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. Sydney

    Being a Christian is decided by what a person does, not by what they say. So, look at what Obama does and you decide if that is what a Christian does according to scripture ??? God has the final decision on each persons faith or lack of faith in Christ and God will take care of deciding on Obama's actions and claims of being a Christian. Obama cannot fool God as HE knows our every thought and motive, so I trust God to judge Obama, not me, since I would believe Obama is not Christ like by his actions since Christ never lied or did anything for his own personnal gain. But, my opinion means little when Obama's final destination is decided. Thank God for that and i'm sure Obama is thankful also that I am not the judge. !!!!!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • Vynn, Milton WA

      There has only ever been one real Christian (based on your description), and he was crucified long ago.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • jackstraw1

      This seems an especially narrow view. Of course Jesus worked for his own personal gain, same as any human. At the very least, He needed food, clothing and shelter.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  2. hsiaobai

    The First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ....", while Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    November 15, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • DGinKC

      Of course this could all change if the GOP get's the majority they are working for.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  3. kingman

    If he was muslim why is that a bad thing? We have got bigger problems in the US than this debate over the religion of the President. That is why republicans don't get it and will not win the next election. Lets focus the debate on things that matter, it is why there is a seperation of church and state, freedom of religion, etc.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • Michael

      Being muslim is not a bad thing; if he is indeed muslim, it means he lied about is faith in order to sway voters. That is a bad thing.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  4. works4me

    Bob Jones III... Christian "leader"??? hahahahah... breath, breath...hahahahah

    November 15, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • jackstraw1

      Bob Jones University...Puttin' the "DUH" in "Fundamental" since 1927.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  5. Robert

    Yes Bob...anybody can say they are a christian, look in your mirror, what do you see?

    November 15, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • Butrusgali

      Two more false prophets . Both Graham and Jones shall be judge as they judge.
      where is their evidence, Jones was born a racist and Graham a drug addict.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • Jim

      Very good observation.... In fact, basically the whole of the GOP cross waving thumpers wouldn't stand up to what the "Christian" Bible calls a true deciple of Christ – you know like love your fellow man, turn the other cheek, give away all your money to the poor, the meek shall inherit the earth, and let us not forget... judge not, yet ye be judged.....

      November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  6. mmi16

    What Crap – Pig crap at that!

    November 15, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  7. toomuchgovernment

    I couldn't agree more as Obozo was born a Muslim. Obozo will say or do anything for a vote or his politial career. Those who believe otherwisse...I have a bridge for ya! and I will deliver it!

    November 15, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • Gaunt

      Firstly, his name is Obama you half-wit reject. In fact, its president Obama. Respect the office you traitorous trailer-park hick.

      Secondly, he is not and never was Muslim. Please stop lying. In fact, do America a favour and please stop talking, communicating, posting or (ideally) breathing.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:49 am |
    • DGinKC

      He's as Muslim as Ronald Regan was.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ DGinKC ... ok Reagan was not a Muslim, that's true ... but you DID know that Nancy had ON STAFF a White House ASTROLOGER, right? How's THAT for eccentric behavior??? (Gee Ronnie you can't go to that talk with Gorbachev until Venus passes through the 7th house ot Taurus)

      November 15, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • Hands

      You are truly a joke.. get over the fact you are just like Jones a hater of blacks

      November 15, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • Vynn, Milton WA

      Of course Obama isn't a Christian. When we look at other Christians we see that Christians judge and lie about others just to be mean spirited. Obama doesn't do that, so he can't be a Christian like them.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  8. bullock willard

    I am belived that his grandma said his was born in keyne but obama make trying give confusion to his grandma. About his born in keynea. I'm know that his grandma said alright word his born in keynea

    November 15, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • DGinKC

      Which southern state are you from. Based on your grammar, I'm guessing Mississippi.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:48 am |
    • works4me

      Keyne? Keynea? Get back to your Jr. High class, then post

      November 15, 2011 at 5:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      So how is that English as a 5th language course going for you?

      November 15, 2011 at 5:51 am |
    • Vynn, Milton WA

      Which proves that those who vote Republican are poorly educated.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  9. oldsoldierboy

    Conservatives are starting to figure out that Obama is going to be hard to beat. They thought they had him but now they see things are going Obama's direction. They will continue to throw things out there and hope something sticks. Stay tuned.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:41 am |
    • DGinKC

      Watching the GOP debates really scares me. I can't believe folks in the country can get behind some of those idiots. The one or two that can actually express coherent thoughts are at the very bottom of the polling. Republicans only value those that make the most outrageous comments.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      The Republicans can't even decide amongst themselves about policy and the "party way". Perry can't name 3 gov't agencies, Cain should have stuck to delivering pizzas, Bachmann is in it only for camera "face time", now they bring in a has-been like Newt with more skeletons in his closet than a graveyard. What's next, McCain trying to run again?

      November 15, 2011 at 5:48 am |
    • tregs

      The only thing thats sticking is how pathetic the parade of right wing candidates are, and there desperate attempts to be President...My favorite so far is the $2 a gallon gasoline that Bachmann is going to deliver on when she becomes President...LOL

      November 15, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  10. Crane

    > Bob Jones III becomes latest Christian leader to challenge Obama's Christianity
    Crane (2nd) becomes the earliest humanist follower to challenge Bob Jones III's humanity.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:41 am |
  11. Roman Catholic

    A Muslim can't convert, he attended Muslim school in Indonesia , and one can see his preference and inclusion of Muslims above Christians in events, ceremonies, decitions .
    This are hard times for Catholics and all with Faiths that are not Muslim .

    November 15, 2011 at 5:38 am |
    • DGinKC

      He didn't attend schools in Indonesia. Maybe you did, however.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • Gaunt

      You are, of course a pathalogical liar. Do you think your god approves of your flagrant and open dishonesty?

      Of course Muslims can convert, to claim otherwise is insane. Not that it matters, as Obama was NEVER a muslim. Nor did he attend school in Indonesia. You managed to pull off three lies in two sentences, you should be proud.

      And as for your fourth lie, Obama's so called 'preference' for non Christians, it is so utterly and obviously false that there is no way you could possibly believe it unless you are completely delusional.

      You lie like a cheap rug, and call yourself roman catholic. That fits.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • tregs

      I'm Catholic too...You comments are factually incorrect and based on the usual right wing comments of hate...go back and post at faux news...you know the 'fair and balanced' people...lol

      November 15, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • Hands

      That being fact, what do you thing all the other president's been doing...Holy than thou people make be sick...

      November 15, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  12. DGinKC

    This proves one thing...Bob Jones III is a fraud. Who is he to challenge anyone's faith? Bob Jones III is a witch. Someone prove he's not.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:38 am |
    • Michael

      I believe in making a claim like that, the onus of proof is on you.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  13. TampaMel

    All you have to do is say something outrageous and the media will run with it. Bob Jones and his family, over the years, have brought insanity to new heights and the media reports on what someone in that family says. Next CNN will be running reporters into the wards housing of the paranoid schizophrenics to about government conspiracies, aliens and other 'news worthy' articles to place on the CNN site. The sad thing is, there are people reading this articles saying, "Ya now, he is right, because Bob Jones thinks President Obama is not a Christian, he must not be a Christian. Bob Jones doesn't need to prove a thing. I knew it all along".

    November 15, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • tregs

      Anybody that needs an article like this to make up there mind on Obama's beliefs, has a serious need for a few more points on the IQ scale...of course if you need to hate, you found what your looking for...

      November 15, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  14. none

    no president is a real Christian... you don't claim to believe Jesus and order predator drones and Navy S.E.A.L.S. to assasinate people, regardless of if it's terrorists or not...

    November 15, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  15. brent

    only God knows what's in a man's heart. it's not for bob jones or anyone to judge. in fact, SHUT UP BOB JONES

    November 15, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • martini

      Some of the kindest and most charitable people I've met are Muslim. Much better people than I'll ever be.
      Look it up Bob. You're thinking of extremist nuts claiming to be Muslim. There's nuts in every religion, much like you are. You give Christianity a bad name.
      Look in the mirror.
      Hard to believe you are Billy Graham's son, with your bigotry.

      November 15, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • Vynn, Milton WA

      We shall know Bob Jones by his fruit, and his fruit is judgemental. No Christian here.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      What??? Bob Jones is a fruit??? I'd buy that for a dollar!! lol 😉

      November 15, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  16. redman68

    whats does religion have to do with him doing his job. Is that now a criteria?
    For crying out loud can we just get on with life.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:27 am |
    • Mirosal

      Apparently NO ONE has read Article 6 (I said Article NOT Amendment) of the US Consti.tution. It specifically says that NO religious tests are required for office, and that goes for the President all the way down to city dog-catcher

      November 15, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • tregs

      Religion is the vehicle that the right wingnuts use to propagate there message of hate...

      November 15, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  17. hjs3

    Hey Bob:

    Outside of So. Carolina does anyone really care what you think?

    November 15, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  18. zapatta

    So, I don't believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or Jesus Christ...Who cares?

    November 15, 2011 at 5:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      Ahhh... but don't you see? YOU are Santa (you leave the gifts for your kids under the tree) ..YOU are the Tooth fairy (you leave the money under the pillow) YOU are the Easter Bunny (you hide the eggs for your kids to find) ... so just believe in yourself, and you can acheive almost anytihng, NO "god" required

      November 15, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • SimpleReally

      I care!

      How dare you destroy my faith in Santa and the easter Bunny.

      You will pay for this heresy...lol

      November 15, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ SimpleReally ...Watch it or I'll e-mail Santa and have you put on the "naughty" list, and the Easter Bunny won't leave eggs, he'll leave little "bunny raisins" instead lol 🙂

      November 15, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  19. SimpleReally

    What right has any person calling themselves a Christian got to question another Christian on their beliefs?

    Jesus said (yep Jesus, that's right)

    Do not judge others Matthew 7:1-5

    I guess this means that Jesus express instruction was wrong.

    President Obama knows what he is and I guess God does. God is Omiscient isn't he?

    Could it be that some people can't discern between their political views and their Christian obligations?

    November 15, 2011 at 5:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      I think it was Susan B. Anthony who said something like she'll never trust anybody in politics who says they are doing god's will, becaue it always seems like their views and god's are too much alike ... (or something like that, I can't remember the exact quote)

      November 15, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  20. chilipepper

    I don't think Obama is a religous man. But if you want to become President you have to believe in GOD or you won't get voted in. Obama belonged to Rev. Wright church for political gain in his neighborhood. Fit him perfect. It was more of a ativist/political church than a Godly one. I also believe he does relate more to Muslims than Christians. But bottom line he not into religion

    November 15, 2011 at 5:20 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.