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Mormons and Evangelicals – Mitt Romney and Billy Graham

As reported in the Washington Post, Mitt Romney and Billy Graham have found enough in common to create a relationship of respect and accord.  Mormon Mitt Romney met with Reverend Billy Graham, and son, Franklin Graham, at the Graham home on the top of a high ridge in Montreat, N.C. on Oct. 11, 2012.  They prayed together, and Rev. Graham offered his support. Graham prayed for Romney, his family, and the American nation.

Graham has met with every sitting American president from Harry Truman to President Obama. For more than 50 years, he has staged revivals he called crusades around the world (Washington Post).

Franklin Graham is the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Billy Graham was a respected friend of Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney.  Rev. Graham says he appreciates Mitt Romney’s values and strong moral convictions.

“I appreciate his faithful commitment to his impressive family, particularly his wife Ann of 43 years and his five married sons.

“It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads,” according to the statement. “I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”

Reverend Graham, who is in his 90′s and ailing, asked Governor Romney how he could help.  Mitt replied,

Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me.  And what you’re planning, what your son has shown me is going to be very, very helpful. And I appreciate that. It’s going to be terrific.

Franklin Graham endorsed primary rival Rick Santorum, a Catholic, early in the presidential campaign.  He is known for having a hard edge towards Islam, and uncertainty if Mormonism is a Christian faith.  His father, however, seems softer and perhaps, more tolerant.

The online magazine “First Things” discussed Graham’s endorsement of Mormon Mitt Romney for president:

It was an honor to meet and host Governor Romney in my home today, especially since I knew his late father former Michigan Governor George Romney, whom I considered a friend. I have followed Mitt Romney’s career in business, the Olympic Games, as governor of Massachusetts and, of course, as a candidate for president of the United States. What impresses me even more than Governor Romney’s successful career are his values and strong moral convictions.

Said “First Things” writer Matthew Schmitz:

Obama has launched unprecedented assaults on the sanctity of human life, the definition of marriage, and the rights of religious believers to help the suffering while abiding by their consciences. This, along with Graham’s longstanding commitment to building interreligious understanding, is why it’s not surprising to see a great Evangelical leader endorse a Mormon candidate.

After Governor Romney’s meeting with Billy Graham, in which Rev. Graham vowed to do anything he could to help Mitt win,  a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association article labeling Mormonism a cult has been removed from the group’s website (Asheville Citizen-Times).  Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others were listed as cults on the website.

“Absence of references to Mormonism being a cult on the evangelical association’s website is an important change when it comes to Graham,” said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University.  “Obviously, people take cues from religious leaders, and this is one sign that they are softening a little bit on their views of Mormons,” he said.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about Mormon Mitt Romney

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

Read the recent news article in the Washington Post, “After Romney meeting, Billy Graham website scrubs ‘Mormon cult’ reference

 

 

 

 

 

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