Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2012]
Is this really Billy Graham or someone using him for political purposes?
Origins: In October 2012, 93-year-old Christian evangelist Billy Graham placed full-page advertisements in several U.S. newspapers, including the Columbus Dispatch, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, regarding the upcoming 2012 elections (one example of which can be viewed here). The ads featured a black-and-white photograph of the Rev. Billy Graham holding a Bible and included text urging readers to vote for candidates who "protect the sanctity of life" and "support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman":
On Nov. 6, the day before my 94th birthday, our nation will hold one of the most critical elections in my lifetime. We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake. I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms. The Bible speaks clearly on these crucial issues. Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn our hearts back toward God.
Although the ads mentioned no candidate by name, they were widely perceived as a tacit endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who had a meeting with Graham earlier that month (which garnered some controversy when a statement identifying Mitt Romney's religion, Mormonism, as a cult was removed from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's web site shortly afterwards).
Last updated: 23 October 2012
Abcarian, Robin. "Billy Graham Takes Full-Page Ad in Ohio Newspaper to Back Romney." Los Angeles Times. 21 October 2012. Landsberg, Mitchell. "Evangelist Billy Graham All But Rndorses Mitt Romney." Los Angeles Times. 12 October 2012. Ostendorff, Jon. "Article Calling Mormonism 'Cult' Disappears from Graham Website." The Asheville Citizen-Times. 12 October 2012.