February 22nd, 2012
11:19 AM ET
2 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. Ramesh Shrestha

    Who is this guy to judge other's faith? Who is this guy to determine other's fate at the Judgement Day? This makrs me sick in the gut to think about these religionists?

    February 22, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. hansdick

    Who cares what he thinks. Jeez!

    February 22, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Phattee

    Whatever. Doesn't this man know that lying is a sin?

    February 22, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Talk about back-pedaling..... great job Frank!

    February 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. HJA

    Nice try! You put your foot in your mouth, plain and simple.You said what you meant to say .

    February 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Auzzie

    Excuse me

    Who made Franklin Graham "the final judge" on anyone's faith????

    February 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Brational

    Of course this religious/political expert knows that in the Muslim countries abortion is a crime, prayer in school is required, creationism is taught, wives are subjugated to the husband, capital punishment is widely applied, foreigners are reviled, conspiracy notions are rampant and the infrastructure is often neglected so the military can be supported. Sounds like the conservative republican agenda for the U.S.

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Brian

    Graham's view on abortion are 100% right. Preach on

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Dave T

    He didn't misspeak, this is the primary thing that these people do all the time, instead of focusing on the thoughtful, kind and accepting aspects of religion, they concentrate on the judgemental and devisive side of religion

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Ramrod

    As I remember this guy was a dopey and a dropout. Hated his father and his father's business.
    Then he was re-educated. He discovered that this preaching business is good business. He should shut up and sit down.

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. KilgourT

    Talk about back-pedaling. Great job Frank!

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Brownie2

    This explanation may be too little too late. This man is killing his father's name as a religious leader. Billy Graham was right; religion and politics should never have been mixed. Christ called his believers to change the world by changing people's HEARTS, not by legislating moral behavior.

    February 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. olepi

    You sir, do not speak for God, and have no business passing judgement on anyone else. If you want to pray, go into a closet and pray by yourself, as Jesus says we are supposed to do. Otherwise, you appear to be a Pharisee.

    February 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. momoya

    Why can't god keep his spokespersons from saying things for which they must apologize later?

    February 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. dan5404

    Graham can't clarify his way out of the fact that he is a redneck, dogmatic Republican evangelical mixing politics and religion. Whatever beliefs his father had, he worked with every preident in a non-partisan way. His son is dishonoring that memory and tradition with his extremism.

    February 22, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Judge

    Franklin Graham, another self-righteous arrogant fool; a wolf in sheep's clothing. The antithesis of what a Christian should be.

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Romas

    Freedom of religion does not give anyone the right to im pose and demand that everyone follow and agree with their values. All these various religious leaders should shut up and stay out of politics.

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Willie Floyd

    Like father like son certainly doesn't apply to this man. It is my understanding that neither our pres. or V.pres. approve of abortion, but have sworn to uphold the constitution which makes abortion legal in Roe v. Wade.

    OBAM/BIDEN 2012

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Sterling

    Like so many other "christians", Graham selects the portions of the bible he wants go by. Where is the part about judge not least ye be judged?
    It's alway strange that they "christians" say that God wouldn't want the fetus (they call a child) killed, yet there are passages in the bible where God had the Israelites go into villages and put all the men, women and children to the sword (that meant kill them).
    Franklin is no better than an Iman thinking he can decide what is religiously correct. They espouse the same poison that he Graham: believe my way or you're wrong! How vain!

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. joe

    Typical right wing fanatic strategy. Put a hateful and unfair characterization out there, get the base riled up, and then back off and say "I misspoke."

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Kabila

    Pastor, How many kids does your wife have? How may baby you killed by not letting her give birth every year? how many evangelical women have stopped a pregnancy? How many evangelical family have 1 or 2 kids. Did they let those other kids to be born as God say? If not, don't you think your teaching is wrong and hippocrite?

    February 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. RN

    And I am sure he appreciates Santorum's desire to kill anyone who is not a conservative Christian.

    February 22, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. John

    I submit: The real question isn't whether Obama or Sanctorum or anyone else is "a Christian." it's whether Graham is always a total jerk, or just sometimes one.

    February 22, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Kelli Jo Blanton

    Hey rev.......abortion is legal. It always will be. Get over it sister

    February 22, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. MiketheElectrician

    Can't anyone in public life ever say anything without putting their foot in their mouth? What "mis-spoke" really means is this. I really did mean what I said, but when I got home, my PR people called and said there will be a backlash, so quickly say you mis-spoke. What a bunch of hog wash.

    February 22, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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