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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. barbequebob

    Bob Jones is a con man and BS artist.

    Jesus is appalled by all the hate, lies, and hypocrisy coming from his so called "followers".

    November 15, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  2. Eurologist

    Again, we learn that religion, especially the narrow-minded, bigoted, hatred-bringing one, seeks to undermine the fundamentals of democracy. We have known this for more than 2,000 years – yet, people keep trying to take fashionably fit religious coats out of their closets to make them feel better in a false community of false hope for a better earthen (!) life that is dominated by hatred and idolism of riches- while simultaneously trying to suppress the smart, creative, egalitarian, innovative, and innocent.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  3. nobody

    theres only 3 ways to be powerfull in this country 1.make your own religion
    2.be a politician's
    3.be a druglord

    November 15, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  4. Meki60

    President Garbage is a muslim. period.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • runner305

      Anyone who refers to the President the way YOU do ... IS GARBAGE!!!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • William

      runner 305 I agree Meki60 sounds like he is garbage! and a bigot!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  5. Kurt

    Any man of faith who questions the faith of another is falling short of what he professes to be. We are free to worship God as we understand him, in ways we find comforting to our souls. It is not about the bible or religion but about the spirit that makes us human.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Techclique

      Very well said.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  6. Elizabeth

    I doubt Bob Jones's religion. If he is a Christian, he doesn't walk in Jesus' shoes. What is it with these self-proclaimed Christians? They are a disgrace to religion, and more importantly, to their country. I had to look up his school (and his name), and I note it is in SC – what is SC noted for other than seceding from the Union, which in concert with other Southern states started the Civil War? Not a lot to boast about. I get as angry when I see a Confederate flag flapping, as when I see Nazi symbols of white supremacists.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  7. Bill C

    This is not news, except it gives the liberals at CNN an opportunity to denigrate Christians.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  8. Mike

    Really...who cares?

    November 15, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  9. Whammybar

    Reality is that it doesn't matter what Jones or Graham thinks. The real issue is these supposed men of God judging the POTUS and for political reasons only. Both of them can shut up and go away. These people are entertainers that sell snake oil and rob little old ladys of their money so they can build huge temples and live in million dollar homes.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  10. Don

    First of all, who the "F" is Bob Jones "III" and why the he11 is he wasting our time?

    Yawn.

    Next story!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  11. Rick Banet

    Another right wing religious nutcase.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  12. SCAtheist

    Bob Jones is the head a for profit unaccredited so called university. His politics is way more important to him than his fake religion.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  13. Mike

    Bob Jones is the blue eyed devil, haha!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  14. Jacqui

    Thank God, there is only one God, and His name is NOT Bob Jones. Thank God, Jesus Christ isn't Bob Jones and Thank God it wasn't Bob Jones' blood that was shed for the remission of our sins.
    Jesus said that we should not judge, lest we ourselves be judged. He also said that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him shall be saved. There is a day of reckoning coming Bob Jones, and then everything will be made clear.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Of all the times I post on this blog it never ceases to amaze me how people believe in this Christianity thing without giving a moments pause to some fundamental problems within their doctrine. A few topics back I asked any believer to provide even one tiny detail about their God... I got nothing!!!
      So todays question is this.
      Why does your God require sacrifice...of any sort? In the Old Testament god was appeased by animal sacrifice. Remember that Abel was favored by god for his burnt offering of flesh while Cain was chastised for merely offering his crop of produce. In the New Testament Gods requirement is escalated to human sacrifice...of his own son no less. Why is the taking of life necessary to God? How can any thinking individual agree that this is a reasonable need for an all powerful being to accomplish his ends? Further if God "must" have a life offered to accomplish his ends then such a being is more desreving of contempt than worship. But perhaps there is something I'm missing here that some Christian can enlighten me about. Do tell...Why is god so blood thirsty?

      November 15, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  15. Randy

    The type of guy I would love to drop off in Compton, CA!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • SpudAZ

      You got it bud, his church should be called the Bob Jones W.A.S.P.s!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  16. dugee

    Sure, anyone can say he's a christian. Also any idiot can arbitrarily say someone is not a christian. It's not like science where a measurement of some sort is required.In Iran, the mullahs have the luxury of saying who is not a muslim. I don't think anyone would favor the religious leaders having that kind of power in this country.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  17. Michael

    These people are CRAZY!

    November 15, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  18. Mike

    A few words from the bible for the politically motivated hypocrite Bob Jones III

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye ? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  19. Dave

    Hey George

    If.Obama care is such a.great deal and then why did the Senate,Congress and the President exempt themselves from this allegedly great health care system?

    November 15, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Mirosal

      Because they already get free medical care. So does the military, but the military deserves it, Congress doesn't. The military WORKS for a living.

      November 15, 2011 at 7:09 am |
  20. Rich

    Who cares what Bob Jones thinks except his sheep.I say tax him like the rest of us

    November 15, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • Michael

      To that, I say AMEN!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • Mike

      Agreed. There are too many rich pastors fleecing the flock for their own gain. Bob Jones, Rick Warren and (everyone of his proteges) , Joel Osteen, Ed Young, Ed Young Jr., John Hagee, the list goes on and on. These guys use multi-level marketing against their own sheep. We should tax them higher than anyone else!!!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:11 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.