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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. Tim

    Uh, WHAT politician is actually ehat they claim, especially when it comes to claims of religious faith to get votes? Not one single politician in recent history has shown indications that they are following the faiths they claim. That goes for Bush and Obama. However, that doesn't make him a Muslim either. All politicians pander to people and lie to get votes. That all said, who are we (or Mr. Jones) to say if Obama is or tries to be a Christian? Religion is kept out of state affairs (or should be) for a reason. I say this as a Christian... but I'm not a loon about it eiher, nor do I buy into the GOP's propaganda and the crazy rantings and beliefs of people like Bush, Perry and Palin (or Beck, etc.). People can claim what they want, it doesn't make it true, especially considering the nut jobs that oppose their own claimed faiths by their words and actions (again, I refer you to Fox News players, and the GOP). Obama sucks as much as any other politician, but he's still the best of the worst and isn't anywhere near as bad for the world as G.W. Bush was. Let's hope he does better when he's reelected (and he will be in 2012, try as hard as kooks like Jones might try to defer voters from voting for him).

    November 15, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • Derka Derr

      So true, anyone else tired of these guys coming out of the woodwork just to prove how uneducated and immature they can be? I'll be damned if he (Obama) loses the election because of a constant barrage of complete a$$ end BS that thinks apparently if its squeezed through Yahoo to the kids enough maybe they and their parents will hate him enough to vote for another curious George. Hopefully it's going to be a little harder than that, but with t.v. so important these days, not holding my breathe.

      November 15, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Tim

      If the GOP wins on the very unlikely odds, I might just have to become a Canadian citizen for a few years.

      November 15, 2011 at 4:23 am |
  2. Cynthia

    Bob Jones is right. Anyone CAN call themself a christian....including Bob Jones. The flames of hell burn eternally thanks to the hypocritical souls of pagans like Bob Jones. He's only fooling himself and the sorry lambs that choose to follow him.

    November 15, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Most christian mythology has some basis in paganism little girl. You might wish to research your delusional set of beliefs before coming to a board where adults are.

      November 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      and hEll btw: is a christard place...one made up so they can use mind control to ensure you follow their myths...(great god you have there-to throw his own creation to burning pit for thinking for themselves)....pagans can't go there b/c they don't believe in it...so your statement about them being hypocritical is quite wrong...you need to look in a mirror to see who is really being the hypocrite

      November 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  3. Peter

    I'm glad to see how one "Christian" is now qualified to decide who all the other "Christians" are. This growing epidemic of idiocy is what has pretty much turned me off to religion in general and Christianity in particular.

    How is that religious tolerance thing working out for you?

    November 15, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Derka Derr

      Good to see people aren't dumb enough to fall for this, AGAIN. Between this and the birth certificate we are realizing this is all spam right?! like internet spam, just throw it up enough that maybe someone someday will latch on. So who are the REAL Christians? the ones burning others religious texts and pushing the "end times" date further and further into the future while meanwhile hating on anyone else that claims to be a part of their religion? check please....no wonder your a dying breed. I'd say don't drink the kool aid, but you know, even that saying seems to be hijacked in 2011. Go figure. What a mess. =/

      November 15, 2011 at 4:25 am |
  4. scott

    Yeah Bob, you would like it much better if he was your slave wouldn't you?

    November 15, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  5. Alan in Missoula

    Well "throwing the first stone" and "removing the log from your own eye," comes to mind. But Bob Jones III is not into that kind of Christianity.

    November 15, 2011 at 4:06 am |
  6. Craig

    "Anyone can say he's a Christian." How true. Sadly those who say it most often display the least of it. I doubt Christ would claim many of them to be his followers. Assuming his words, as recorded in the Bible, are reasonably accurate, most of the leading "Christians" these days are completely out of step with his ideals.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  7. p

    Hey Bob Jones the turd. Where's the evidence that YOU are a Christian? Anybody can say they are a Christian. Do you claim to be one? Actually, you're just another pathetic hypocrite. A sad example of someone who pretends to be a Christian. It's not like you were ever going to vote for a black man, anyway. Segregation is over, Bob. Deal with it. Is your organization tax exempt? It sure-as-heck shouldn't be...
    You're an embarrassment.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  8. steve

    I wish these people realized how stupid the sound.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  9. Dan, TX

    Bob Jones III speaks for God? I no longer believe in God. To hell with God.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Smite Me

      He speaks for his moronic followers too. That is even scarier because they are real.

      November 15, 2011 at 4:01 am |
  10. ElisabethinCA

    How Christian of you Mr. Jones. A perfect Christian who doesn't judge people, who does nothing but tell the truth and has no hate in his heart....Oh wait sorry, I thought this was April fool’s day. It's obvious you think our president is Muslim and wasn't born here. Take off your tin foil hat Mr. Jones, you only believe that because you have hate in your heart and are racist. You are the perfect example of why Christianity is such a joke on the right. You all yell it so proudly, but your actions are anything but. Where in the bible does it say you must hate as hard as you can, people you don't agree with? Where in the bible does it say it is ok to make fun of and lie about others? Where in the bible does it say that you can lie until the cows come home but when someone dares question you or your motives "they must not be a Christian". Of course your aid stopped you, can't have you telling the truth can we? Might make you look bad. Better to lie or not say anything at all. Your arrogance is disturbing. Instead of talking to Christ every Sunday, you might want to go see a shrink. You have megalomaniac and narcissistic tendencies. From other writings, speeches, and interviews you also believe you are part of a superior race. You’re a very scary man. That is how Hitler started. You make me ashamed to be white and Christian.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  11. scott

    One's religious beliefs (or lack of) makes not a difference to me! Let's measure the candidate by his actions and deeds. It is a fallacy to think that person cannnot be moral or just without a religion. let's move on from this silliness.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  12. Wanfuforever

    Wow. It's not like there was a mini-scandal during the election about the controversial statements of one Rev. Wright during the last election, and the press talking how President Obama went there for years. Of all the things to have a hang up about and this is it? Once again it is reconfirmed the smartest thing anybody said ever is: "Belief is more important than fact".

    November 15, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • Linda

      loved the way you put that...my belief is more important than any mere man on earth

      November 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  13. Michael

    These people are complete idiots, look I am totally against having Obama in office, but you Christian ultra conservates make it easier for liberals to fling mud at us because of how BLANTANTLY STUPID YOU ARE.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • Linda

      Michael.....you realize he wasn't on a street corner spouting his opinions? He was interviewed and gave his honest answers to the questions. Since when can't we speak freely in America and not come under such vicious attack?

      November 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  14. Brad

    I don't see any evidence Bob Jones III is Christian.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • Linda

      then you haven't looked

      November 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  15. CarolSong

    I once had a friend who was evicted from that school because he played secular music on his trumpet. Having been raised in a fundamentalist family, I assure you that you have no idea how bad the judgement of everyone and everything is. I'm sick of people saying "they mean well". No... no they don't. They want things under their control and their way. How pathetic is it anyway for en entire religion to be based on only one book written by over 33 authors 2,000 years ago.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  16. jon

    south carolina says it all. dont expect any more from there or south of there.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  17. Patiat

    Bob Jones III, huh...? The patriarch of the university that only began accepting blacks under duress, and I'm supposed to care what this man thinks about who's more or less christian than someone else? I'll ignore him.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  18. Gaunt

    Of all the many horrible things about you zealots, this is one of the worst. Every single one of you believes in a different version of a different sect of a god, there are dozens of denominations, and hundreds of sub-sects, and even within those you all pick and choose what dictates and lessons you are going to follow to suit your own bigotries and opinions.

    And yet despite the flagrant hypocricy of each and every one of you, you still feel that you are qualified to debate whether a public figure is 'properly Christian' or not. As I (unlike most of you zealots) have actually read your holy book, I'm reasonably certain that the entire NT is REPLETE with comments about it is NOT UP TO YOU to judge the faith of others, or to Judge others at all.

    But for people so founded in hypocricy, I suppose flagrantly ignoring one of the central teachings of their supposed holy book is par for the course. Unbelievable.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  19. Eric

    He could worship Barney the Dinosaur for all I care, I just want him to do an effective job as President.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Joel

      How do I like this? Best statement of the day! Too bad he hasn't done so much of the latter.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  20. Smite Me

    Who are this Bob Jones' followers?

    Who? Who? Who?

    I sincerely worry about these imbeciles.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      I sincerely worry about anyone who still believes in god.

      November 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Linda

      http://www.bju.edu
      or you could have just googled it?.....even an imbecile should have been able to figure that out

      November 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
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About this blog

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.