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. griff-griff

    Jesus gave the disciples the commission to go and make disciples, not try to make a president. So what if Pres. Obama is a Muslim? Our constitution and Bill of Rights says that we cannot discriminate based on race, creed, color, RELIGION, or origin. That means, that even an athiest can become president, if he is voted in. To all of you so-called preachers..One reason the world is going to hell in a handbasket is that you are too busy playing politics and not doing what God called you for. Do your job and get out of politics. People have spent more time discussing the man's birth certificate, his religion, and everything under the sun and still he won by a landslide. Face it America, the POTUS is a well-educated, intelligent, and qualified African American man who have in 4 years cleaned up a lot of the mess that W left and we are rebounding. Give the man credit where it is due. If you don't like him, use the ballot box as your weapon. This president has withstood a whole bunch of attacks, mostly fueled by racisim, plain and simple. But, he has stood tall and never responded in anger. I still say the Secret Service should have put the Gov. of AZ face down on the deck with a .9mm to her head for shaking her finger at the President. That is a threat!! If they SS will not protect the president, we can get some brothers from the hood to do it for them. They should all be fired for that one, But the Pres. was cool and he still has his swagger!! No one in the Republican field will stand a chance against him so you start with the foolishness of his religion, and his birth certificate. If Mr. Santorum is so much of a Christian, tell him to start acting like the Perfect Christian did. (Jesus Christ)

    February 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Joe The Plumber

    I think you have to question Graham's faith for bearing false witness against Obama.

    February 22, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. laura

    I am sorry Franklin Graham that you ever thought you should open your mouth to spew forth your personal bile on others of Faith. Perhaps you did not learn the Golden Rule properly in your youth. But since you have now transgressed, in such a heinous manner...you must forever decry the Republicans who are hypocrites publicly, loudly and often to restore the trust of Americans in your true repentance! You must also cast your vote for Mr. Obama in the 2012 election.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. SnappinTurtle

    Why is anyone listening to this charlatan? Not only does he repeatedly presume to know someone's heart, their faith, and their minds; he also apparently posseses physic powers. Christ was never so presumptuous.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. John

    When it comes to judging others, Christians are at the top of the list. Apparently they forgot the bible verse, judge not lest ye shall be judged.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. bk753

    So, you risk going to Hell for simply supporting a woman's right to choose... even if you don't actually have or participate in an abortion? Pretty harsh stance. Under this logic, we should expect eternal condemnation for those who work in the factory that makes bullets... even if they never pull a trigger or take a life.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Wilma

    Do these guys ever mean what they say? It seems like all they do is backpedal. I actually think that what they say the first time is what they really think. Then they have to explain why they are so backwards and idiotic.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Christopher

    Not sure why he wasn't straight forward from the start. What is with conservatives these days falling over their own words. My guess is they are having trouble switching gears when their audience changes. Be your crazy self or pretend to be more moderate- it all depends upon the audience!

    February 22, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. The Truth

    The Bible says you can determine the tree by the fruit it bares. The President did NOT recognize The National Day of Prayer, but he did at another time invite and pray with muslims in the White House. The President did sit under Jeremiah Wright's ministry, if you want to call it that, for 20 years, while he listened to a message of Hate, Bigotry and Racism being spoken by Mr. Wright. If he did not agree why did it take him 20 years to determine that. Yes, our economy was in bad shape when Obama took office, but it is in TERRIBLE shape now that he has tried to bankrupt this nation. He is the most under qualified president of my lifetime.

    February 22, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. katy heys

    Graham is not his father's son. Franklin is a nasty man who hides behind his religion. And he should keep his opinions about Obama's religion to himself. We live in secular nation, and false prophets like Franklin Graham are a joke.

    February 22, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. zazu

    This how evangelicalism discredit the gospel. He said, he can't be sure of any one's Christianity (fine with me), if he didn't immediately say, in the same breath, that Santorum is no doubt a christian. One of the paneilsts pointed out immediately, how surprising his double standards are in judging the president's faith vs Santorum's.

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Dan

    Absolute lunacy, why are we allowing ourselves to be ruled by ancient religious dogma?

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. VeryOldMan

    I am glad he changed his words. How could the father's faith determines a person's faith, especially in Obama's case where he seldom saw his father and he was raised in a Christian family. If the bloodline determines a person's faith, why do we need to spread the Words of Gospel. Mr. Graham was talking against an essential element of his own faith – EVANGELISM.

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "He will have to stand before God one day and give an account to God on this issue."
    ------------------------
    You may want to do a daily check-in with Mittens the Moronic Mormon on his position vis-a-vis abortion. He's been known to change his mind on occasion.
    Obama 2012.

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Bill D

    What a bunch of baloney: :I misspoke." I watched the MSNBC interview of cracker Graham and he was given plenty of chances to change his statement, but he stuck to his guns and had no problem saying that Santorum and the moral leader Gingrich were both Christians. Bringing up the Muslim stuff revealed Graham as the bigoted hater that he truly is. Oh well... what else can we expect from the wing-nut right?

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. SnappinTurtle

    sorry that is "psychic" not "physic"

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. juan

    Why would anyone care what Franklin Graham thinks about anything? He is a pathetic figure.

    February 22, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Canto

    He really didn’t do much to “clarify” anything. Look, I am not a big fan of the MSM but they are in the right to call out this man and his intentions to label certain people as “Christians” as he sees fit. First of all, who gave any one group or one person the mantle of stating to the world who is and who is not a Christian? His reasons are so bogus! By his own definitions and saying how “only God knows” these things…who is he, really, to go on national TV and let us all know how other people should be labeled and what they believe? Don’t’ get me wrong, I am no “expert’ like Mr. Graham there, but Obama and Mormons and many other good people out there are living peaceful, decent lives in accordance with Christ’s teachings. The Mormons live more in harmony with Christ’s gospel than those people that Mr. Graham throws into his pool of Christianity. If the Obama family, Mormons or anyone else out there chooses to live their lives in a way that they see as Christian, then that’s all that matters, essentially. Not what some pastor says. By the way, what church is Mr. Graham from? How and when was it formed and by what authority?

    February 22, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. okn

    I am a strong supporter of Franklin Graham, and I too agree with him on abortion. I believe we will all stand before God for the sins of our way, since not one is sinless, except for Jesus Christ. So, as a Christian, and I believe our President is a Christian; how could we support a Mormon in the White House who posthomously baptize the dead so that they wont miss out on salvation. That is so far from my Christian belief and what scripture tells us, I could never vote for one who professes such. Please Pastor Graham, tell us, as Christians, what would we do?

    February 22, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Ace

    If this guy's dad wasn't Billy Graham he'd be a window washer somewhere.

    February 22, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Sarasota Guy

    Since he's always "misspeaking" why doesn't he just shut up?

    February 22, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Voltairine

    Remind me again about why, when, and how the notion of separating church from state disappeared? O.o Aside from God appearing on our currency, and ten commandments showing up on public property, and prayers in public schools and so on and so forth, now the Presidents' theology, whatever it may be, is relevant somehow for political discussion. Either We the People truly separate church from state or we don't and, last I checked, the former was what's supposed to be the case from the very start of this nation.

    February 22, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. phyllis

    Mr, Graham needs to stay out of this race for the President..........he should not take sides..........
    This is happening just like last election, in 2008..........All of these so called christian, in the republican party, use this to scare the voters, well it did not work then, and it is not going to work this time.........why don't they try and be christian for once in their lying lives.........it is because they are not christian................

    They wouldn't know a christian, if one slapped them in the face................I am sick of these war mongering liars...........

    And when everyone on this earth, meet our MAKER, OUR RISEN LORD AND SAVOR, they alone will have to answer, no one else.........so stop this bull crap, and campaign, on your on record, and values, and stop lying about others...........

    If you can't win by being honest........then don't run for public office..........peace out............OBAMA AND BIDEN 2012

    February 22, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    He said he absolutely knew all the Republican candidate were Christians-he questions ONLY Obama's faith-I wonder why????-just another Republican trying to say the President is NOT like us.You're right Franklin!!1-He is 10times all the Republican candidate clowns put together.

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. max

    I saw this guy on Morning Joe and he was clearly denying that the president was a christian when he started with..." because his grandflather and father were muslim, Islam claims him as one of theirs". WTH. He strikes me as not being very bright, a trickster and a deciever. He clearly has issues with drugs and alcohol because he is not very cohorent when he speaks and has very shifty eyes. This is not a person I could trust and I marvel that people send him money because they think he is a steward of their souls...yikes.

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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