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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. Kent Allard

    Franklin has what I like to call the "sanctimonious squint", a common facial expression of media oriented preachers. They must think the squint gives them a sense of gravitas.

    There are repeated admonitions against public prayer in the bible, you recall . It's odd that they find so many folks to demonize because of arcane biblical passages yet continue to pray in public despite the pointed criticism of such actions by their Creator.

    If you watch the TV preachers closely when they are praying with a camera on them you will see something notable. They all have the same expression on their face during public prayer that most people have while voiding in the wake of a cheese heavy meal.

    Coincidence? I don't think so.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  2. Dan Halen

    “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.

    Apparently he took one foot out of his mouth and then inserted the other.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  3. logic n LA

    Why does the press insist on givng space to these evangelical crackpots? Their commitment to God seems to be mired in money and they realize that politics has more available to them than preaching.
    He is at best just a person- not an authority.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Rediculigious

      Well said LA

      February 29, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  4. COlady

    Franklin Graham must be an embarrassment to his father. He needs to quit using the Graham name to get publicity, sit down, shut up, and go color.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • dman

      well said!

      February 29, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  5. Saadik

    Graham has once again articulated the Kingdom of this world has captured his heart and mind over the Kingdom of God. On the Morning of Michigan and Arizona win by Mitt, Brother Graham, who once supported Newt and Trump for Presidency, now does not think there is nothing wrong with a Mormon as Potus.
    If By virtue of his parents faith, obama cannot be a Christian, then why are we Preaching the Gospel to the 41% of the Unreached people groups, the Two-thirds of the world's population - more than 4.4 billion people, esp in windows1040 who are predominantly of islam and other religion?
    A Man of Collar but without Calling, is a perfect political chaplain for the upcoming circus.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • dman

      great stuff!

      February 29, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  6. Rachel G.

    He says that now, but wait until Sunday morning pundit programs and he'll start again with the Muslim chant.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  7. Rediculigious

    So much for following in his father's footsteps. But then we have an undeclared religious war going on between the Jews and Christians against the Moslems today. And it doesn't take the words of BG Jr. to prove.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Michael Johnson

      We have the highest percentage of "Christians" in this nation with the largest prison population, the larger number of drug users and that is a nation divided over religion because of god fearing Christians who believe in this wondrous loving god that gives little girls cancer to test the faith of her parents as they watch her dying.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      This is proof that prayer does not work.
      I have been praying for weeks that this poster drop dead at the keyboard.
      Yet here it is posting the same drivel over and over.

      Ignore Christian troll bot.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  9. omegarising

    The bible says you can tell a christian by their fruit. Barry's fruit is rotten through and through!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Rediculigious

      And you my friend are a fruitcake.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • The REAL Truth

      The bible also says that you should take in your dead brothers wife and lay with her. We don't go for that behavior much today do we! It also states that adulterers should be stoned, but hey.. POT is illegal.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      Spoken like a true christian.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  10. richard

    Franklins father would be deeply disappointed in the bigotry his son has demonstrated in his comments that are clearly far above his pay grade - what a sad commentary for a man who espouses that he has Christian values.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Rediculigious

      Read some of the stuff his father was spewing 50 years ago.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  11. Marie

    Im not sure why Mr. Graham apologized. Alot of us wonder about Mr. Obama's faith. If you read the Word of God (bible) you will begin to learn the truth, christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with our Maker. He created us every intricate detail, our God made us and He desires that relationship with us, just as you talk with a friend, talk to Him on a daily basis, He wants to hear from us. How He loves us, He is the one who gives true wisdom, He is the One who shows us how to live in this world. All that is surrounding us, we need Him and He wants us. In Micah 6:8 man is asking what is required of him by God, but to do justly, to love mercy, to humbly with your God. Seek the truth and you will find and when you do, exercise faith. He says you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek for Me with all your heart.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Rediculigious

      I am sure you are very kind and humble in the clothe of Jesus Christ Marie.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • HartMatters

      And you would know of President Obama's daily prayer habits, or his personal relationship with God, how?

      February 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • CAROLYN IMOISILI

      So Marie, whch of the Micah 6:8, does not apply to this President? Does he not act justly. is he not humble enough given how some people have disrespected him as no other President in this country I have been opportuned to see has ever been disrespected? Thank God that his word says his thoughts are far higher than ours amd his ways are not ours. Those who call themselves christians better understand that the goodness of God in us is judged by what we say and do and we were never told in the bible to love only your "professed christian neighbour as yourself". We eho call ourselves christians better watch our motives which only God sees and knows and will judge.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • The REAL Truth

      Those who really care about the faith of the POTUS are those who are insecure, lost and need direction in their own lives. Faith should never enter into deciding who's best for President.
      But in a country which is #1 for violence, gun deaths, greed (wall st. 1%, etc), DEBT but where an exposed breast is a no-no, you are questioning the faith of the President based on a politically motivated statement and follow up apology? It's asinine at worst and laughable at best.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      First you say "alot of us wonder about the presidents faith".
      Then you say its between him and his god.
      Whats it gonna be Marie ?

      February 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  12. wittynotes

    So what if he was Muslim? What happened to separation of church and state?

    February 29, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Truth=Jesus

      it's the difference in mercy killings and right to live

      February 29, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      If somebody killed you, it would be mercy for the rest of us
      who have to listen to your drivel.
      -------------------------------–
      Truth=Jesus

      it's the difference in mercy killings and right to live

      February 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  13. CTYank

    The Rev. appears to mistake his extreme shallowness as depth. It'd help him to question some of the nonsense he spews.
    His daddy was pretty good at dancing around the important stuff: "Well, God is defined as ..." Tree, meet acorn.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Bewildered

      TO CTYank
      Billy Graham was and is one of the most honest and beloved evangelicals in this country.. He never danced around anything. He told the truth and was committed to his faith. When are you Obama lovers going to quit harassing people for their opinions. See we live in America and have every right as an American Citizen to express our thoughts, they do not have to corrulate with the liberals in this country...

      February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • jimtanker

      He may be beloved but he is hardly honest. or an idiot, on of the two. No rational thinking person can believe in fairy tales and make that his whole life.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  14. PoBoy

    So Franklin is finally starting to realize that he is not his Dad, nor is he Jesus Christ. Now if only Ricky Sanctimonious would do the same. I think religious leaders should stick to things religious, and politicians to politics and never the 2 shall meet. However, Americans lack the ability to separate the two, so here we are.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  15. JT

    The Rev. Graham would do well to talk to his father about the older Rev. Graham's support of Nixon and the lessons learned (and behavior changed) from that.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  16. Seattle Sue

    Franklin Graham is a piece of mitt.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  17. t.sarcastic

    Like so many big business people, Mr. Graham is doing what he can to maintain the value of his franchise.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  18. KC Yankee

    What's really amazing about this is the fuss that's raised about which ridiculous fairy tale a president believes in. I'm completely convinced from the writing in his autobiography and his early campaigning that Obama is in fact a secular humanist who is smart enough to recognize that no one is going to get elected in this country of idiots unless he professes to be a Christian. I applaud him for what he (doesn't) believe and for being smart enough to know when to keep his mouth shut about it.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Chris

      Very accurate. Too bad there is no "Like" button.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  19. Michael

    I too, have been told that Graham is a Christian, and I accept his claim.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  20. LiaF

    I do not like the younger Rev. Graham. He sounded like he's practicing perdition.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:20 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.