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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. JAB62

    "for his faith has nothing to do with my consideration of him as a candidate". I believe that as much as I believe in the flying spaghetti monster.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  2. BasedInReality

    Franklin Graham meant every word he said or he wouldn't have said it just like the bigoted statements his dad made to Nixon about his views on certain "others". Saying oops now is so shallow and vapid. These snake oil salesmen need to be shamed into oblivion, certainly off the public stage.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Truth=Jesus

      I hope you are right and that he just got scared and apologized. I will think a lot more of him then.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  3. St Xavier

    We should live our lives by the example of Jesus Christ, speak no evil of other or force your beliefs on them, your religion is your business between you an your GOD keep it that way an the world will be a better PLACE.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  4. cameo35

    THE GRAHMS ALWAY THINKING THAT THEY ARE ' GODS RIGHT HAND MAN '.....................WELL AFTER APOLOGIZING TO MR. OBAMA...WHY DON'T YOU KISS HIS REAR.....................

    February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  5. Lord Ranoa

    THERE IS NO GOD PEOPLE. WAKE UP. YOU WERE NOT MADE BY A 6'2" WHITE GUY WITH A GOATEE!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  6. mk1

    Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum are embarrassments to ALL Christians. What a pair.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • jay12312

      specking for yourself of course

      February 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  7. PraiseTheLard

    It's amazing that anyone actually pays attention to what this person has to say...

    February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Truth=Jesus

      What's more amazing is that no one pays attention to the lies Obama tells and he's spending their money.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • The REAL Truth

      @truth=jesus ... you might come across as more "believable" if you backed up your vitriol with a few facts. Since it's obvious that your are merely trolling comments, I for one would love to read some of the aforementioned "lies" of which you speak. Have at it. We can handle it. Perhaps you have nothing but obnoxious gases to pass.

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

      @truth=jesus Where we you when Dubya was spending our $$. Or perhaps you have conveniently forgotten the $800+ BILLION TARP bailout given to banks a month before Obama to office. Or is that some left wing lie ?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      ** Truth=Jesus

      What's more amazing is that no one pays attention to the lies Obama tells and he's spending their money.
      ---------------------------------------------------

      Thats because he hasnt told any.
      You are pretty good at it.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  8. Naija

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Truth=Jesus

      Ghandi???? I don't remember his name in the Bible.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Kill The Wabbit

      This guy really is a moron.

      Truth=Jesus

      Ghandi???? I don't remember his name in the Bible.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  9. Cleavette

    Graham is an idiot and should just go away. What gives him the inside tract on someone else faith.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  10. paganguy

    Our leaders need vision not faith.
    Do I remember correctly that this faith healer denounced his father and his father's church before he was "re-educated" and rehab'd?

    February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  11. Christopher

    With his increasing forays into partisan politics, I fear Franklin Graham is becoming a disgrace to his father. Billy Graham never injected himself into partisan politics this way. Billy Graham ministered to both Republican and Democratic presidents. He understood the Christian principle that we all fall short of the Grace of God, but that there is hope of salvation for all. He also recognized that no one political party had a monoploy on virtue. Unfortunately, through his many slanted political comments over the years presented in the guise of religion, Franklin Graham demonstrates that he truly does not understand the messages of Jesus Christ. His father did, and still does.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Jim

      I agree with this post

      February 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Zil

    I hope that in the future there will no new that this Franklin Graham has an affair with a MAN!!!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  13. Speaker7

    Mr. Graham, purport to be a christian. He is obviously not following the teachings of Jesus, instead he showed his bigotry especially towards the President of the United States. How many followers of Christ who did not born to that faith, but through Christ redemption, according to the Christian faith did convert to Christianity? Mr. Graham, bigotry has no place in God's house, as a Christian, on the brink of running away from your kinda religion, you left a bad taste in my mouth. If your thoughts represent the Christian faith I want no part of it. Shame on you.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • ed galbraith

      Christianity, indeed all mysticism, is suffused with bigotry. That's the attraction.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  14. Illeagle-j1

    This is a 'CHRISTIA". a leader of a flock. An TheoElitist, who has never learned to first rule, of life, 'PUT BRAIN IN GEAR BEFORE ENGAGING MOUTH". Stupidity and bigotry, knows no theological boundaries. The Muslim radical clerics, the Grahms of the Christian Radical Clerics, now only one phrase. I have the true god, for last night She told me so. Who is your true GOD mr Graham?? Oh Lordie, give me an Atheist. REMEMBER SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. If you are not ready to allow that why should you have tax exemptions? BALANCE THE BUDGET, TAX THE CHURCHES AND THEIR LEADERS!!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  15. Keith

    I was just having lunch with JC the other day. (Ya, he's back, but he's not sure he really wants to tell anybody.) JC wanted to know what I thought of Graham. I asked if JC was currently planning on letting Graham through the Pearly Gates. JC said not unless Graham cleans up his act. So I said what difference does it make in the long run then.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  16. VernSmith

    I'm disturbed that an extremely intelligent man has to pretend he believes in fairy tales to get votes in this country...at least I hope he is pretending...the alternative is even scarier.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  17. mfx3

    Who are we, mere mortals, to question the faith of our fellow earthly inhabitants? Seriously, where do we get off?

    February 29, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  18. Henry

    Hey, Franklin...

    Are you as big an anti-Semite as your dad?

    February 29, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. Russell G.

    A persons faith only has to be true to 2 people...the individual and GOD! to try an verbally discredit his faith publicly like that was the kind of tacky the Graham name had never previously had been associated with...he shamed his father with this!

    February 29, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  20. glorydays

    It's "Christians" like this who have driven me far from Christianity. Obama is more Christian in behavior than ANY of these fools.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • ed galbraith

      I think I agree with you, but why describe behavior you like as "more Christian"? Decent and moral behavior is not the exclusive province of Christians...it is often unfamiliar territory for them.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • glorydays

      It's the hypocrisy I'm pointing out.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
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About this blog

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.