a gift in that no MAN can boast. Jesus died for all mankind that they might know peace, that thier Father God is good and that He will show our hearts the way the truth and the life that He alone wants us to live, this is called accountability not a cult

    December 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  9. Philojazz

    Well, Mr Graham, IF I were to pray, I would pray that you, and men like you, would no longer have ANY influence on what would otherwise have some kind of a chance at being a great country. As it is, with men like you "putting their oar in", you're managing to sink this wonderful ship.

    I think the passengers are beginning to realize this, however, and we just might be able to right the vessel. Go Obama.

    December 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  10. rob c

    well, whatever praying you're doing, it's not working
    ...try something else

    December 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • ib42

      Like rationality and common sense!

      December 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  11. Noah Pologies

    Franklin, your Dad and you picked a loser. Sorry, but now you are a politician and not a Christian "leader" and your dad made one very big hypocritical religious mistake of his lifetime in judging who is and who isn't following Christian values. And this mistake, for what ! ? What good did it do? Mitt Romney is still a Mormon who follows the doctrines set out in the Mormon books and not the doctrines in the Christian Bible, whether or not you and dad have redefined cults and their importance or unimportance.
    President Obama is still our beloved president for the next 4 years, still has his loyal Christian family by his side, still retains his honesty and integrity, is still moving forward, and still has his (and your) God to go to. God hears his prayers and I think you would do better to go to God on your behalf, not his. Franklin, you have now joined the world, so live in it, but don't pretend to still be not of this world by praying for others. Work on your own mistakes, pray for your own sins and that should keep you busy enough.

    December 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    Matthew 27:52-53...ridiculous.......ask a doctor or biologist if ya need to. The bible and everthing based off of it, including careers, are bogus.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  13. Umadbro12

    I am amazed at the incredible hatred spewed against the Grahams, and from the very same people who claim to be tolerant. I grieve that we have become the "tyrants of tolerance", so focused on being all-inclusive that we exclude those who don't feel the same as us. Whether you agree with Franklin Graham or not is irrelevant; at least have enough dignity and respect for yourself and the Grahams to refrain from the ridiculous attacks on their personal character. It is this kind of assault that is destroying us from the inside out. If you don't agree with Franklin Graham, fine, but have good, valid reasons why you disagree and put them in such form as shall be most effective at conveying your point without hatred.

    December 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • McShannon

      Some of us could have interpreted Franklin Graham's accusing President Obama of being a Muslim by his not denying that lie while others in his presence promoted it as a political move. A Christian characteristic I guess of Franklin? Franklin has involved himself in a civil rights issue e.g. NC Amendment one and used tax free income to assure that it passed. A man who thinks he is holy is probably less and his opinion isn’t from God or the Bible because the Bible can’t free slaves nor those maligned because of those they love and hasn’t. The President of the USA represents its entire people not just Christians and we should laud President Obama him for that foresight.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • olorinstaff

      I am almost 60. I have used up to much of my time already being tolerant of intolerant people. Good day.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Well said – I'm with you!

      December 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  14. Smeagel4T

    Ya, whatever. You'd do much better calling the GOP and telling them to stop with the ideology and learn to compromise for the good of our country.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  15. Hairball

    Go home Frank. You're irrelevant.

    December 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  16. McShannon

    The above sentiments are coming from an individual who has never voted for a Democrat. More politics under the guise of holier than thou rhetoric. We've heard it all before Franklin and prayer is useful and powerful when it is sincere but somehow I doubt your motives. You blame the schools because the churches have failed, you blame, blame, blame and never see who you are. The pastor of a local Baptist church recently received several thousand dollars at a pastor appreciation week celebration yet in addition receives nearly $70,000 in salary and benefits. With all the needs that exist I can tell you that a Catholic Priest would never take money that he didn't deserve. Who is being worshipped in this case? You are just like that pastor, you love politics and money more than God, "You are the Man".

    December 11, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • McShannon

      God hasn't turned his back on our nation Franklin it's people like you turned around showing their backsides thinking it's so. Hard to see the whole picture from one side isn't it?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  17. William Hudson

    God is Holy, and we, as sinners, could not come into His presence. However God loves us and had mercy on us. He came into the world in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He walked among us, showed us how to live, and then He did an amazing thing. He took our sins upon himself on Calvary's cross. He suffered and bled, died and was buried. But on the third day, He was raised from the dead gaining victory over sin and death. Afterwards, He ascended to the Father, and now sits at His Right Hand interceding for all who know Him. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, and all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!

    December 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • sam stone

      I do not care to be in the presence of your god.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • sam stone

      "However God loves us and had mercy on us."

      Love? You describe that psycho as loving?

      God is omniscient, he knows all that will ever happen, right?

      God knows who will accept his son/himself as a savior, right?

      He knows that the vast majority of people will not do so (narrow is the gate), right?

      Why did he create those he knew would not be "saved" if not to send them to hell?

      December 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • William Hudson

      You are correct, Sam. God is omniscient. If not, He would not be God, right? However, that has no bearing on whether or not you accept the abundant life in fellowship with Him that He offers. For all we know, you are one of those who will one day put your human pride aside and realize that He loves you so much that Christ lay down His life for you and desires that you come to repentance. Please do not continue to believe the lies of the deceiver who desires to see you eternally damned. John 3:16, the verse that everyone knows, is all you need to know. Acting on it is your personal choice. You are an intelligent person. I pray you will make the right choice.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  18. DavidInNC

    By wishing the worst for Obama, you are therefore also wishing the worst for America. The two go hand in hand.

    December 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • michael

      Just like that idiot Rush Limbaugh, who by hoping that Obama would fail was also hoping we would fail as well.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  19. Robert

    I wish Obama the worst of all futures including an early exit.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • LCL

      Robert, Why wish sometime like that? George W Bush Eight Years of service cause the whole WORLD too fall in Recession.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Wander in front of a speeding bus, Robert

      December 12, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  20. Scowl

    Why the Grahams are given any credence is way beyond me. I wish Franklin, Billy and all of their fans and followers nothing but the worst in all future endeavors.

    December 11, 2012 at 5:25 am |
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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.