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. jboh

    I question Bob's sanity.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  2. Rich

    Bob Jones should start paying taxes if he is so worried about the presidents religion...

    November 15, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  3. larry

    so why is CNN starting this up again......can't you find some real news? You never published any article about whether Bob Jones is a christian.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  4. Randy

    Bob, your family has a history of hating people of color and those of other faiths. So the question should be are you a follower of Christ!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:56 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      speaking to Bob is futile...he is not likely to be reading this

      November 15, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  5. Mountainmojo

    Bob Jones & Jim Jones: something about those Jones' boys

    November 15, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Mirosal

      Kinda makes you wonder what Bob is putting in the campus cafeteria kool-aid doesn't it?

      November 15, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  6. J in WV

    This is another embarassment to all of us that are Christians. Jones must be mentally challenged in the Christian ways. He is the one that needs prayer!!! How embarassing!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Jones must be mentally challenged in the Christian ways."

      Pot meet kettle!! Anyone who still believes in the fairy tales falls under mentally challenged.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  7. Dave

    Oh how soon we forget the vile Rev. Wright spewing his hatred and espousimg a serious contempt for America and Americans. Anyone remember Rev Wright saying " GD America" or that he admits to being trained in Marxist Theology by Sandinistas in Nicarauga. So religion does not matter? Give me a braak especially whem our President was listening to this contemptable outlandish hate mongering man that also espouses Christianity. Are we all that .aive or is ignorance the order of the day. Wake up people

    November 15, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • mfhpr

      And your point is??? Could it be that religion in this country is just a bunch of BS, cult-like naivety? Religion has NO place in our gov't, period.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  8. mercfan

    I agree, it's really no one's business what religion he is or any other politician. Look what they're doing to Mitt Romney. Like because he's Mormon, he's going to make ploygamy legal. Beside how could anyone know what someone else is thinking? Is Booby Jones clairvoyant? I don't think so. He's just trying to scare up the conservative base again. Wouldn't it be refreshing if we actually picked a President based on how they feel about the issues that matter instead of this BS. This is why we can't make any progress on solving the real issues.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Mirosal

      If "pro" is the opposite of "con" ... what's the opposite of "pro"-gress?

      November 15, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Rinsewind

      Well said.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  9. mfhpr

    What reasonable person really gives a crap? I don't care if he lies about his religion...I didn't vote for his religion. It's a shame that a good man would have to deceive in this situation. I would venture to say that Obama is smart enough to know evolution is what we have here. Just as he believes in gay marriage. But a large portion of the voting public won't allow him to govern if he doesn't say otherwise. Think about it: if the best candidate in any political situation can't get the job he's best at because he doesn't believe there's a god, what does that tell us about society? That stupidity rules?

    November 15, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  10. Chuck

    Kinda of stupid.. This article is supposed to be about Bob Jones III and his views, but less than half is about him stating Obama isn't a Christian.. The rest is about Graham and his belief that the President is a Christian.. Tell me again that CNN isn't biased...

    November 15, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  11. James T.

    If Bob Jones is a typical Christian, then get me a turban and a copy of the Koran, because anything he is, I want to be the opposite of. Allah Akbar!

    November 15, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • strangerq

      "I've no reason to think he's a Christian,

      ^ That's exactly my opinion of Bob Jones.

      Bigot, yes.

      Idiot, certainly.

      What proof though, that's he's a Christian.

      Bob Jones makes baby Jesus cry. 🙁

      November 15, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  12. Steve

    Let Bob Jones III prove he is a Christian for that matter anyone. Stupid comment from a stupid person.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  13. David

    I'm sure if Christ arrived today he'd say "Bob Jones who?"

    November 15, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  14. Hello Kitty

    Another psycho-redneck that's paranoid. I bet George Bush was a Jew.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  15. Don

    Just wait until he gets a hold of Romney's.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  16. George Clifford

    Declaring that Obama is not a Christian is rubbish. First, Christians are not to judge others. Second, Obama's actions (e.g., seeking to provide healthcare for all and to preserve a strong social safety net) profoundly reflect Christian values. Conversely, narrowness and bigotry have no place in Christianity. Christianity calls us to love others, including our enemies, without expecting anything in return. Inclusive love, not loyalty to an in-group such as one's own nation, is at the heart of Christianity.

    November 15, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  17. ernest

    If Bob Jones is running a political organization rather than a religious one, its time to rescind the tax exemption. I don't want my taxes supporting blowhard fools who want to give the 1% even more control over our country and the world. Let them collect donations from their bamboozled followers. Anybody who donates his/her hard-earned cash to these pigs deserves what he/she gets, nothing. "Work and pray, live on hay, you'll get pie in the sky when you die, bye and bye."

    November 15, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • Mirosal

      Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life. Give a man religion, and he starves to death praying for a fish.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I like that one, Mir.

      November 15, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  18. Jen

    Hurry, Bob Jones III, let me know you are endorsing so I can vote for ANYONE ELSE!!!

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

      I'm guessing he'll endorse Bachman or Cain...their delusions seem to match his.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • Mirosal

      If he publicly endorses ANYONE, his tax-exempt status should be legally kissed bye-bye. Or so sayeth federal law.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  19. nyniane

    "seed of Islam passed through the father"... LOL... I am picturing a bunch of little turbaned sperm swimming around!! 🙂

    Anyway, why should anyone's religion even come into an election? Isn't that the whole idea of not having a state mandated religion?

    November 15, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • Graham

      No, that's not quite the idea. The state is officially secular; there can be no religious requirements for high office. But that doesn't mean that individual voters can't make decisions based on a candidate's religion. It means that the government can't bar someone from running or winning because of his religion. Religion isn't just a private matter. It influences the way people think. So I damn well want to know what my political leaders think about religious issues.

      November 15, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  20. Mike

    I really wish politicians would leave their religion at home...it has no business in public office. For that matter, it's not news...

    November 15, 2011 at 6:38 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.