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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. Mattski

    As he should. Franklin placed his faith and Jesus' teachings on hold for the sake of politics. How perfectly un-Christian of him.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  2. phil,left of center

    I am finally glad to see a number of people put their political agenda aside and let Mr. Franklin know about his error,theologic and rational ..restores a little faith I have in the Christians who call themselves the Lords children

    February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  3. realitybites

    "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."

    Runs along the Nazi line of you came from Jews so you are a Jew. Hitler had Jewish ties and he had the town his family came from obliterated to cover it up. I'm sure, since i have hispanic in me that I may have Moor in me and they were Muslims. Does that make all hispanic's,by default , Muslims?

    February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Momof3

      I guess according to Mr. Graham, people aren't allowed to falter from their parents footsteps. Says a lot about how christians think...

      February 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • realitybites

      Well under his logic, that would make his kids and grandkids alcoholics and coke heads. By the way, I wonder what kind of authority he is on Islam and it's teaching. Do you think he has studied Sharia law?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Roert

    obama is not a Christian no real Christian would go to a Church of Hate for 20 years . And call the racist Rev. wright a his mentor .

    February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • realitybites

      Ignorance runs deep. Maybe you should make an appointment w/ Jesus to get that looked at.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Blessings

      You are either not a Christian, or you are not following the principals taught by Jesus Christ. Don't vote for him, but your challenge is not to hate him. Try not liking him instead.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Scott

      I didn't realize you knew the president personally, and well enough that you get to decide what his PERSONAL faith is. Good for you roert. And who needs a B, right?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • realitybites

      And you were annointed by judge other's faith by whome?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • yvette

      can u say KKK we no that the tea-party is and so is the GOP and all of FOXS news is. we no u for who n what u r.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      obama is not a Christian .....

      And you are ?

      February 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  5. rojopa

    Don't forget that he sat in the racists Rev. Wright's church for 20 years listening to all that racism and hatred for America. How can anyone question BO's faith?

    February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • realitybites

      Same prognosis for you too. Man this is worse than I thought, Maybe we should call the secretary of Faith to get the CDC on this. Think for yourself much?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • fugislalcla

      In a black church the folks held in slavery by the evil folks are, not illogically, compared to the
      history of blacks in the USA.I mean who are the evil folks to be compared to?Wright just wants them to repent and stop their evil.If in the Catholic Church 80% of the folks dont practice what the Priest says(Or agree apparently) but still attend why would you think that a protestant would take every thing his pastor says as "Gospel"?A mentor is not seen by all mentees(?) as an ALL knowing person.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  6. ConsiderThis

    Many can look at Franklin Graham's life and question the authenticity of his so-called Christian faith. My advice to him would be to read the Bible for it will remind him of the truth about himself. We all fall short of the glory of God and the best that we have to offer Him is defiled. That includes Franklin Graham.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  7. Paul

    Franklin Graham is a shadow of his father. If that.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • realitybites

      Amen to that, Brother!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  8. Las Cabanuelas

    With the advent of the headstrong, forceful, and insidious "cultural" issue of religion pushed front-and-center into 2012 pre-election politics, the make-no-mistake-about-it inference becomes that ONLY, repeat, ONLY Christians could ever hope to become President of the United States, casting non-Christians and/or non-believers as outliers and therefore un-American. Is that what they are proclaiming in churches and religious schools around the country today? Is that what we have to look forward to after all of our past attempts to promote diversity? If so, then we become the likeness of past and present nations that rule on a one religion platform, and conversely, on a no religion platform, as in China. I ask this: Does being Christian make a candidate automatically viable to run for president? Does being Christian really make a candidate more qualified than a non-Christian? If the answers are yes, then our country will devolve instead of evolve. If the answers are yes, our country will regress instead of progress. Our country will become the theocracy the ultra Right Christian voters desire. This alternative is unthinkable.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  9. polycarp pio

    If you were arrested for being a christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you????????????????? PP

    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  10. Russ

    There is no God, therefore the traditional meaning of Christian doesn't matter. If living a life that treats everyone fairly and equally is considered Christian then so be it. Let's get the the bunk of religion out of our lives. It does nothing but alienate people against one another. What does that accomplish? There is no god.....religion is a joke.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Tell it to the aborted children.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Scott

      Truth=jesus
      "Tell it to the aborted children."

      We can't tell them anything because they're dead.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Momof3

      Truth=jesus
      "Tell it to the aborted children."

      And, they wouldn't understand you anyway...

      February 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • realitybites

      Truth=Jesus
      Your logic would only work for those that agree w/ you. Arguing w/ an Athiest that abortion should be illegal b/c you are destroying a soul is like arguing w/ a Christian that there is no God. Anyway, you were a little off topic, I'm assumng you are one of those people who votes Republican everytime primarily on the issue of Abortion even when your Republican leaders salivate at the chance to send our children in to harms way via war. Does your conscience bother you much or do you just sweep it under the bible and tell yourself that God loves you most becuase you're better than those others since you found Jesus? God gave you a brain, think and ask questions even if you're terrified to. What do you think is worse, doing what others scare you into or questioning their AUTHORITY to tell you what you should or should not believe? Again, if God gave you a brain, why would he want you to be a bumbling sheep bleeting out all that you've been fed? Thinking is our greatest gift. Don't insult the creator by wasting it. I think if you, do you'll find more peace. Good luck and happy journey.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      ** Truth=Jesus

      Tell it to the aborted children.
      --------------------–

      Too bad your mother didnt abort you.
      I am NOT a christian, but neither are you.
      You are just a hateful little troll with an agenda
      against Obama.
      EF YOU.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  11. b.g.

    what is new with the response,nada typical

    February 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  12. mortor city man

    Franklin Graham is mentally ill in my opinion! He needs to get medical treatment and in the meantime keep his mouth shut!

    February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  13. Emery

    Jeez, we're STILL discussing this? Even though this very topic was already put to rest in 2008 during his campaign?

    OBAMA IS A CHRISTIAN

    DROP IT ALREADY.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      yeah him and aleister crowley.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • BlakeChilders

      in the end we don't know whether Obama really is who he says he is. Only the big dude upstairs knows that.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      I bet you play Black Sabbath albums backwards.

      ------------------------

      Truth=Jesus

      yeah him and aleister crowley.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  14. GaryOwen27

    The Red Neck Right in all it's glory.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  15. asher1

    All reglion should be banned.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Yeah, then we could think we are all that all on our own.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • DeTamble

      ?????????????????????????????

      Truth=Jesus

      Yeah, then we could think we are all that all on our own.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  16. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    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 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      And even that won't make Obama a Christian. What was it, "My Muslin faith."

      February 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  17. Robert

    Graham rejects the idea of voting for a candidate on basis of share religious faith. Liar Liar Liar.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  18. PEGGY GENTRY

    SO SAD THAT FRANKLIN WOULD CONSIDER HIMSELF "GOD AND JUDGE" . NO ONE HAS THAT POWER EXCEPT GOD!!!
    FRANKLIN IS LETTING POLITICS LEAD HIM INTO DESTRUCTION IF HE IS NOT CAREFUL. IF THE COUNTRY WOULD PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT AS MUCH AS THEY (CHRISTIANS) IHAVE PUT HIM DOWN OUT COUNRTY WOULD BE IN MUCH BETER SHAPE. FRANKLIN IS CERTAIILY NOT ACTING LIKE HIS PRECIOUS DAD TAUGHT HIM. HE IS ONLY LOOKING OUT FOR HIS OWN SELF. MAKES ME SAD A SO CALLED MAN OF GOD WOULD DO THIS.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      They asked the man the question. He was not there to discuss obama. They asked him. You make it sound as if he did the interview to bash Obama. Obama is not a Christian. FACE IT. Don't blast a man for trying to avoid answering their questions. I would have said NO period!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • th

      That is the republican way. They want to be so religious but treat people like garbage. Against abortion but don't want to help pay when the parent/parents can't afford to raise them. They are all hypocrits

      February 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Larry

      Good comment.
      I would like to see the Franklin Graham organisation become more transparent in their finance and salaries and monetary
      compenstion especially so many people are out of work and yet asking believers for 10 per cent contributions.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  19. teena

    We shall Know them by their Deeds–so how about all you so called Chrisitans practice what you preach–feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and caring for the "lesser of these"–oh I forgot that isn't the Republican way–it's every man/women for themselves but you women will take a back seat to your MAN!

    February 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  20. clarke

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. The Christian GOP (not all, but some) seems to have forgotten number 9.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • hippypoet

      the commandments are for the jewish believers, why are you christians so dumb?

      and to let you in on a super duper secret – there are 611 commandments!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:11 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.