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. 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 but from a proud man with political credentials and Republican oversight.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  2. WES Gibbs

    Franklin and Billy Graham's prayers wouldn' reach the ceiling, especially goofy Franklin. When Pop is gone buddy, your money is going to dry up unless you are like your buddy Romney and have it stached in a Swiss Bank Account or the Carymen Islands. That Baptist doctrine of attempting to tell people they are born to go to hell is a lie and is not scriptural. Jesus Christ came to save the "WORLD" from their sins and for these two idiots to keep on calling Jesus Christ a loser because he didn't build the the first Baptist church with all their hypocirites is one of the most stupid things anyone in their right mind can hear.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Sheila

      I wholeheartedly agree.
      It has gotten so crazy I left my church and party.
      Even some of the churches have become pay to play.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  3. Jim Bourque

    Why do these organizations still have 501 (c) 3 status?

    December 19, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  4. Mike in MN

    A man of the cloth turned political hack for the purpose of getting more donations from suckers.

    December 19, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  5. Henry Williams

    You and your Dad's prayer weren't answered. i am very happy for that. You see the Thw Bible and all Holy Books don't give nus all the Knowledge about God and the Universe. For one thing The universe is not perfect. God saw that what he had created was good and set things in this world and the other planets in motion with all the necessary spare parts to keep them running. Science tells that anything motion or all mechanical actions are not 100% efficient. This means there will be difficiencies now and then. We see these things every day, when things don't work as they should or turn out as they are suppose to be. It's not God's punishment it's the way mechanical things are or behave. We are wonderfully made but not 1005 perfect. we may be lucky to be in the "Group in the Majority" all that is good enough or commoin enough to avoid redicule or abhorrence. Rcae , Anatomy, Phyciology, Genetics, Hormones, etc have a hand in making us different in action,and I looks, etc. Mordern Christians and other religious groups who fail to inculcate thse knowledge into to their teachings are not serving God properly.Please update your religious guidelines everyday to catch up with the new knowledge that Mankind has aquaired. Our Forefathers/mothers did their best to put down what they aquaired. It must not stop where the "Good Books" ended. It must continue. These Bokks are woefully behind. Billy Graham and Family don't condem those of us who are way ahead of you with the application of these knowledge.All the 'Good Books" said in the verses that "Knowledge Shall Increase" which means there will be some possible Deletions, Additions, Corrections and etc.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  6. Blue

    Poor ole Graham is toast. I now feel sorry for Billy, he has taken up Granham's thinking.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  7. Dilip Dalal

    This guy is an ignorant human being and a sore looser. President Obama does not need your prayer or anything else from you. Just shut the hell up and go back to the rat hole where you belong.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  8. demogal

    Mr. Graham, I have withdrawn my financial support from any charity with which you are connected. I no longer do the Christmas shoe boxes because Samaritan's Purse is your cause. I will find other ways to give my alms.

    December 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  9. Satan

    Reverend Graham, looks like God wanted Obama to be President, huh? Face it: you backed a losing candidate. Your prayers were of no help at all in getting Governor Romney elected. Guess God doesn't pay attention to you? Pray you get a clue, sir. You live a lavish lifestyle for a preacher. Jesus once said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into Heaven." You conservatives wouldn't like Jesus very much. You worship money. That's the only god you really believe in.

    December 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Franklin Graham is a hypocrite hustling people for their money.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  11. AtlJack

    Of course Franklin Graham endorsed Romney. He's a Republican. Franklin Graham got where he is by privilege. He walked into the national spotlight riding his daddy's coat tails. That is the essence of being a Republican. Earning your way by MERIT goes against Republican values.

    George W. Bush – rides his father' coat tails into the White House.
    Jeb Bush is waiting in the wings to do the same.
    Mitt Romney rode his fathers money and connections into politics.
    John McCain was accepted into the Naval Academy only because his father and grandfather were Admirals.
    Bill Clinton and Barack Obama EARNED their way coming from poor backgrounds.
    So of course Franklin Graham is a Republican and endorses Republicans

    December 18, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  12. 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.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Emma in Baltimore

      Very well said.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  13. kabijang

    @ shar... I find find it shocking that you judging the president and calling his tears fake... Its okay if you don't agree with his policies or his politics... but he won and he is the president for all the country. Your comment is in fact in the wrong place..... the message is from Rev Graham but you didn't even mentioned anything regarding the reverend.. Shame on you...

    December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • jim

      Fewer and fewer people are listening to men like Franklin.

      December 18, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  14. Michael

    rev. dancer

    Prayer is very much in our schools. How in the world could it not be? Or are you saying that unless a prayer is read over the PA, or a teacher leads a class in it regardless that there are kids of other faiths in those classes, it's not a real prayer? It's not a prayer when a kid or an adult prays it silently, going into his closet as it were? The Supreme Court ruled long ago that Christian student organizations are perfectly free to meet on school property after classes. What more is there to ask for?

    December 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  15. bill.x

    I think the election was a message from God about not listening to false preachers, who disguise the devil's ways behind the cloth of God.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Shar

      That speech in Newtown (AT LEAST HE GOT THE PRONUNCIATION RIGHT AFTER CALLING IT NEWTON ON FRI.). HE IS SO STUPID. Anyway, that speech was an abomination – we are supposed to keep our children safe – what? So, those parents did not?? Are you crazy? You **stick. What are you thinking? The whole speech was flawed on so many levels – I won't even start – the only thing that was correct was "suffer the little children and come to the side of your Father in heaven" That is the deal – the bible – not bo's drivel. At least we did not have to look at his maniacal smile for a day or two. I have NEVER SEEN any one so out of touch with his own feelings let alone the feelings of others. And what about grasping for tears THAT WERE NEVER THERE? Giving the audience the finger in the process?? Disgusting. Tears don't start at the outside of the eyes they begin at the inside. WELL when they are fake – who cares right bo??? I actually turned it off – you can't fool very many people – they see right through you. To politicize this tragedy IS A DEBAUCHERY.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • we are connected

      billx – I do agree with your thought that the church has more than a few devils hiding behind the pulpit. The hate toward Obama that comes out of some Christians minds is evil, especially when we recall that just a few years ago the "christians" were hating mormons as a cult.

      Our President made a wonderful caring speech . . . how anyone can't see that he is hurting as much as we are is so sard for their hard hearts.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  16. ART

    Hey Robert I wish the same for you and more Your exit should be swift and have an ending just like what Sam Stone wrote

    December 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  17. ART

    Hey Noodreamer first of all learn to spell,and second you do not have to believe in something to have moral guidlines. I don't believe in your God as maybe you do, but I know right from wrong good from bad. I actually pity people like you who have to believe in something to make you a " better" person.

    December 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  18. Oregon

    I don't trust Rev. Frank Graham or his father. And don't go hanging the atheist lable on me. I attend services and belong to a mainstream Christian denomination. But I've learned to distrust this type of religious leader. He panders to big corporations, and to racial bigots.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Johnnie

      Spot on!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  19. Noodreamer

    HELLO Whay I say is not a myth. People who beieve as you do (in nothing ) are the downfall of this country. Without moral guidelines. there is no future fo the human race.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • stoneyage

      Relic from the 1950's?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      right....no moral guidelines.....gotcha

      December 20, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  20. rev.dancer

    I totally The Bible says "all have sinned" and anyone who does not agree that America is being punished seemingly does not want to admit that they are included in the "we all." Pride and arrogance. What's so hard about humbling yourself, getting real and repenting? If we all did it as a nation (even to whatever god you believe in, because God looks at the heart) the result would be a quick turnaround in many areas that we are nationally suffering in. Why is it ok to go to God AFTER a tragedy like this but it’s not ok to acknowledge Him BEFORE? If we acknowledged Him before as a nation, we wouldn’t have such acts of violence against the innocent.
    I have not heard anyone say, except Mike Huckabee, that we as a nation asked God to leave our schools. God alone has the power to pre-warn about such horrible acts, but we asked Him to leave us alone and let us conduct our schools on our own. God is a gentleman and will leave when asked. That means His power, wisdom, insight and protection leaves too. God didn’t do this nor did He willingly allow it. Remember, WE ASKED HIM, AND THE ANGELS OF PROTECTION, TO LEAVE which gave evil total authority to enter. While everyone, including the president, is looking for natural ways to prevent future episodes such as this one, the moral and spiritual measures cannot be ignored. IT'S TIME TO OVERTURN THE LAW THAT TOOK PRAYER OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS, BUT WHO WILL STAND UP TO DO IT? Who has the courage to do it? Not one politician for fear of votes and reputation. Not one news reporter for fear of ratings, job security and popularity. Are all of these really more important than the lives of children, teens, young adults, teachers, staff, administrators, sons – daughters – moms – dads – brothers – sisters – neices – nephews etc.? We live in a natural and spiritual world and the 2 are connected. One affects the other. What's wrong with taking a few minutes daily to ask God's protection in the classroom in the morning? What is every God hater so scared of? To those who hate: why do you hate the God Who loves you so very much? Those babies didn’t hate Him. It's really

    December 17, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • Johnnie

      Hey Rev: What about all the Countries of the World that don't believe? We owe China plenty you know? What happened? So all of a Sudden the God and the Angels moved to China? Puuleeeeezzzzzzz!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Sylvia

      "God is a gentleman, and will leave when asked" is one of the most blasphemous statements one can make about our SOVEREIGN, OMNISCIENT, OMNIPRESENT Father. What kind of God is at the whim of those he created and sent his Son to die for - a Christian gentlemen, or perhaps a southern Christian gentlemen? Correct understanding of the Scriptures creates good theology; good actions according to his word are born out of good theology.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • stoneyage

      I wonder why the church is full of evil, even with God's supposed presence there? High divorce rate, countless children molested, leaders caught in the very sins they preach about, and I could go on an on. Clean up your church first, God!

      December 19, 2012 at 12:06 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.