February 22nd, 2012
11:19 AM ET
3 years ago

Franklin Graham clarifies remarks on Obama's faith

(CNN) - The Rev. Franklin Graham clarified his thoughts on President Barack Obama's Christian faith Wednesday, one day after the evangelical leader took heat over making comments about the president's ties to Islam.

"I don't question the president's faith. I'm not questioning whether he's a Christian," Graham said on CNN's "Newsroom." "I disagree with his position on abortion."

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On Tuesday, Graham stirred controversy when he expressed 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 Tuesday in an interview on MSNBC.

This wasn't the first time Graham, who heads the humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, weighed in on the president's faith. The evangelical leader 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 Wednesday, Graham repeated that his biggest problem with Obama was the president's position on abortion rights.

"I like him as a person, but he's absolutely 100% dead wrong on this issue," Graham said on CNN. "He will have to stand before God one day and give an account to God on this issue."

Asked about his comments on Rick Santorum, in which Graham definitively said the Republican presidential hopeful was a Christian, the reverend said Wednesday he regretted his choice of words.

"I misspoke there when I said he is a man of faith. God only knows everybody's heart," he said. "I would be more in line with the position of Rick Santorum as it relates to abortion. He is opposed to abortion. I certainly appreciate that."

Also see:

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Filed under: 2012 • Faith • President Obama
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. A not-so-stupid former republican

    What is it with these supposed religious leaders questioning another's beliefs? Doesn't the Bible say something like: judge not, lest ye be judged? These sanctimonious bigots need to stay out of politics and shut up! Also, why didn't Franklin inherit his father's following?

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. CoJo

    Graham and Santorum certainly have the right to their opinions on abortion or any other topic. But there is SUPPOSE to be this freedom of religion in the US which THEY do not preacher nor practice. Their actions speak louder than any of their words!!! Supposedly this country (and the catholic religion) was built on freedom of choice. If that is true, why are they pushing their religous bigotry???

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Not All Docs Play Golf

    This Graham 2nd generation professional hater freak has never done an honest day's work in his life. What an underachiever. His father started the whole TV evangelist circus. Somebody buy me a cotton candy.

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. jb

    Who cares what he thinks?

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. edog

    This man is not even 1/10th of a man his father was.

    February 22, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    He questioned the sincerity of his conversion, which is questioning whether or not he is a Christian. Franklin made an accusation, and is scrambling to do damage control by lying about what he said. He also needs to get off bashing Mormons: the problems of this country are too great for us to be distracted by a theological debate that answers nothing and satisfies no one.

    February 22, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Alex

    He pees on his fathers legacy. Its a shame how everybody is becoming an religious extremist.

    February 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. George Smith

    The bounderies between PACs and the religious community continue to become increasing blurred.

    February 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Romney is not My Hero

    Yes, and Graham will have to stand before God one day and answer for his own actions, too. What ever happened to – "judge not, so you won't be judged". Read the bible for YOURSELF Graham instead of trying to find fault with others.

    OBAMA 2012!

    February 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Thomas

    Hakim and Seyyed Muqtada al-Sadr, the 30-year-old son of the wildly popular Imam Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr

    Whats the difference ? Why cant sons of zealots find real jobs , religious royalty . ?

    February 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. maf

    How about – BEFORE YOU SPEAK, STOP! Enough of the backtracking, mis-statements, misspeak, walking back comments. . .
    If you aren't thinking about what you are about to utter, I suggest you should. Just because there is freedom of speech, doesn't mean you can always say what you want! It also doesn't mean you can say whatever you are thinking!

    If you simply want to be controversial, get a web-site and blog your comments or better yet, get some time on a radio talk show!!!

    Thoughtful discourse and dialogue are expected. Simply throwing out baseless, easily miscommunicated statements is a guarantee to continue the divisive nature of the commentary of today's politics!

    Food for thought!

    February 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. a in austin

    What an embarrassment you are to your dad! You must be desparate to spew the lies you do. You also will have to stand before your God and explain yourself! What a despicalbe liar you are!

    February 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. glorydays

    Jesus must be kinda sad seeing folks who call themselves Christian nowadays...

    February 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Richard Wilford

    It was shamful to simply dismiss Franklin Graham and the Newsweek article with a trite comment. Hundreds of Christians are being murdered in northern Nigeria. Churches and Bible Schools are being bombed in Sudan. Over 1000 Christians have been killed in Etheopia and many more have had their churches and homes burnt to the ground my Moslem Extremists and you (CNN) are too cowardly to mention it on your news broadcasts. This is the hieght of hypocracy in the light of your spending hours talking about NATO burning the Quran.

    February 22, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Woman In California

    There's a place in he!! for these so called "Christians". It's people like this self righteous jerk who give the word Christain a bad name. Why doesn't he just keep his worthless opinions to himself, worry about his own soul and go away. These judgmental freaks belong on their own island out of the main stream of American life.

    February 22, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Carol

    I am a Christian woman, and I don't give a flying fig what Rev. Graham thinks about anything. Ever hear of separation of church and state?

    And, yes, we will all stand before God about how we lived our lives and our all life will not revolve around whether or not we believe in abortion.

    February 22, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Martha in CF

    Let's see, I didn't hear anything about abortion said at the time Graham made the remark about questioning if Obama is a Christian. I don't even recall abortion being mentioned........... Is Graham as Christian as HE says he is. And shame on him for judging anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would think this would make him less of a christian..............
    And one wonders what has happened to religion in this country? It is because of this.............hypocrisy.........

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 22, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Mindie from Indie

    All these guys attacking the President continue to have to 'redack' their statements. Very amusing as it proves they don't believe their own words. Just trying to make something out of nothing. Hey Graham – MOST of the county supports the President's views on abortion, gay rights, contraceptives, his foreign policies, his domestic policies. You people have NOTHING and you know it and in desperation men act like clowns.

    February 22, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Jrdz

    He is just another throw back from when the Earth was flat and Women were kept at home barefoot and pregnant. Do you remember when Women and Blacks could not vote than this is your party (GOP) taking our country back 150 years so the White Male can rule again (yes this is sarcasm deal with it).

    February 22, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. SA in OO

    Can we just quit mousing around and ask the questions that are really driving all of these self-righteous comments about Obama's faith. There are actually two not so subtle motives here.

    1) Is he really a christian 'like us" is a racist rallying cry without saying "black"

    2) The holier than thou line of attack is begging the question as to whether we really want to a "theocracy in chief" for president.

    February 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. PJ/TX

    "Graham clarifies", "Santorum clarifies" but neither met the challenge.
    Too late for both of you. Some of us heard your every word Graham, and we have read Santorum's quotes.
    No clarification needed, we know what you think. Your backtracking is as pathetic as your original statements.
    The damage is done, and not to President Obama, but to your own credibility.

    February 22, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. jaywing

    Sorry, but I'm not buying anything Franklin Graham is saying or will say. Here's the bottom line for me: Billy Graham was a religious bigot, an anti-semite and a silent racist. He preached alot about faith, but when push came to shove - like the struggle for civil rights, he never did anything productive or concrete to bring people together. He never preached equality. He never marched for the poor. He was devisive. He was anti-reason. Franklin Graham has done nothing to separate himself from his father's soiled legacy.

    February 22, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    You should have said that in the first place. If you question the President's position on abortion, then you should be questiioning Willard. Because he was for abortion before he was aginst it.

    February 22, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. The Elephant In The Room

    Franklin Graham is a punk. He is a coward that would incite a mob to riot and stone someone by playing word games.

    "You`ll have to ask him", says Graham? Did he or his father say THE SAME about Ronald Reagan, Daddy Bush, Bill Clinton, Baby Bush? No, they did not. But now that there are low information, racist, Neanderthal voters to appeal to, Graham wants to try to sway them with the dog whistle.

    He is disguisting. We should pull any tax exemption that he and his "church" enjoys.

    February 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. JoelnJuneau

    Franklin Graham is nothing more than a political hatchet-man. His father must be very proud.

    February 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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