Franklin Graham on Voting for a Mormon

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As Newt Gingrich makes gains in the polls, GOP candidate Mitt Romney is speaking more about his faith and the role religion has played in his life.

Speaking Friday in Sioux City, Iowa, Romney said there needs to be more discussion of religion in the public square.

Romney is a practicing Mormon and even shared with voters his experience as a young missionary in France.

But many evangelical Christians have reservations about Romney's beliefs. In a recent poll, 41 percent of evangelical voters said they would not vote for a Mormon.

Should Mormonism be a deal breaker for Christian voters?

Rev. Franklin Graham spoke with CBN News Sr. Reporter George Thomas about this. Graham also talked about God's judgment on America, how the country is off-course, and the need for a "new kind of politician."

Click play to watch. Read the transcript below:

Thomas: The Washington Republican establishment appears that they are gunning for Mitt Romney. Can a Christian vote for a Mormon as president?

Graham: Yes, the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon doesn’t bother me. I think when we are voting for president we need to get the person who is absolutely the most qualified. You can have the nicest guy and he can be a Christian and just wonderful but have absolutely no clue as to how to run a country, you don’t want that. You want somebody who understands Washington, who understands government, who understands how to bring people together so that we can move this country forward. Mitt Romney is a very capable fellow, I know him; I know Newt Gingrich, another very capable person; Michelle Bachman, a very capable lady; Rick Santorum, I like a lot, very gifted guy, a very sharp and so there are some good candidates out there.

Thomas: How would you encourage Christians in the United States to pray for the upcoming elections?

Graham: Well, we need to pray that God would give the right man or right woman to lead this country. I believe we are, that this is probably the most critical election in my lifetime.

Thomas: Why?

Graham: Because our country is heading on the wrong course and we are going the wrong direction. There are millions and millions of people out there that are out of work and there are people out there now that have been out of work so long they are not even looking for work because they are so discouraged. People have lost their homes, they’ve lost their livelihoods and the politics in Washington right now is not helping. We are not solving these problems and this is from the president right on down through Congress.

Thomas: How do we pray then, how do we pray specifically?

Graham: We pray that God would, and this could be God’s judgment and He could be judging this country for the rejection of His Son and our government, our government leaders have turned their back on God and His laws and His statutes and we need to pray that God would give us a new crop of politicians, I don’t care if they are republicans or democrats, but who fear God and who will put God’s standards above everything else and who will take us back to the God of our fathers and that’s what we need to pray but right now our country is going in the wrong direction we need to make a change.

Stay with CBNNews.com, Tuesday, for part two of Franklin Graham's interview with George Thomas.

Graham discussess his views on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the resurgence of political Islam and what the United States should be doing to protect minority Christians in the Middle East.

Originally aired on Friday, Dec.16.

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