Billy and Franklin Graham Say It's Okay to Vote for Mormons

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 29 2012 9:10 AM

Billy and Franklin Graham Say It's Okay to Vote for Mormons

My friend Jessica Opoien, a reporter for the Oshkosh Northwestern in Wisconsin, takes a snapshot of this full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In it, a Billy Graham who looks like he's already been set in marble asks voters to think like God.

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The text of the ad is this one-paragraph message, which currently leads Graham's web site.

The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, 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 November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.

I'm waiting for the Graham organization to tell me how big the buy is, but I'm not even sure that this one ad is the man's greatest contribution to Romney-Ryan. Earlier this month, Mitt Romney met with Graham and his son Franklin. On October 22, Franklin published a quick article on the Graham web site, giving voters who disliked Mormonism a rationatel for backing Romney.

We must not cast votes for officials—whether candidates of the Democratic, Republican, or Tea Party, or of a religious persuasion—that are against these principles of God. We have, in the past, elected Christians who have defied some of these very principles. We need something like what Jerry Falwell did in the 1980s. We need a “moral majority”—made up of Christians, Jews, Mormons, Catholics and many others of faith—to come together to take a stand for our religious freedoms and rights.

When I was talking to black pastors in Florida this week, I heard a little bit of confusion at the behavior of white evangelicals. "Barack Obama's the only protestant on the ballot," Bishop Victor Curry told me. Mormonism, he noted, had been taught in his Bible college's course on "cults." But the Grahams are working hard to convince Christians otherwise.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.