February 21st, 2012
01:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian faith

(CNN) – The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, on Tuesday questioned whether Mitt Romney's Mormon faith qualified as Christianity.

He also raised concerns about President Barack Obama's dedication to Christianity, as well as to Christians living in Muslim countries.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for the last presidential debate before Super Tuesday, the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate hosted by John King. Follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate and on Facebook at CNN Politics. For real-time coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons as members are colloquially known, identify themselves as Christians.

Asked if he considered Romney a Christian in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Graham said most Christians would "not recognize Mormonism" as part of Christianity.

"Of course, (Mormons) believe in Jesus Christ. But they believe in a lot of other things, too, that we don't accept," Graham said. "He would be a good president if he got the nomination."

Romney's faith has faced scrutiny during both of his Republican presidential bids, with high-profile religious leaders raising concerns about the role his faith plays in his electability.

As for Obama, Graham repeated his uncertainty over whether the president is sincere enough in his faith. He said when he asked Obama about how he became a Christian, the president said he joined a church in Chicago after becoming a community organizer, leaving Graham to speculate whether he became a Christian for the right motives.

"You have to ask him. I cannot ask that question for anybody," he said.

The evangelical made headlines in 2010 when he said he believed Obama was born a Muslim because of his heritage, but now believes he is a Christian.

On Tuesday, he reaffirmed that he does not consider Obama a Muslim, but repeated his argument about Obama's lineage and ties to Islam.

"Under Islamic law–Sharia law–Islam sees him as a son of Islam. Because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim...That's just the way it works," he said. "That's the way they see it. He says he didn't grow up that way and he believes in Jesus Christ, so I accept that."

Graham was mostly upset with the president's policies toward some Muslim nations, arguing that "Islam has had a pass under Obama."

Following the events of the Arab Spring, Graham said Islamists are taking control of the Middle East and "Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab World are under attack."

Graham called on the president to threaten an end to foreign aid to certain countries until they work harder to protect their minorities.

"All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world. He seems more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries," Graham said. "That's what really bothers me."

– CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Also see:

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations


Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. diridi

    Folks, it is a waste of talking to these loony idiots, just do not donate to any of the religion organization. Religion is man made.....not god made. For selfish reasons. Franklin Graham is an idiot....plain idiot.

    February 21, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Katie

    OBAMA 2012! Leading us forwards not backwards!

    February 21, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. GI Joe.

    Keep Government out of churches?

    How about KEEP CHURCHES OUT OF GOVERNMENT. Tax the hell out of them.

    February 21, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Jilli

    Hmm...franklin graham says he kicked his drug habit, but how can I really know. He says he did, but...

    Graham is a pathetic display of what passes for todays "christian" money ministers. he should thank his god every day for his fathers coattails, otherwise he'd probably be living in a gutter somewhere spewing his inconsistent nonsense.

    February 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Sorensen

    One of the worst con-artists of all time. And he knows it!

    February 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. John

    I am embarrassed to say I went to school with this guy and he is as screwed up now as he was then. Most of us mature and grow with age but this guy has just continued to sit in the mud of what he calls his faith and Christianity.

    February 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. GvilleT

    I'm a Christian, but I don't want the government all up in my business. ANYONE using their Christian faith for power, money or fame is not using it in the way God intended. It should be a personal thing. Also, as a Christian NO ONE should pass judgement on another. Isn't that the whole basis of Christianity...if someone says their Christian, then they are a Christian??? Why would someone question Obama or his beliefs, especially if he claims to be a Christian and he goes to church? Santorum is a FREAK! Talk about BIG GOVERNMENT! He's going to start telling us what church we can or can't go to from the oval office if he's elected. God help us all!!!

    February 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. LP

    Picking on other religions...so CHRISTLIKE. So, if you believe in Christ as he said the Mormons do, then you still AREN'T Christian? I don't get it.

    February 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. marilyn yick

    I saw Franklin Graham's comments. I am so dissappointed in him. His father managed to support all the presidents w/o becoming politically involved. Franklin can say he's not "judging" but he is. Read your sciptures, Franklin, we will all be judged by the way we judge others. If you're going to be a preacher; stay with preaching and not politics. Churches should lose their tax deductions. The separation between church and state is becoming extremely blurred!

    February 21, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Franklin Graham is whacked

    Right mr. graham, you know that newt gigrich – the twice divorced serial liar and adulterer – is a "christian", but you're just not sure about Pres. Obama.

    What a freakin' charlatan!

    February 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. 2020

    We are measured by God's word and his will. not to disrepsectful to Rev Franklin, we Christian all see others thru our own eyes, never perfect. And, God sees everyone who accepted HIM as "new person". Who are we to judge who is a real christian or half hearted. If God sees us like most of us, there won't be many christian left standing. Many of my family including myself were led to God by Rev Franklin's father. The spriit intercede who convicted us, not a superman. Please put it in perspective.

    February 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. GI Joe.

    I don't take his word that he quit drugs - drug testing needs to be done on these preachers.

    February 21, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    "Franklin Graham, come on down! You're the new GOBP Flavor of the Month, and possible Plan B!"

    February 21, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. CoJo

    are the republicans at the point of calling Obama anti-Christian? And some (a fair amount?) of the conservative are actually labeling him as "the anti-christ"? WOW, how low can a group of people go? Do the republicans REALLY believe that? I have yet to hear one of the candidates actually say it, but they seem to have come to the wall with it. All have talked about all of Obama's anti-Catholic actions/law/issues. I'm only aware of one (the contraception issue)... What are the others? After hearing Santorum, Gingrich, Romney call Obama anti-Catholic, my wife has point blank now said she would NOT vote republican (and she WAS thinking of Romney). But the narrow mindless of the republicans have convinced her otherwise. Even I (democrat) was entertaining Romney. No longer.

    February 21, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    By Graham's own account of his earlier life, he strayed for a while from the flock and returned like the prodigal son: should we question his conversion based on his own criteria for the president, or should we accept it at face value? Was he just returning to take care of the family business, or did he have a genuine change of heart? Who are we to judge him? He has no business judging the sincerity of another's conversion: its way above his pay grade, and it leaves him open to judged himself.

    February 21, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    "He also raised concerns about President Barack Obama's dedication to Christianity, as well as to Christians living in Muslim countries. "
    His only concern is Christians. So, what happens to American people who are 'not one of us'?

    "....Graham said Islamists are taking control of the Middle East...."
    They have been in control of most of the MIddle East for years, decades, centuries. Where has he been? Who does he feel should be running the Middle East? Christians?

    February 21, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Dovetail

    Lefties are coming out of the woodwork, this really pressed your hot buttons. You're just like pavlov's dog, ring the right bell and you salivate on cue. Climb back under your rocks and quit worrying about Obama, he sure isn't worrying about you.

    February 21, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Paula

    It is people like you that give Christians a bad name............Your'e father must be so proud.

    February 21, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    This guy is certainly not his fathers son. He is a disgrace to Christians everywhere. He does not practice the Christian faith by either words or deeds. He preaches hate in a round about way filled with lies and half truths. Why anyone believes a word he says is beyond me.

    February 21, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Independent Voters

    It sad how these NO GOOD REPUBLICANS targeting our president being a christain. Grahma must be a racist.

    February 21, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Just another racist parading around without the pointy hat and bed sheets. His cover? Religion. In my view, theists are some of the worst offenders against humanity. Last time I read 1John 4:7-8 it states to love one another. What Jesus do this Graham pray to? Hypocrite much? Yes. Very much so.

    February 21, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Black Rat

    Well folks, ww3 will be a religious war and a hell of one at that so get ready!!!

    February 21, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. v_mag

    Was Jesus a Christian, Franklin? After all, he was born Jewish.

    February 21, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. BeverlyNC

    How horribly embarrassing for Billy Graham!! A true Christian never questions the faith of another for no one but God can know another man's heart. Franklin was always an embarrassment to Billy and Ruth. He was wild, uncontrollable, used drugs, got into legal trouble, and denounced the church. He could never hold a job and was lazy and arrogant.
    I know because my grandparents were friends with Billy and Ruth Graham. Billhy gave Franklin a job in his ministry to try to keep an eye on him, try to turn him around and the only thing Franklin learned was that he could pretend to be like his father and make a lot of money off religion as an industry. Franklin is no Christian, no man of God, no person even remotely like his great father. Franklin is a fraud, a money grabber, and should be removed from the Graham ministries before he destroys them. Franklin is a typical Republican fraud focused on money and power not God or the People.

    February 21, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. F-Gingrich

    This tactic of labeling President Obama didn't work in 2008...is the right really stupid enough to think it's going to work in 2012??

    February 21, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
1 2 3 4