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."

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Filed under: 2012 • Faith • President Obama
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Mindie from Indie

    Here's something to think about men. If abortion and contraceptives are made illegal (which will never happen) your wives will quit having sex with you – what will you do then?

    February 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Max

    Franklin Graham

    Who the hell cares about what Graham said? He is just one of us with one vote, and his individual opinion like any other American. We all have our opinions and his is just his...no problem, but he is not GOD? Many people like me don't believe Franklin Graham is a good christian simply because he makes himself a judge of others. The true christian does not judge others. Jesus said 'Judge NOT that he be not judge...'

    So? who the hell is Franklin Graham who's making himself a judge of others?...he should look more at himself, his sinful self, instead of focusing on others.

    He sins like all of us and is in need of God's grace and forgiveness like all of us. That's what makes Christianity an 'equality' religion.

    Obama is doing a great Job as our president and we owe him a lot for that. Christianity teaches us to respect those whom we have placed in authority to lead us, especially when they are democratically elected.

    Franklin Graham, like the rest of us must show respect and pray for Obama as he leads us under GOD.

    God bless President Obama and God bless the the United States of America.

    February 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Seanomatic

    Liar! And you suppose to be a man of God! Liar!

    February 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Robert Jay

    Just more of values crap and evangelical word twisting – make your derogatory statement and lie about what you said or menat – heres an idea for republicans / evangelicals / ideologists – just SHUT UP

    February 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. F-Gingrich

    Never seen a bigger bunch of hypocritical cowards than on the Right. As ridiculous as he is, at least Ayatollah Santorum stands behind all the stupid things he says.

    February 22, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. DAK

    Who cares what this guy says about faith? Since when does a preacher have a "gift" when it comes to knowing about politics? Graham says Santorum is a Christian because Santorum said he is, yet when President Obama says the exact same thing, that he (Obama) is a Christian, Graham says he isn't. Pure BS politics and just as I don't want my political leaders preaching a religion when they should be governing, I don't want a preacher who governs. Give to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's... Seems pretty clear to me. Graham is a preacher, not a politician so stay out of politics.

    February 22, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. ART

    yes Frankie boy you are questioning his faith I saw the interview, you can take any white right wing person and say I believe they are christians because they told you so, but when it come to thae President you don't know that he is. You are a bold face liar and a hypocrite and an embarrassment to your fathers reputation.

    February 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Greg Smith

    Stay out of politics Reverend Graham. It doesn't need religion, it's already screwed up enough.

    February 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Primewonk

    Perhaps Graham needs to be reminded that we are not a theocracy. For some reason, fundies like Graham and Santorum fail to understand Article VI, Section 3 of the US Consti.tution – no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    Why do fundamentalists hate America?

    February 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Joe The Plumber

    Graham is a bigot of the cloth!

    February 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Myth Romney is soo Plastic and FAKE he makes Callista Gingrinch looks REAL

    Graham also said Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and NOT a Chrsitian!!!

    But the Bible said, "Judge not so that you NOT be judged!"...

    February 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Primewonk

    Perhaps Graham needs to be reminded that we are not a theocracy. For some reason, fundies like Graham and Santorum fail to understand Article VI, Section 3 of the US Consti.tution – no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    February 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. drod3

    I did not see a "clarification".

    February 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Paul1st

    Maybe the Reverend Graham also will comment on Rick Santorum's belief that Protestants essentially are heretics whose salvation is in serious doubt.

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Graham came out to endorse a Magic Underwear wearing Mormon. Period. That was what he was charged to do by the Puppett Masters and he complied. If he managed to get a few licks in to the President then he got a bonu$. He did that too. There is nothing to this bought and paid for televangelist. He's significant to those that cannot think for themselves and who need a MAN to tell them what God says they should do.
    Remember when the Catholic Church said, for hundreds of years,that you could NOT eat meat on Fridays? What happenned there?How did that get reversed? Did the beef industry have a "chat" with the Pope? And yes, I'm a Catholic, but not a dummy.
    Men of the cloth my foot. Graham can take his clarification and lay it at God's feet.
    Obama 2012.

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Get real

    And Mr. Graham has it right. How can anyone truly be a follower of Christ and support the taking of innocent life?
    Now don't give me the lame line about war or the death penalty; clearly abortion is the taking of innocent life not someone who has brought a sentence on themselves. (yeah,yeah collateral damage but that, also, is sometime unavoidable when trying to stop the spread of a far greater evil)

    February 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Linda

    What a disgrace this man is to his Father the Beloved Billy Graham......funny how all these far right conservative right wingers have to keep coming back to take back what they said the day before......I say if you said it once than you meant it but the pressure is on for him to take it back......he doesn't really mean it.......This man will also one day have to go before God almight and explain the things he has done and said.......

    February 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Joe The Plumber

    I think it is time to QUESTION Graham's faith – he doesnt sound Christaiin to me. I am guessing he is a closet Muslem.

    February 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. nell

    C'mon people, do the candidates not know that most American families are worried about jobs, keeping their jobs or finding one? The American people are the ones keeping this ridiculous mess going. Tell the candidates to move off the culture issues. It seems as if the candidates really think we are stupid. I would also think the same thing if I were running for office, all you have to do is avoid speaking on the important issues and say something dumb and the American people will follow i.e. Herman Cain!

    February 22, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. treyer

    These people are the worst. There is nothing christian about them. The only reason they are saying these things about Obama is because of his race.

    February 22, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. JoeW

    I watched his interview. He cannot stand today and say that he does not question Obama's faith. Just having to say so suggests that he did question his faith. He is not deserving of his last name and is an embarrasment to anyone who knows anything about faith. My recommendation to the "reverand" is to go home and pray for forgiveness from his loving god that he pretends to represent. In my opinion after listening to him, I can only conclude that he is a half brained bigoted fool. If he doesn't want to go home and pray, he can consult with rush dimwit for his next bigoted program.

    February 22, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. JLP

    This man is entitled to his opinion. If he thinks Obama is a phony Christian, then that is his choice, but I leave it up to God to make that call.

    February 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    So anyone who doesn't believe EXACTLY as you do is a heathen and not a person of faith?

    You are 100% dead wrong on this issue, Franklin.

    February 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Nick San Diegon

    Is'nt this the same guy pulled over for drunk driving ? Just another Christian hypocrite and their attempt to place a Taliban West government here.
    Stay in the church and and stay out of government.

    February 22, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    You skipped over the truly worst parts of yesterday's interview. The parts where Graham alledged that Barack Obama is viewed as a "son of Islam" throughout the Arab world. Why? Graham explained that "in the Arab world" that "being the son" of someone of the Islamic faith automatically makes you Islamic, too.

    When directly asked if he thought Barack Obama was Islamic, Graham dodged providing a direct answer.

    February 22, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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