August 19th, 2010
09:56 PM ET
10 years ago

Graham: Obama born a Muslim, now a Christian

Washington (CNN) – Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, son of famed presidential religious adviser Billy Graham, said Thursday that he believes President Barack Obama is a Christian, but that the president was born a Muslim because of his father's religious beliefs.

Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King if he had any doubts about Obama's Christian faith, Graham, who has made controversial comments about Islam in the past, said the president's background is fueling the false perception that he is a Muslim.

"I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name," Graham said on CNN's "John King, USA."

"Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That is what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said," Graham continued.

Earlier this year, the Army rescinded its invitation to Graham for the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon over controversial remarks he made about Islam.

"True Islam cannot be practiced in this country," he told CNN last December. "You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries."

Graham later tried to temper his remarks by saying that he had Muslim friends. However, Graham has a history of comments that bothered the Pentagon. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Graham called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion."

A new poll released Thursday conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that nearly one in five Americans falsely believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said last year they believed he was Muslim.

While most of those who think Obama is Muslim are Republicans, the number of independents who believe he is Muslim has expanded significantly, from 10 percent last year to 18 percent now, according to the Pew survey.

The White House stated unequivocally on Thursday that Obama is a Christian.

"President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life," Deputy White House Communications Director Jen Psaki told CNN. "He prays every day, he seeks a small circle of Christian pastors to give him spiritual advice and counseling, he even receives a daily devotional that he uses each morning. The president's Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on every day."

In April, President Obama prayed with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin at Graham's mountaintop home in North Carolina. Billy Graham, a major figure in the American evangelical movement, has advised presidents dating back to Harry Truman.

Filed under: JKUSA • John King USA • President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Silas Kain

    I'm deeply troubled by Rev. Graham's use of the word "renounce". I'm also outraged that he automatically assumes the President was born Muslim. It has no bearing on the debate. The President is Christian. In addition, the Prophet Mohammad was quite clear that Christians should not be persecuted but the religious leaders in both faiths don't want their respective believers to know the truth.

    Rev. Graham has undone all of the good works of his father. He is pandering to a fear ridden white Christian base which has this misinformed belief that the Second Coming is upon us. His Church needs revenues. There's no better way to fill the coffers than introduce fear with a dose of Divine retribution. That's been the modus operandi of the organized Christian system since Constantine. The only Armageddon we may experience in this world will be the one propagated by Christian and Islamic extremists who wish to hasten the dawn of Judgment Day. It's sick and contrary to the core messages of Jesus Christ and Mohammad.

    August 19, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. Get With The Program

    Franklin Graham has a long history of rotten behavior, from drinking binges and cheating scandals to xenophobic fire-and-brimstone bunk. He's certainly in no position to speak for Christians, and what he says about Obama is unfounded and reckless.

    August 19, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. NC Christian

    The author, Anne Rice recently wrote about "quitting Christianity.. not Christ, but Christianity." Partisan bigots in sheep's clothing – like Franklin Graham – make me think about quitting Christianity. If this man is a follower of Jesus, then I don't want any part of what Graham professes or espouses! There was abosolutely NO reason, other than sewing seeds of doubt, for Graham to make these comments!

    August 19, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. JoeMama

    The man is an idiot, next!

    August 19, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Sticky G

    Wow, what is this fool talking about? The Pres. Obama has not renounced Islam because he was never Muslim. People are not born any religion, that is something that takes indoctrination. Clearly the president's indoctrination is Christian. I hope someday we can move religion out of government because it is destructive, divisive, and is used as a tool by unscrupulous windbags like Graham to exploit others.

    August 19, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. Darla

    I know many Muslims.
    I know many Christians.
    I know many Muslims who are kinder, more generous and accepting than a lot of so-called Christians. I would rather make and be friends with these genuine, principled Muslims than some of the hypocritical and self-righteous faux Christians who live in my town.

    August 19, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. Mike

    What a clown. We are not born ANYTHING and we do are not automatically whatever one or both of our parents are. An individual's religion or lack thereof is their choice. A person can choose to adopt their parents' faith, a different one or none at all. People are what they say they are, it is between them and their god or their conscience whether or not they live up what they say they are. Franklin has proven himself to be irrelevant.

    August 19, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. Get A Grip

    Well of course Obama is no longer a Muslim and is now a, Franklin Graham, I have some real dry land I would like to sell you in the swamp lands.

    August 19, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. BeverlyNC

    How dare Franklin Graham make such a false statement! !

    President Obama's father deserted his family when President Obama was 2 YEARS OLD. He never even met his father until his late teens and was very disappointed in the person he was.

    These racist idiots like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Fox overall, and right wing nut jobs who are also "birthers" spread these lies to the ignorant.for reasons of greed and ratings.

    They are NOT Christians in words or deeds. The real issue is that Republicans HATE that we have a black President and regardless how intelligent, compassionate, caring, all the successful laws he has passed to help the PEOPLE, how graciously he treats others, and how he contrinues to "turn the other cheek" with these Republican hate spewers – they still attack him and "bear false witness.

    God is not on the side of Fox, Limbaugh and all the other hate-filled, racist liars who pollute real religion.

    August 19, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. Franklin GrahamCracker

    Franklin Graham, born an idiot..still an idiot

    August 19, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. Ricky atl

    Even if he was a Muslim, why should it matter?...america has be come musliaphobic!!! I'm ashamed of america what ever happened to religious freedom and not being persecuted for what your beliefs are or are not!

    August 19, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. billygrahamfan

    Well the seed of thoughtful Christianity did not pass from his famous father to this son.

    August 19, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. valwayne

    Nobody knows what Religion a person keeps in the heart, but if Obama keeps Islam in his heart what would be wrong with that? We have religious freedom in the U.S. and nobody would care if Obama were a Muslim? However, Obama says he's a Christian and he spent 20 years in Rev Wright's church. So if they are really that horrified that so many Americans think Obama is a Muslim, secret or otherwise, maybe they should invite Rev Wright to the white house for a spiritual beer fest! Rev Wright and Obama could have a beer while the press takes pictures and the cameras role and Rev Wright could counsel Obama. That should put these lingering questions to rest?

    August 19, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  14. Clwyd

    I don't care if he's an atheist. He's a heck of a lot better than what we had for 8 years before and he called himself a Christian. Starting two unnecessary wars and costing almost 6,000 American lives over 10 years is madness as well as what I would say is a Christian hypocrite!

    August 19, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. Avi Shlolo

    "Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.
    Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-Semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”"

    August 19, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. Marge

    I still believe that Billy Graham is the one true honest preacher in this country. I am a Catholic and I would believe him over ANY PRIEST. But Franklin Graham is an honest man as he seems and if he believes Obama is a Christian his followers have to believe it also.

    I AM LIKE ANN RICE, I am thinking about giving up Christiany because most of the Christians you see posturing and posing and spewing crap on TV are disciples of the devil, if there is one. A true Christian does not act and believe the racist and hate and violence things they do. I would worship in my own way and forget about all these so called religions who foster hate.

    August 19, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. Doubtful Voter

    Well if he actually renounced Muhammad and his fathers Islamic faith, I expect those radical Islamic's will be trying to kill him won't they? Meanwhile he still refuses to show his school applications and other important records. Reasonable doubt. It still comes down to reasonable doubt.

    August 19, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. Audrey Fryer

    Another lunatic – ase closed.

    August 19, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. jim

    You are what you are and religion is a personel decision.I could care less about what Obama believes in.I would like for him to work on fixing the employment and economic problems that this country faces.So far i haven't seen much results from someone that is viewed as being smart.

    August 19, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. Francisco Cardenas

    Franklin Graham is creepy.

    August 19, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  21. ruty

    I think Graham is a muslin. That makes as much sense as what Graham said. Have american people completely lost their way? I have never seen people so mean and hateful. What has happened to everyday commom sense? Get a hobby and quit tending to everybodies business!!!!!!!!!!! Sweep your own closet first.

    August 19, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  22. Mr.T Bag

    Franklin Graham is a lunatic... Why is he in the news?

    August 19, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  23. Bill

    We can sure debate the stupidest things in this country. Why do we fall into this trap? Who benefits from needlessly dividing people this way? Think about that.

    Christopher Hitchens seems more right every day. Religion poisons everything.

    August 19, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  24. Barry

    He should have brought out Rev. Wright to take this up. Oh wait that's a nightmare story too. It's time for Hillary to make her move or we're going to lose it all.

    August 19, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. Does this explain.....

    why Obama has never visited Israel as president? What does that tell you. Jews that voted for Obama will rue the day.

    August 19, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
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