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. mark1616

    to all the proud ones who have need of nothing and in control of your own destiny. consider this that the cemeteries are full of alot of folks like you . so where is it that there is no GOD ,but the fool has said in his heart there is no god for me

    November 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, where the hell do you want the dead to go?
      Stuffed, in our living rooms?

      November 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So mark1616, are you trying to say that you believe in god because you are afraid of dying? I hate to break it to you, but you ARE going to die eventually, no matter what you believe. Better to embrace the life that you have than clutch at the rather childish hope that your death will lead to immortality.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  2. Homer10

    Obama can use a few prayers. However the Republicon party needs all the prayres they can get right now.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  3. giggity

    send me some green and i'll pray for you

    November 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  4. whitepine

    Another thought.....I think the churches in the so called Bible belt are total failures. They preach, or so they say, love and peace but in the Bible Belt is where you see so much discrimination against people who don't believe or go to whatever church one goes to. Each church is a little social club. If Christianity was full of so much love and peace, why does my small town have 130 churches? Why is my community plagued with so many welfare receiptents and crime from so many people on drugs? Where are all the blessed people living in peace and love?

    November 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • SnafuBob

      From Eastern Kentucky as well I take it? Regardless, I see what you describe everyday; unfortunately.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  5. Nostradamus

    There are 3 alleged "nonprofit" organizations that feds should investigate absolutely, from the scratch, because it's really big tax scams: United Way, Goodwill Industries and Billy Graham Ministry. These 3 Companies keep Chairmans making millions and a huge roll of high paid 6 figure executives while pay to part time workers minimum salary. Franklin Graham is one of those Chairman

    November 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • giggity

      add the cons in 700 club, benny hinn, and creflo $

      November 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • srosset

      The Grahams are 34 clubs short of a full 700.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  6. whitepine

    I think people need to rewrite our USA history and those founding fathers. Italians, Dutch and Spainish were traveling to America for almost 200 years before the American Revolution. They were traveling here for trade and expand their empires. So basically this is what our country was founded on.....trade not religion.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  7. Chris

    I am hoping Billy Graham meets his maker soon.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Commojoe

      What a sad, small, pathetic person you must be.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  8. dorkmungus

    Don't know about you, but I'm going to hie myself on down to Kolob!

    November 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • giggity

      why would you do that? there are no chicks in kolob

      November 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  9. Chris

    Been a long time since I've seen so much hate, spewed in the comments after reading an article. Brave behind a keyboard. Its a good reason to avoid cnn in the future.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Dannyboy's Pub

      CNN is the devil's playground. It's one of those places where all those who smite God will be counted. Ridicule now lost brothers; your time is short and eternity long. I pray that you see the error of your ways, and how you corrode the moral fiber of our once great nation. Step back from your hatred and find peace, rather than believe only in yourselves an things of this life.

      Bless you, Our President, and America!

      A child of God

      November 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't let the door hit you in your collective azzes.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  10. donLorenzo

    1010101010....Are we OPENED or CLOSED...hopefully 0900 ok?

    November 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  11. donLorenzo

    Dustymack-I fully agree–but just a little coal-hows about a dumptruck full?

    November 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Akira

      I've got no qualms about that...as long as it's clean-burning coal.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  12. Frank

    Does anybody remember laughter?

    November 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, I do, and I laugh heartily, and often.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • deebama

      I'm afraid a great many "Christians" are far too busy casting stones to laugh.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  13. Reality

    Franklin, Franklin, Franklin,

    Considering your media plays recently, your "non-profits" must be hurting for donations. Fortunately, the christian con game you and your father have been pulling is now known globally. Time to get rid of the mansions and limos and join the rest of the working class.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  14. Colin

    Praying hey? Isn't that where you think silent thoughts like "please God help me pass my exam tomorrow" and an immortal being that created the entire Universe and its 400,000,000,000 galaxies, each with about 100,000,000,000 stars and even more planets about 13,720,000,000 years ago, reads your mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer your request?

    And you Christians wonder why we atheists think you are childish fools.....

    November 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • 10101010

      Hey I agree with you, but there is a GOD. That God is the creator of the Universe and all that stuff. The name of that God is Gravity. Gravity created all of the stars, galaxies, planets, black holes, matter, and a lot of other things that we have not discovered yet. But NO! Gravity does not care about what you or anyone wants. All religions try to explain things that cannot be explained by man. However, astronomers and physics have already discovered the truth. Gravity is the creator of all things in this universe and other universes too!@!

      November 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • krhodes


      November 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @B:10101010 / D:170

      from your handle, are you a fan of 12 step programs?

      November 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • dustymack

      I pray that Mitt Romney loses everything in bankruptcy! And then i prey that an African american gives him a "gift" of coal for Christmas!

      November 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Didn't expect to see krhodes agree that praying is crazy.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Akira

      Isn't krhodes usually in all caps?

      November 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Commojoe

      And when you stammer before the Lord after you die here, saying, "I just didn't know. Please give me another chance.", I'll feel very sorry for you.

      November 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  15. evilroyslade

    It's insulting when the religious bigots say America lost God and it's moral compass, it's the church that's lost God and it's moral compass and turned Christians into SELFISH GREEDY BIGOTS. Please leave the silent Christian majority alone and let us rebuild a new fair and balanced America, pray for those BIGOTS that preach it's only their way.

    November 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  16. Sarah

    I pray that these guys would just go away. They backed the wrong man, and now they want back in

    November 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  17. And now, some Thanksgiving fun facts!

    The pilgrims were not the first British settlers of North America. They were not the most numerous – far more British citizens went to Virginia.

    The Pilgrim Thanksgiving celebrated the moderate success of their collective farming – they originally were closer to Marxism that capitalism.

    Twenty years after this Thanksgiving, the Puritans overthrew the British government and put in place a very repressive totalitarian theocracy.

    Puritans believed in witchcraft, exorcism, and demonic possession.

    In power, Puritans banned games, theater, and music in churches (destroying organs and other instruments in English churches). They basically hated fun.

    Puritans invented the War on Christmas – they hated Christmas and refused to practice it.

    The only religious freedom Puritans cared about ws their own. They severely oppressed the Quakers in teh New World at every opportunity, even executing four Quakers for practicing their religion.

    The reason the Pilgrims could give thanks was that they were taught how to farm by Native Americans – the Pilgrims were dying like flies until shown what to do. They repaid the Native Americans by a number of outright murders, the first organized by Mile Standish, which would forever alter relationships to conflict.

    The Pilgrim Thanksgiving wasn't the first Thanksgiving in North America.

    Pilgrim marriages were considered civil, not religious, and no religious official did the ceremony.

    In the Pilgrim's colony, cursing or smiting a parent resulted in the death penalty, but the only recorded case saw mercy – the accused got a severe whipping because he was insane. Much more lenient. Shortening the period of indenture for servatns was prohibitted.

    So there you have it – what Christians claim is the basis for America as a Christian nation. Riiiiiiiiiiight . . .

    Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson refused to make Presidential Thanksgivings Proclamations because it violated the Separation of Church and State.

    November 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And let's remember that the Scrooby/Leiden separatists who chartered the Mayflower voyage (the "Pilgrims") and landed in New Plymouthe in 1920 were a distinctly different religious group from the Puritans who formed the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Boston in 1630.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And on the Mayflower, the religious separatists were a minority of 37 of the 102 Mayflower passengers.

      13 of the passengers were servants to the separatists and 5 were servants of the remaining passengers.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was founded as colony of religious tolerance by Roger WIlliams who was exiled after religious persecution by the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – a couple of posts up: 1620 – not 1920!

      November 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And just who was the "evil King" that the separatists had to escape from persecution (as the story is told)?

      November 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, I know, I know!
      That would be King James I, who commisioned the KJV of the NT.
      What do I win?

      November 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      congratulations, you win the prize, being, sadly, no more than my congratulations. 😉

      I find it delightfully ironic that there is this mythos built up around the "persecution" of the Scrooby separatists by none other than the instigator of the fundamentalists' favorite translation of the bible.

      There is very little in the historical record of any actual persecution – other than that proscribed by Queen Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity (1549) for people who refused to attend the Church of England.

      The wikipedia page on the Pilgrim Fathers has this intriguing comment:

      "In the Columbia Encyclopedia, it is stated that "Although not actively persecuted, the group was subjected to ecclesiastical investigation and to the mockery, criticism, and disfavor of their neighbors.".

      November 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Akira

      I'm Not a GOPer:
      That's better than I usually get...which is, bzzzzzzzt: wrong; I'll take it.
      Revisionist history is a popular thing these days, I will agree with you there.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  18. moonwalker2

    Pray for Israel? They own the United States Government and all of its citizens. If you think praying helps, prey own these liars that are ruining the lives of the hard working people that gave them their power.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  19. J Roby

    Screw this phony preacher man. He's a hypocrite and a liar.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Hello

      Give the Grahams a copy of Caesar's Messiah by Joesph Atwill and make them stop lying to people and stealing their money.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Franklin Graham

      My prayers failed miserably this election.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Billy Graham

      I prayed Nixon would resurrect and win the election. I like pickles. I've just pissed in my pants... and nobody can do anything about it.

      I prayed I woouldn't become senile, but . . . was I talking? . . . poptarts work.

      November 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Commojoe

      Right! And the first part of that quote is, "God is still on the throne and"

      November 21, 2012 at 10:55 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.