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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

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (785 Responses)
  1. phenoy

    Like all big-time showmen evangelists, Graham is about as unChristian as a snake oil salesman...wait, he IS a snake oil salesman...

    February 29, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Being a Christian does not make you perfect. Only Christ was perfect. You will never find a man who is perfect and does not sin, even Christians.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Cyric

    Religious zealots who proclaim these deep religious beliefs who then act counter to those very beliefs make no sense to me, any sane person realizes this type of behavior and comments as simply hypocrisy. He neither practices nor preaches any of the Bible except for the 2-3 pages he misrepresents, while discarding the majority of what Jesus is supposed to be about. Money and greed has poisoned religion like it has everything else in the world.

    February 29, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  3. LORD TOM CRUISE

    no one cares about oballsma

    he's washed up

    notice how gray his hair is getting?

    it's because he can't figure out how to do his job

    same thing happened to bush

    think about it

    he's a closet republican

    February 29, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  4. OrangeW3dge

    "Salvation" is not done on a team basis. You are born alone and you die alone. If God gives you a backstage pass, that's His business, Not Yours *****

    February 29, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  5. E In Houston, TX

    Franklin Graham apologizes? Know the best apology he can give? He can stay away from commenting in public if all he has are right wing talking points.

    As a Christian I am totally offended by Mr. Franklin Graham's audacious and obviously biased pronouncement about the President. The Bible says we must all work out our own individual salvation. That said, I'm NOT impressed with a half-baked apology from a holier than thou, who will never be one tenth who his father is.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Elaine Cantalupo

      Franklin Graham has inherited his father's religion business. They made sure to keep it in the family. After all, why give up the mansion, the private airplanes and all the other wealth gleaned from pimping Jesus. Franklin is a racist and is famous for his outrageous racist remarks. He always claims to misspeak, but this is not a Christian. Franklin is a business man, nothing more. God would never walk beside this fool who continues to get his wealth by bilking believers out of their money. Selling Jesus is a big big big business and every single faith on earth makes billions from it. The only product they ever produce is keeping human beings in their thrall so they can keep getting the money. None of them live the way Jesus tells them to. Poor God, He started something with good intentions, but seeing His mistake with Adam and Eve, He should have erased them and started all over again. He certainly never expected His ideal to become profit making businesses for all mankind.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • phenoy

      If the Grahams are real Christians, they would have given up everything that they have in order to follow Jesus...

      February 29, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Pat

      Amen!!!!

      February 29, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Rick

      Love your neighbor as yourself. How is your love for Franklin these days?

      March 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  6. fernace

    @What? A persons faith is between her/him & her/his God! No other human has the right to interfere w/or question that relationship! I was taught, as christians we respect a persons individuality & ability to make a decision & don't dispense advice unless invited to! It's God's job to judge, not mine!!

    February 29, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  7. fernace

    There may be members of his own church who will vote for Obama & have taken him to task! Furthermore, it does not behoove an Evangelical Christian Minister of a mega-church & ministry to appear too fanatical! Like Santorum or Bachmann! He truly neesd to step away from the fanatical mele' & lead his church & congregation in God, not Politics!!

    February 29, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Me-Too

      According to the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 7, we are not to judge. Paul said in his letter to Corinth that we are to judge ourselves not each other and especially someone's faith.
      Jesus told His disciples that He has people who are in the same place they were in but love and serve Him all the same...

      February 29, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  8. enuff

    As a christian, he should instead be rejoicing in the fact that our President has chosen to proclaim Jesus rather than doubting it.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • What?

      As a Christian, we have the right to question the authenticity of any Christians' faith.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • phenoy

      As a Christian, the only person you should question is yourself.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • 2cent4free

      @ What? In what bible did you read that?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  9. watash

    This so-called preacher is the spawn of the devil. His Father plotted with Richard Nixon to get rid of the Jews at the same time he was supposedly saving thousands of souls in sporting arenas around the country. What a bunch of hypocrites these evangelicals are.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  10. watash

    What a freak this hypocrite is.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  11. OrangeW3dge

    People that hide themselves from the light end up missing the beauty of a rainbow.
    Franklin Graham appears to be such a person, as it becomes apparent that his world consists of objects that are only black or white.
    A man is half Caucasian, half African; a Christian by upbringing but a absentee father that was Muslim; lived and learned different cultures while growing up, yet born in the USA and an American citizen. A veritable rainbow of a man, not just an old B&W movie.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  12. mark

    What a loser you are mr holy man

    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  13. Nnenna

    Not enough...

    February 29, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  14. Reality

    Graham and his father should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2 million/yr.

    And they have the audacity to call themselves Christians !!!!!

    February 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • dj98

      Right on it!

      February 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  15. cali girl

    This is a man, not a holy person. I can't believe he gets to speak . Then to say at the end that Romney being mormon that he would not be considered christian by most people is him opening his mouth to spew more garbage. I wonder if Pat Robertson is his mentor.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • watash

      His Father also made the statement on live T.V. that a condemned mass murderer could go to heaven but Mother Theresa could not. Go figure that one out.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • phenoy

      LOL, if there is one person who has reserved seating in heaven, that would be Mother Theresa. The elder Graham would be lucky if he could scalp some tickets.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  16. Humanity

    Faith is not important. It is the morality and justness of a person that matters most.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  17. fred

    I'm glad that Franklin Graham apologized, because his comments were way out of line.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Me-Too

      Fred Im glad he apologized, but upset that he didn't use the same modality. Go back to the national media and offer the apology to our Christian President Barack Obama...

      February 29, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  18. Cheryl

    So it isn't the President he doesn't like so much as it's gay rights?

    February 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  19. momoya

    You'd think that somebody with a hotline to god wouldn't have to backtrack like that.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  20. Jesus

    Believe in your own mind and don't fall for the false saying prayer changes things because the experts have proven their claims are false.

    The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:41 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.