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The great evangelist—-who became famous for stadium-filling crusades and became a close friend and adviser to multiple presidents—-issued the following statement:

“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. 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. 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. ” [Highlights mine -MS]

There’s no way to read this other than as a very definite (if implicit) endorsement of Mitt Romney. 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. I’m also struck by Graham’s sober acknowledgment of his old age. It’s a fact I’d rather forgot. We’ve already lost Evangelical lions like Chuck Colson, Richard John Neuhaus, and John Stott, and we’ll be poorer still without Graham.

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