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. Donald in CA

    Who cares what this religious nut thinks. He makes Rev. Wright look like Billy Graham. If he gets to heaven so will chales manson. But the teapublicans love these religious kooks who hate anyone different them themselves. They give religion a bad name, and the news media should stop covering these right wing religious losers. They right cant beat this president on policy so they do the religion and birther thing, lord help us.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:37 am |
  2. freetime1

    . “The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother."

    People who think like this never understand that it is the individual who gets to pick what they believe in. I am an atheist and I know that there is not any gods at all, but I also understand that others will believe what they want to and that is their right. What he is also saying is that jew or follows of islam can never really convert and become real christains. Then why do so many christains try and convert others?

    November 15, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  3. Tim

    Meaningless political commentary from people who have and continue to enrich themselves on the spiritual dreams and aspirations of others. I wonder if these self-proclaimed Christian people really did live by the words of Christ, how much different they would sound. "Do not judge, lest ye be judged". From the sound of it, Bob Jones seems to be a follower of Rush Limbaugh, rather than Jesus Christ.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  4. An Observer

    I think that the Super Committee is missing a great opportunity if they don't go after these political churches. People have endured the over reach of churches for centuries. The Inquisitions were a great example of how powerful these criminals can become. Our modern church fascists are no less ardent nor are they able to accept the beliefs and faiths of others. If Obama is Muslim, so what? If he is Budist, so what? If he is Chrisitan, so what? Just keep your crap out of my governement !!!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  5. Dave

    If our President is going to contend or " pretend" that he is a Christian then why does hr not use his Cbristian name of Barry Soetero. Its that simple !

    November 15, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • An Observer

      Is it Dave or David? If you're such a good Chrisitan, why not use your biblical namesakes full name instead of the shortened version? As for Obama's surname, what of it? If a name defines a person's belief, I would posit that your buddy Cain may be more ethan he contends to be. Golly, you folks have such simple minded ideas.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  6. Mark P

    In 2008 it served better purpose for him to be a radical black christian. Now he's a muslim??? Bob Jones try again.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  7. Reality


    Romney believes that the horn-blowing angel Moroni appeared to the con artist Joe Smith. Not good for someone who wants to be president of any group !!!

    Obama "mouths" that he is Christian i.e. believes in gay Gabriel and war-mongering Michael the Archangel and Satan. BO's support of choice/abortion however vitiates has Christianity as he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who are now the largest voting block in the country. Immoral Majority you ask??

    The 78 million voting "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb babies !!! (2012 -1973 Rowe vs. Wade = 39. 39 x 2 million = 78 million. Abortion rate in the USA as per the CDC is one million/yr.

    And the presidential popular vote in 2008? 69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM. The population of the Immoral Majority in 2008? ~ 70 million !!!!!!

    What BO can do to at least lift part of the Immoral Majority leader label?

    He says abortions should be "safe, legal and rare" but says nothing about the basic tenet of proper human conduct i.e. Thou Shalt Not Kill. And where is BO's sense of indignation that abortions are not rare and that these acts of horror demean the Golden Rule considering that he says he is a Christian. And where is his sense of indignation that women who use the Pill do not use it properly resulting in an failure rate of 8.7% as per the Gu-ttmacher Inst-itute statistics. Using these and other Gu-ttmacher Insti-tute data, this failure of women to use the Pill properly results in ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year.

    And the annual abortion rate in the USA is?? ~1,000,000 as per the CDC.

    And do males use co-ndoms properly? No, as said failure rate for this birth "control" method is 17.4%!! Again using Gu-ttmacher data, said failure rate results in another ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year

    Bottom line: BO is still not aware of the basics of birth control and still remains the leader of the Immoral Majority and will remain so until he becomes a true Christian and one who respects and protects human life in all its forms and who at least emphasizes the proper use of birth control methods!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • mark

      Absolutely nothing wrong with abortion

      November 15, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • Chris W

      Sorry, but being Christian has nothing to do with abortion. There was no "pro life" coinage before 1973 and it's just something the catholics and evangelicals have used to galvanize their fundamentalist agenda. Those who vote for a president based on this issue alone are severely abusing their voting right.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  8. Larry

    If he's not a Muslim than why does the family dog fly in a separate plane, at tax payer's expense, I might add! Muslims do not allow animals to travel with them. "I am a Christian" from a President who as a State Congressman voted 5 times in the Illinois legislature to have babies that survived an abortion to be left to die in hospital laundry rooms. He doesn't walk the talk. He doesn't even have a circle of Christian friends. Look at the people he has for friends..... Christian..... Really?????? I doubt it!!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • WJM Knight

      The family dog does not fly in a separate plane, and you sir are an idiot.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Larry: We can doubt you're sane by what you wrote here.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      There is NO doubt about Larry's sanity. He's proven beyond any shadow of doubt that he doesn't have any.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • Mirosal

      And good morning m'lady Truth 🙂 .. how go things in NB?

      November 15, 2011 at 6:43 am |
  9. John Smith

    There was another religious nutbag named Jones with a 3-letter first name. That didn't end very well.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  10. John Smith

    CNN, why are you even reporting this? First, religion is completely irrelevant in my electoral choice. Second, this nutbag has as much legitimacy as I would have questioning Newt Gingrich's catholicism.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  11. BigJilm

    It's not your job to judge others' religions. The guy (Obama) went to a Baptist church for many years (not that it's any better than the other religions). Maybe you're not really a Christian either; we haven't seen any evidence.

    Oh, but we have seen evidence that Obama cannot be Muslim. He drinks.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Brian

      It is hard to believe the Bob Jones represents a "normal" religion. He is not a Christian, but more a fundamentalist extremist rivaling the Muslim equivalent of the Christian Taliban, with an eye to fleecing his flock of their hard-earned dollars.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  12. Iris Heyes

    To these sickos you're not a real christian unless you're into little boys.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • Jim Duron

      To them turning your life over to jesus means that they(clergy) control your agenda. sounds a lot like the Mulas in Iran to me.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  13. Dianna Simms

    A person's faith is PERSONAL. Period. Is this guy God? What's in a person's heart is his or her business. It's because Obama is black. Get over it.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  14. Coloradan

    "Where is the evidence that he is a christian?" I don't know, compassion for people, concern about fairness, some moderate willingness to take on the money changers. Where is the evidence that your Republican buddies are Christians? Keeping hundreds of thousands of Americans who could be heading back to work at home because they won't pass President Obama's paid for jobs bill because it might make be perceived as a victory for him. I'm not sure Jesus is down with that.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  15. Kevin

    Gag. I'm sick of these so-called "religious leaders" grabbing a few headlines for themselves by making statements like this. Perhaps we should take a page from the rest of the world's modern democracies: Except for the US, bringing up a politician's religious beliefs is non-starter, non-issue. It's one of those things that the rest of the modern world thinks we're nuts to bring up. Amen.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  16. b2thewheat

    who cares?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! shut up. so much more to be concerned with. was he born here, does he love jesus.....stop it right wingers and channel all that negativity into fixing this country that "w" ran into the ground. god knows everyman's heart....not bob.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  17. oldsoldierboy

    Name calling is basically all the GOP has left and after 3 years of it even that has lost it's effectiveness. Only a matter of time before they throw the kitchen sink.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  18. rgrahamok

    Is Bob Jones III an idiot or a bigot? I vote for both.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:17 am |
    • Jim Duron

      He's like most big religon leaders, they are egomaniacts that are power hungry and want all to bow to them in the name of the god of there choice. Muslim, chatholic, christian, budist all the same with the Clergy elite.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  19. DesMoiner

    These mouth breathers question Obamalama's "religion" because it plugs in nicely to the agenda they've been indoctrinating people into for years. They know better, so do what you're told and move along. Churches should pay taxes if they're going to become private organizations for political change. Ever seen some of the "churches" these people proselytize in? Like palaces...and they complain about the gubmint?!?!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  20. Rob

    Proof positive Obama is not a Muslim comes from his actions to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A Muslim would have had GLBT servicemen executed in accordance with the Shiria. Get a grip! I'm voting for Obama for 4 more years.

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

      Don't forget, if he WAS Muslim, and renounced it, there would be a fatwa on him for apostasy, in accordance with shiria, that is.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:21 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.