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. JT1962

    So the only real issue that Franklin Graham is worried about is abortion? He should be worried about giving false testimony about a fellow Christian.

    February 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. J. Olver

    Another super "I know exactly what God is and wants" religious fool. I question Graham's religious conviction. He is certainly not generous or charitable in his comments. Does he question Romney's religion which conflicts with the christian bible in many ways? Does he question the Catholic religion of Santorum, a religion that was so onerous to protestants that they murdered each other ion droves not too many generations ago? Or does Graham still believe that man needs to talk through a special interpreter, a priest, when he wants to commune with god. This religious crap is ridiculous. I hope the American people let these fools know how stupid they sound at the polls in November. Religious fools will be cast aside by the plutocrats as soon as they are no longer useful.

    February 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Lorynx

    I love these Christian extremists who scream for the government to stay out of their business, yet they preach to our politicians about getting involved with our rights.

    I also love the right reaction to, "stay out of our churches" – but they applaud the government when it spies on Muslim Americans for years.

    February 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Jack

    So many Christians think their Christianity is the right Christianity. If you are Christian and a liberal, fundamentalists don't consider you Christian enough. If you find Christianity through good works to fellow humans, to the born-again crowd it is not enough. Some Christians are just so judgemental. Hey remember guys: Judge not lest ye be judged.

    February 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Reggie from LA

    And what position does Obama take? Does he thoughtfully and willfully encourage women to seek out abortions? That seems to be the rhetoric that is being espoused. At the very least, that's what the evangelical right wants everbody to believe. Unlike the self righteous, President Obama is not standing in the way of women who choose to make that difficult decision. I guess Obama would be more of a Christian if he sided with the pro-lifers, huh? So where would that leave him with the Pro-Choicers? I guess many of you don't care do you? Well OBAMA DOES. Vote for him!

    February 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. had it with the self-righteous

    Judge not, lest you be judged. Check yourself – time for those who claim to live by the bible to read it, and act like it.

    February 22, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Too late...damage done. Meaningful and civil political discourse has become a thing of the past. The rise in popularity of politcial talk show entertainers on radio and TV doesn't help.

    February 22, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Texan2

    Judge not lest ye be judged means don't judge someone's faith less your's be judged. We are not capable of reviewing a person's complete heart, mind and soul and pass judgment on the authenticity of their faith. We can know them "by the fruit they bear." The Bible calls for us to be fruit inspectors, not judges. I'm dissappointed that a man of Rev. Graham's stature would make disparaging comments with no real evidence. However, please note that even though I disagree with him on his view of President Obama, I will not use that to judge or disparage his faith. Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (NIV)

    February 22, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. RAB

    Frank, you will never have the respect your father has.

    February 22, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Sy2502

    Quoting from that little known piece of paper called The US Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3:
    "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

    I am sick and tired of these ignorants insisting that Obama MUST be a full fledged Christian to be fit for office.

    February 22, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. V in Chicago

    "He will have to stand before God one day and give an account to God on this issue."

    Then let God be the one to judge him! I'm sick and tired of people questioning faith. Rick Santorum has some extreme views, in my opinion, but I don't question his faith. This has gotten ridiculous. Can't we concentrate on the real issues this Country faces today, such as the economy, jobs, housing, education, being competetive in today's world. You know, the stuff that matters to the Country as a whole rather than the issues that play to a extreme base of a Party? Personally, I don't care if the President belives in the Easter Bunny. As long as he continues to bring this Country back from the edge of the cliff we faced when Bush left office, he's got my vote!

    February 22, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. KC

    Do the Republicans actually believe in the Constitution? Who cares what religion Pres. Obama is or how he became a christian or if he were a Muslim? The founding fathers were not all Christians and THomas Jefferson he bashed Christianity as a source of evil. All this religious talk is disturbing and does not belong in politics in America. I find it hilarious how many times GOPers have to recant what they say because they were misinterpreted. Maybe you should think before you speak. However, the problem is that these guys actually believe these crazy things.

    February 22, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Larry Pooface

    Why is religion getting so much attention? You all know that it's not real, don't you?

    February 22, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Sametestsameresults

    This mans father was an idiot and we see the fruit does not fall far from the tree.

    February 22, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Tracy

    Why is it that when there's a disagreement on some issue among Republicans and Democrats, some Republicans attack the other's faith in some extreme way? Christianity encompasses a broad range of beliefs on various issues, as do many other religions. Some have more extreme views than others. Just because someone is not an Evangelical Christian does not make them non-Christian. This extremism is scary and just needs to stop. This is not what American is about.

    February 22, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. rockysfan

    All I have to say about Franklin Graham... He is NOT his daddy! And NEVER will be. Billy Graham had the inteligence, compassion and faith to believe people and in people. I will die respecting the senior Graham. His son on the other hand, is not his father. What, not enough face time preaching to the masses you need more PR?

    February 22, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Steve

    Indeed, another Christian leader back pedaling about what they said regarding our President. Misspoken yet again, face it a large portion of Christian leaders and their followers are close minded bigots whose rule of thumb is,"If you aren't one of us then you are bad and repressing religious freedom".

    February 22, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Pauletteb

    I have stopped supporting the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association because of Franklin's media-grabbing antics. He shares none of his father's humility and has turned the association into a carny sideshow.

    February 22, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Sheila

    Too much judgement by Human's going on in here. Everyone has their own way of believing. I just don't think Billy's son is acting very Christian in making judgement of others. Who is he to cast stones.

    February 22, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Jim

    Conservatives are nuts!

    February 22, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Vosky

    I am a born-again charismatic Christian and I weep profusely for Christianity here in America!
    Where are the Christian leaders? Dabbling into politics has not bode well for our testimony. God hates ALL sins. Check your Bible, Murder is as bad as Hatred and Lying and Adultery etc... For Franklin to rate Santorum and Gingrich Christianity above Obama's signifies that the Glory has left the house!! God is the only Judge!! I would not put my Christianity on the line for all these hypocritical pharisees and Sadducees running around as conservatives looking for votes. They have punked the so-called Christian leaders... shame!! May the Lord restore the Spirit of discernment to the Church!

    February 22, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Lolo

    Here we go again, "I misspoke".

    February 22, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Jason B.

    And you Mr. Graham will have to also stand before God one day and answer for yourself. Who's to say that some abortions aren't God's will as well?

    February 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Katie

    Hell will need to be very large to hold all the people like Graham.

    February 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. David McFarland

    Who is this person to judge anybody about his faith?

    February 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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