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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. Truth

    Disgusting people like Franklin, who claim to be christians yet exhibit the most un-christ like behavior, are the reason so many people are turning away from the christian religion.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      So I guess it would have been more Christlike for him to ignore the fact that Obama supports abortion, murder, gay agenda, idolatry and numerous other things God forbids and lie when he was asked to answer a question.

      i will spew you out of my mouth.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      god also forbids lying and hating but that hasnt stopped you apparently.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • i wonder

      I can't decide whether to tell Franklin to shut up and quit making a fool of himself, or to advise him to keep spewing and keep proving what a jerk he is.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Where is my lie? I don't hate a soul. Not even Obama. I feel sorry for him. He is so full of himself, he thinks he is the answer and that we don't need to answer to God.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Truth=Jesus – Where is my lie?"

      by claiming Obama said things he didnt say, and did things he didnt do...for starters.
      and hate...oh please you spout hate almost every time you post. ...
      for example: OBAMA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN....AND I'M NOT SORRY I SAID IT!"
      ....that isnt exactly an expression of love there.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      God forbids lying, but you have been doing an awful lot of it.
      You dont seem to have a problem with that, do you ?
      ---------------------------
      Truth=Jesus

      So I guess it would have been more Christlike for him to ignore the fact that Obama supports abortion, murder, gay agenda, idolatry and numerous other things God forbids and lie when he was asked to answer a question.

      By the way, god says NOTHING about abortion or gays.
      Keep it coming liitle turd.
      People are going to pick you apart, chew you up,
      and spit you out.

      February 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  2. Steve

    His apology will be accepted, I'm sure, by President Obama. Not by me. Graham is a self serving hypocrit.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  3. Jesus

    You all love me.. I love Obama.. so therefore you love Obama too.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      We can love him but hate the lies.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Dance This Mess Around

    *** Truth=Jesus

    Get your eyes off of the Grahams and get it on Jesus. Does Obama's life line up with the word of God. NOT!

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

    And Jesus would approve of you judging Obama ?
    Its true about you christians, you dont practice what you preach.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Jesus told me I would know them by their fruit. So yes he wants me to know him and not vote for him because he produces bad fruit!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • The REAL Truth

      Oh dear Truth=Jesus.. you are so far off base. Trolling, wacko, handle change all come to mind.
      I could care less whether you like Obama or not, but you have yet to provide one shred of evidence to validate your position. That's to say nothing of the proclamations against the very hypocrisy you are making yourself.
      Please define Obama's fruit? You keep bring that up.

      February 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Hoo Myself

      Try looking in the mirror.

      Truth=Jesus

      Jesus told me I would know them by their fruit.

      You are the bad fruit.
      You are just too self absorbed and vain to see it.
      I bet you are attention starved, and you are in complete bliss
      over all the attention you are getting.
      The best thing for everyone posting here is to just ignore you.
      I hate censoring free speech, but maybe we could just report abuse
      and get you blocked.
      You add nothing to the conversation but lies and hate.
      You are one very sad human being.
      But you would probably take that as a compliment.

      Time to move on folks,
      Truth=Jesus is the worst kind of troll.

      When he no longer gets the attention he needs, we will read that he has
      beat somebody up, or shot someone.
      This is one sick person.

      February 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  5. bea

    He is not sincere in his apology. This is a pity because I used to look up to him as a good example for our country. Now I have to apologize to our country.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Frank

      Good, he didnt owe him one!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Frank.....AMEN!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  6. View

    Preachers are such a sleazy bunch, why would anyone listen to anything they say? He's nothing but a death insurance salesman hell bent on gaining power and influence.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  7. Frank

    "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."

    ________________________________________________

    Well, above are the FACTS and the TRUTH. Since when should you have to apologize for TELLING THE FACTS!?

    February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • skarphace

      The FACTS are that Graham made these statements to appease bigots like yourself.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • So What

      My grandmother was a Methodist. I never met her... whew!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      And I was baptised, that supposedly makes me christian.
      The thing is Graham was saying it as an attempt to question Obama's faith. That is what the apology is for.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      The truth is the media got what they wanted. They themselves know Obama does not have Christian values and that is why they asked the questions, to put Graham between a rock and hard place and make him squirm. He has nothing to be sorry for. Obama is the one who is lying. If it were not true the media could care less.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • The REAL Truth

      And so what if he WAS a Muslim Frank? Please provide some facts to identify how he has furthered their agenda! Heck, the Muslims don't need to.. we've doing to ourselves with the likes of you an truth! If he ever was a Muslim (which has never been proven and his actions prove otherwise), so what if he became a Christian somewhere along the way
      How about Newt? He's flip-flopped religions numerous times... depending on political affiliations..

      February 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  8. skarphace

    People like Graham expect that they can say anything they want about anybody and later just issue an 'apology' and all will be ok. However, they know very well that their original statement does more to appease the bigots who feed on such rhetoric than an apology will ever do to compensate for the harm that they have already done.

    Mr. Graham, I would like to say that the American people do not accept your apology. Please take Santorum and all of your Tea Party bigots and go create your "Christian Nation" somewhere else. Leave America to the rest of us.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Frank

      He didn't owe anyone an apology! HE STATED FACTS! Ask any scholar of ISLAM and he will tell you the same thing!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Mike in SD

    All of these baseless claims like the birther idiots, socialism...whatever is all about energizing the lowest common denominator. Keep slingin' crap and somebody, somewhere will believe it. Unfortunately for politicians more and more people do not tote the party line and, as a result, it's the vision not the party and that view held by independents decide elections. The "noise" just shows that there are no better ideas out there and certainly a lack of character.
    Answer the question what will you do and how will you do it? I

    February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  10. nolapearl

    He's an embarrassment to his father's good name.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Why cause he was asked a question and he didn't want to lie.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Frank

      For stating facts and the truth!? You numbskull. I never thought I would live to see that day the TRUTH would become the new hate speech and speaking the truth and pointing out facts makes you a racist and a bigot. EXCEPT, only those of COLOR can be discriminated against, you can bash HON KEYS / CRAC KERS all day long and nobody says a word!

      Scr ew the NAACP! Racist pigs!

      February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Godzuki

    My beliefs do not control me, I control my beliefs! Church pastors, imams, and gurus have no control over me! Be your own pastor/imam/guru and find your happiness... Peace and blessings...

    February 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Must be new age.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. FunnyGraham

    “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.

    what about a Christian who has a good strong honest marriage and raised two good daughters vs another Christian who has had ethics violations, has been unfaithful repeatedly to his spouses, skipped on child support and divorced 3 times?
    I guess Franklin was at least honest he said he supported the latter.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      That proves nothing. Look at the prophets in the bible, none of them had a clean slate. All have sinned. It's what you're doing now that matters.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  13. Truth=Jesus

    OBAMA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN....AND I'M NOT SORRY I SAID IT!

    February 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Well thats an opinion, which makes you judgemental and hateful....more no-no's Im afraid.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Truth=Jesus

      OBAMA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN....AND I'M NOT SORRY I SAID IT!"

      And you are not a true christian, just an insecure human being who's trolling this blog for attention. Grow up.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      Niether are you.

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

      Actually Obama is a Christian.. he's just not the kind of Christians that the right wing Republicans wants him to be.. you know the kind of 'Christians' that likes to go to war, supports the rich, have megachurches with multi-millionaire pastors, have affairs, beat their kids, have divorce rates even higher than non christians, ..... that kind of Christians.
      Jesus would wept if he sees the kind of people living in the US today taking his name in vain like that and practicing a religion with the same name that is in such contrast to what he teaches 2000 years ago!!!.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Scott

    Truth=Jesus

    Do you personally know the President? No, you probably don't. So how the HELL can you possibly tell anyone what his personal belief system is based on?

    And I'm pretty sure your boy jesus was all about treating your enemy as you would your neighbor, so maybe you're the one who's not a real follower of Christ. And trust me, if jesus came back today, he would be standing up there behind Obama, and not your hateful self. 🙂

    February 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Truth=Jesus

      BECAUSE HE AIRS IT ON TV AND TO THE MEDIA–HELLO!
      I MAY NOT MAKE IT EITHER, BUT I CAN GUARANTEE YOU THAT OBAMA WON'T IF HE KEEP KILLING UNBORN CHILDREN AND SUPPORT THE GAY AGENDA.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Myrna

      Perfectly stated.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • mr. Steve-o

      Who died and made you owner of the plantation??

      February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • John

      Your boy-really smacks of alot of reverence?Franklin Graham has done many great things,such as head up a ministry called Samaritans Purse,which has done incredible work towards disaster relief.What have you done?He simply speaks the truth which is that this President has done more to distance himself against evangelical Christians by supporting liberal causes,using the world's largest stage to promote gay rights,and too many issues to mention that Mr.Obama's faith,or lack of,is obvious to everyone.Not to mention that he is the son of Billy Graham.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Moses Pandian

    I was a Hindu as my parents were Hindus. Now I am a Christian, being belived in Jesus Christ. How does my paren's Hindu faith will apply to my Christian faith?. It is better for Mr. Graham to be away from the Politics and be abide in the calling by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called." 1 corinthians 7:20

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  16. flint

    God forbid you folks should talk about the real issues facing the USA. Go on with your discussion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pen.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  17. Steve

    Graham needs to shut up and keep his narrow views to himself. He and his followers have little relevance and should recognize that there is still a seperation of church and state in this country. One only has to look at the Middle East to see how well the mixing of religion and government works. As these views for the most part are from the folks down south, I think it would be a great idea if they all gathered in say Texas where they can celebrate their nutty views until the cows come home and even secede like good ol govenor Perry has suggested. Works for me!

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  18. ABMiller

    Hey Rev, nobody cares about your opinion about someone else's faith. Shut up and live your own religion. Christ is the Great Judge and will decide who his followers are at the Judgement Seat on Judgement Day...not you or your dad. While you're at it, apologize to Romney and the Mormons, if you have the guts (again, hate to pop your balloon, but you're opinion equals squat, now during mortality, and more importantly in the next life). This is just a PR stunt, to get invited back to the WH. Hypocrite. Whited sepluchre. Pharisee...

    February 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  19. atypical

    religion sucks. it's the biggest illusion of all time.
    if we can get people to believe in something "out there," something we must aspire to or look to OR fear–then we keep people distracted from the greater reality that we are all multi-dimensional beings living a physical-limiting life, looking for a way to make sense of the maze we commonly refer to as "life."
    forgive us for we know not what we do in ignorance.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  20. Rob

    Ah yes – another Far Right Extremist makes a very public and very un-Christian swipe at the President to gin up his base and money machine and then issues his "apology" once the spot lights are turned off and he wants to get some of the heat off of him.

    These guys like Graham will have a really bad day when Judgement Day arrives and they have to account for their words and actions – particularly while profiting off the Christian religion.

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

      My Judgement Day? Or Terminators Judgement Day? We have to be clear here.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:45 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.