Franklin Graham apologizes for questioning Obama's faith commitment
Franklin Graham's has previously raised doubts about President Obama's Christianity.
February 28th, 2012
10:38 PM ET

Franklin Graham apologizes for questioning Obama's faith commitment

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Rev. Franklin Graham on Tuesday apologized for publicly raising questions about President Barack Obama’s Christian faith, saying “I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama.”

The statement from Graham came in response to a letter from faith leaders associated with the NAACP that said Graham’s statements “have enormous negative effects for America and are especially harmful to the Christian witness.”

In a television interview last week that provoked huge media attention, Graham appeared to question the sincerity of Obama’s Christian commitment.

"You have to ask him,” Graham said, pondering whether Obama is Christian. “I cannot ask that question for anybody."

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In the  February 21 interview on MSNBC, Graham repeated earlier statements about Obama’s ties to Islam, while denying that the president is a Muslim.

"Under Islamic law – Sharia law – Islam sees him as a son of Islam," Graham said. “Because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim. ... That's just the way it works."

In their Tuesday letter to Graham, the NAACP faith leaders, which included the presidents of the National Baptist Convention USA and the National Baptist Convention of America, took aim at the MSNBC interview.

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“We were disturbed and disappointed by statements … that questioned whether President Obama is a Christian,” the letter said. “Rev. Graham also seemed to imply that the president may be a Muslim, despite the fact that the president has repeatedly expressed his faith and belief in Jesus Christ.”

In his statement on Tuesday, Graham said, “The president has said he is a Christian and I accept that (and have said so publicly on many occasions).”

“I apologize to him and to any I have offended for not better articulating my reason for not supporting him in this election—for his faith has nothing to do with my consideration of him as a candidate,” Graham’s statement continued.

Graham, an evangelical Christian who is the son of evangelist Billy Graham, also rejected the idea of voting for a candidate on the basis of a shared religious faith.

“I would support a Mormon or a Jew who supported the defense of marriage defined as being between a man and a woman over a Southern Baptist or Presbyterian who did not,” he said.

In the MSNBC interview, Graham said most Christians would "not recognize Mormonism" as part of Christianity in response to a question about whether Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is a Christian.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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soundoff (785 Responses)
  1. Shiva

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    May 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  2. Mark

    He doesnt have a christian name? thats why he is not a christian? Really. Whats Jesus Christian name? When he was baptised by John, was he given an English or American name to make the process Legit?
    See, as long as your focus of hatred is Obama, you have missed the whole Christianity picture. Obama's Ear is more a christian than the bump beating in your chest that you call a heart.
    As for his politics, i dont agree with Obama's Policies and therefore pray he is not re-elected, but when it comes about God, Ya'll have no spiritual or earthly authority to Judge a man's faith for the simple reason that you really HATE his politics or the color of his skin, or the religion of a father he's never/seldom seen.
    Get a life or heart, will ya

    March 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  3. patriotprez

    Christians do not use the US Justice Dept to aid and abet Black Panthers armed voter intimidation in Philadelphia like Obama did.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  4. patriotprez

    Christians do not sit in racist liberation theology churches and call Rev Wright their spiritual mentor like Obama did for 20 years.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  5. patriotprez

    Christians do not order the symbols of Christianity be covered up and hidden like Obama did when he spoke at Georgetown University.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  6. patriotprez

    Christians do not mock the Holy Bible yet praise the muslim quran as Obama has done in countless speeches.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • objectivefactsmatter


      I Muslim may claim to be a Christian or a Jew as this is understood to imply that Muslims are the only true religion and are replacing the past "groups" (this is their logic, not mine). Without hearing Obama clearly denounce the Koran for its claims of against Judeo Christianity, the evidence is clear that Obama is pro-Islam at the expense of Judeo Christianity. His saavy understanding of politics and religion have allowed him to court both Muslims and the majority of naive Christians too.

      What does he truly believe? If I had to guess, I'd say he's an atheist that straddles and abuses the cultures of religion for political objectives.
      If anyone is the messiah, it is Obama himself according to his wife.

      All that aside, the most serious breech is probably the declaration that the Koran is holy, which no educated Christian can claim...and Obama can't claim ignorance here, can he? He supposedly knows both religions, which means he must know the Islamic position as it must "obliterate" all other religions. It does allow for compromise when necessary not in the name of peace but in the name of preparation for annihilation of the enemy. Do some research on Saudi Arabia past the superficial oil-based relationship with the west in these modern times. I hear a lot of ignorance here.

      The errors here are just too numerous to get in to, but I can suggest any sincere Christians or lovers of the truth to try "The Berean Call" web site and resource center.

      May 8, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  7. patriotprez

    A Christian would never say "my muslim faith" as Barak Hussein Obama did in an interview with George Stephanopoulos.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  8. patriotprez

    Christians do not dictate Israel retreat to the 1967 Auschwitz line knowing full well it would be the death of Israel as Obama does.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  9. patriotprez

    Christians do not vote to kill babies before, during and after they are born as Obama did 3 times while in the Illinois legislature.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  10. patriotprez

    Christians do not bow to muslim kings as Barak Hussein Obama did when he bowed to Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

    March 25, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  11. patriotprez

    The Top Ten reasons why Barak Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian:

    March 25, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  12. Rick

    It was not unreasonable for Rev. Graham to ask that question. First of all and foremost Obama's father was a muslim. Secondly he doesn't have a Christian name. Usually Muslims have muslim names. Another reason it is a question is Obam's failure to support Israel and his support for Arab muslim countries. 3rdly Obama's social policies toward Christians in persecution. There is very little outward action to prevent the persecution of Christians. Lets just frame the question with a little fairness for Reverend Graham view.!

    March 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  13. ruth

    Jeremiah Wright......obama believes in his indoctrination!

    March 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
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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.