November 14th, 2011
09:41 PM ET

Bob Jones III latest Christian leader to doubt Obama's Christianity

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Bob Jones III, chancellor of the fundamentalist South Carolina university that bears his family’s name, has become the latest conservative Christian leader to publicly cast doubt on President Barack Obama’s stated Christian commitment.

"I've no reason to think he's a Christian,” Jones told National Journal in an interview published Saturday. “Anyone can say he's a Christian.

“Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be,” Jones said. “I say, 'Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?' "

Jones is an influential conservative leader in South Carolina, home to one of the nation’s key Republican primaries next year. Bob Jones University, where Jones served as president from 1971 to 2005, is a popular stop for GOP candidates courting Christian votes.

This year, evangelical leader Franklin Graham questioned Obama’s Christian commitment, telling ABC News that for Obama, “going to church means he’s a Christian,” while for Graham, “the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ.”

Last year, Graham insisted that Obama was born a Muslim, though the president hasn’t said that.

“I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim; his father was a Muslim,” Graham told CNN’s John King in August 2010. “The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother.

"Now, it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ,” Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, continued. “That is what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said."

Polls show that a minority of Americans can correctly identify Obama’s Christian faith. Obama writes about accepting Jesus in his book “Dreams from My Father,” and he regularly prays with a handful of Christian pastors.

In the interview with National Journal, Jones said that he hasn’t endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as he did in the 2008 cycle, partly because he believes that a Mormon candidate won’t face as many obstacles among Christian voters in next year’s primaries.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity

soundoff (953 Responses)
  1. A. Anderson

    Hence the false doctrine of the Bob Jones family line.... no one comes to the father but through Christ and the judgement of Bob Jones. South Carolina should distance themselves from this kind heracy.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  2. Rich

    By the sounds of it Rick/Herm and Michelle must have attended Bobs school.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  3. Christopher tm

    "I've no reason to think he's a Christian. Anyone can say he's a Christian. Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be. Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?" – Bob Jones III

    This, my friends, is the very definition of irony.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  4. pdale

    Who cares it is NONE of anyones BUSINESS!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  5. Bellestarrr

    Bob Jones III doesnt realize that jesus was also a person of color..a brown skinned palestinian jew...this old white redneck if confronted with an actual picture of jesus instead of the usual one of him being white with flowing light brown hair and blue eyes..might have some very mean redneck things to say about him too...the smarmy mouth holier than thou's are starting to show their true colors...but they will still rake in millions(their true god) because of the stupid sheep(literal) that are willing to listen to them...remember folks this nation was founded by puritans..you all know what that means..by their standards you would all go to hell.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  6. JeffinIL

    The only god worshipped by politicians is $$$.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  7. Solly

    Where are the other 374 comments?

    Why has CNN decided to only pick these 3 comments to publish?

    November 15, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Mirosal

      Scroll to the bottom of the page. You'll see page numbers at the end of the comments. Just click on them.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  8. AK

    Who cares what Bob Jones, Frank Graham or all the other crazed right-wing Christian fundamentalists think. They've been known to be bigoted extremists for a long time.

    I cannot believe CNN is even reporting this garbage.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  9. Terry Webb

    So he's a Christian that is enamoured by Islam? And will not celebrate Christmas?
    I smell a RAT.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  10. Rich

    This is why the right wing born agains want to cut funding to education...To widen their base...

    November 15, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  11. Byrd

    Bob Jones? Why is he being cited as an authority on anything? It's as though the Media is going out of its way to make greed, bigotry and racism accepted norms in this country. Jones, along with Roberts and all the others, are the best arguments going for the separation of church and state, representing as they do, the ever-expanding separation of church and reality.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  12. mike

    and his guy calls himself a christian...dont make me laugh he is a heretic

    November 15, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Sarah

      And apparently he is God's judge too.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  13. Alientech

    "Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?'" – Bob Jones, where the evidence you're a Christian?

    November 15, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Roman Catholic

      Obama was born from a Muslim father, attended a muslim school in Indonesia, the mother converted to marry an Indonesian Muslim, they can not marry if the spouse is not converted to their religion,, muslims cant converts, they risk life.
      Also he gives preference to Muslims in many situations, for example on the aniversary of 9/11 only muslims, and a buddist nun were alloed to be present,no Christians, Jews.
      We are a Judeo Christian nation.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, for the love of Pete. What idiocy, RC. Really, grow a brain.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      and this coming from someone who follows an old guy in Rome who was a member of the Hitler Youth, swore a loyalty oath to Hitler, and led the cover-up on abuses within ... yea like YOUR little organization is pure at heart.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @RC: When are you people going to get it through your miniature brains that the USA is a SECULAR nation based on secular beliefs? It's bad enough to admit to being a Catholic and thus a supporter of the biggest ped.o.phile ring in the world. You're an idiot and btw: putting your money in to that church makes you as culpable as the the people protecting those freaks. Anyone who still supports that cult is dangerous and should be barred from having children in their care.

      November 15, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  14. Rich

    As Bob says............afool and his money are soon parted...get a real job Bob and pay your taxes.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  15. kro513

    What is with all this religious nonsense in the world today? It is disturbing that a majority of the population believe in some sort of super hero floating around the sky controlling all... Open your eyes everyone! That is all propaganda from thousands of years ago!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  16. JennyTX

    Oh, for crying out loud. WHO CARES ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S RELIGION???

    November 15, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Every republican out there.

      November 15, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  17. dreucalypt

    Bob Jones III is no Christian.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  18. Andrea


    November 15, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  19. Cerapus

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
    – Mohandas Gandhi

    November 15, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Andrea


      November 15, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  20. wonderabout

    Pretentious, know-it-all, mean spirited, controlling, frightened, small-minded, whiteman – everything Jesus was not and taught against.... Like the bumper sticker states: Dear God, Please save me from your followers!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.