It read: “The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, [which was Nov. 7] I realize this election could be my last. 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 Nov. 6 and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God. “
Billy Graham has been admired as the pastor to presidents and has prided himself on never endorsing any one politician. He is a man of God and ministers to everyone, becoming more and more accepting and pluralistic as he has has aged.
So how did it happen that he virtually endorsed Mitt Romney the weekend before the election?
On Oct. 11, Billy Graham and his son, the Rev.Franklin Graham, who is head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, met with Romney. The photo op and the meeting were seen as a virtual endorsement of Romney at that time.
What was so surprising was that the Billy Graham Evangelical Association Web site at that time considered Mormonism a “cult.” Graham had once described cult members as those who “reject what Christians have believed for 2,000 years, and substitute instead their own beliefs for the clear teachings of the Bible.” Shortly after the meeting, that listing disappeared. According to Ken Barun, the Association’s chief of staff, “we removed the (cult) information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”
So calling Mormonism a cult is a “theological debate that has become politicized” while the debate over abortion and same sex marriage is not?
I ask this because just last spring the association bought 14 full-page ads in North Carolina newspapers from Billy Graham for North Carolina Amendment 1, recognizing marriage between a man and a woman as the only legal domestic union. Franklin Graham has made his position on that issue very clear. “It grieves me, “ he said, “that our president would now affirm same sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.”
Franklin also said in Decision Magazine, “there is no place for compromise or straight forward moral issues such as abortion and same sex marriage. God has given us clear biblical direction that we must follow and obey. “
Billy Graham has not escaped controversy. He had a very bad moment in 2002 when tapes of conversations from 1973 with Richard Nixon became public. In the tapes, Nixon railed against Jews and Graham responded that Jews befriended him but “they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.” The rest of the conversation was decidedly anti-Semitic. When the tapes came to light, Graham said he didn’t remember the conversation but apologized profusely.