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Earlier this year, the Army rescinded its invitation to Graham for the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon over controversial remarks he made about Islam.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

    Only problem with this is Barack Obama Sr was an Atheist when he moved to America. Before he met Obamas mother and before he was born.

    August 19, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. Carramea

    Another wing nut. Idiot. Being muslim is a religion. Not a culture

    August 19, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Is there any Republican left who is not a total dingbat?

    What happened to intelligent, articulate conservatives like George Will and William F. Buckley? Has it really become impossible for conservatives to have brains?

    August 19, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  4. Cliff Barnstable

    Who cares what he is, religion is made up horseradish.

    August 19, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The comment about the name is wrong. It would be like Franklin Graham naming his son Franklin Graham. It is essentially naming him a jouinor without putting that or senior on the name.

    August 19, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. Douglas

    Fox News, I mean Fox Tabloid, CNN...get a life!
    Are Sarah Palin and her husband Americans? Afterall, he wanted Alaska to secede and become a saparate country. Are Bill O'Reily, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Glen Beck americans? Afterall, they continue to distort the values that make America strong.
    First, it was about his birthplace and now it is about his religion. What these idiots fail to understand is that the presidency is an institution not an individual. By questioning the integrity and authenticity of our President, they are questioning the integrity and authenticity of every american, in the eyes of the world.
    Long Live our President, Barack Obama!
    God Bless our country, United States of America!

    August 19, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. Suzie

    I could care less about what religion Obama is; why on earth does it matter to anyone? Why can't his religion be a personal choice; isn't that what we're about in America? Why are we so judgmental? Isn't it mostly so-called Christians who are being so judgmental and petty? What a major distraction when we have serious issues to deal with. Would Jesus support this crap?

    August 19, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  8. Midwestmatt

    Thank you, sir, for making no sense.

    Because Obama's father was a Muslim, he was born one? His mother wasn't Muslim so why didn't her egg have as much say as his father's seed?

    I'll let this one ignorant comment go just like I let your father's anti-Semitic comments to Nixon go. We all make mistakes.

    Now, go forth and make no more stupid comments.

    August 19, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. A Pastor

    I am so glad that Franklin Graham does not speak for me or the church of Jesus Christ. The man is crazy. He is definitely not his father. I am always careful when I hear someone speak like this.

    August 19, 2010 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. Bob in Pa

    I don't care if he is Christian, Muslim or Budist. Just as long as he is and acts in America's best interest. Something he has so far failed to do.

    August 19, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. AngieJolie

    Why is it so unfathomable for a muslim to be a US President? Does this mean that the young muslim american children cannot pursue the american dream due to religious profiling???These kind of inflamatory statements from a religious leader of Frankin Graham's stature will only cause further alienation of muslims, and by doing this he is furthering bin laden's rhetoric that the west hates Islam. Please target the ones that need to be held accountable for their actions – Al Qaeda and Middle East leaders for their refusal to provide their citizens with democracy. The majority of mulims in the US are law abiding moderate muslims practicing Islam they way it should be practiced. Islam is not the enemy, how could we be when we beleive in the teaching of the same prophets as Christians and Jews – Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Noah.....These prophets are mentioned over and over again the Holy Quran.

    August 19, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. pacaschera

    Franklin Graham is an embarrassment to his fathers' great life and teachings.

    He is a man riddled with fear, hate and suspicion against anyone not like him.

    He is intolerant and ignorant of the precepts of other religious groups, and preaches a nasty type of division that is not good for his followers, other Christians or this country.

    He will never be able to come close to the man his father is.

    August 19, 2010 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  13. Ann

    Obama's problem is not that he is or he is not a Muslim. He is perhaps half Muslim as he is half Black. So what? His problem is that he has no clue how to lead the country. This is the point on which he fooled the American people.. who actually deserves to be fooled .. did you forget the Democratic primaries?

    August 19, 2010 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. maf

    This is getting ridiculous! Be very afraid of the fearmongering, divisive nature of the commentary right NOW! The radical fringe is coming from all directions and the focus is to derail this administration and President Obama. What a terrible turn of events. The lies and misinformation that are being spewed by anyone and everyone is dangerous! Obviously the negative tone can not be productive.

    Bi-partisan politics is a thing of the past. Hope the Democrats can have a 60 seat result after November, because if they don't NOTHING better will follow!

    August 19, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    This country is sick in the head. I'm proud of our President. Proud of our accomplishments. I am however so ashamed of our attitude and behavior. Thank you Fox News and Affiliates for ruining our country, I hope you are proud of what you have done. What a mess.

    August 19, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. Green Blue

    I asked this question to the Obama website, and never got an answer, "Since his victory in the 2008 November election, how many times had he attended church on Sunday? What about his family?"

    August 19, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  17. KIP

    This "evangelical leader" is a nut-job, his father gave him a muslim name??? uh no, he gave him his name! and the seed of islam is passed from father to son??? I'm a christian and stuff like this makes all christians seem like nutjobs, kinda like the way these nuts are tyrna lump all muslims together like they all attacked us on 9-11

    August 19, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. Thomas, Illinois

    Well, as Dick Cheney would say-So.

    August 19, 2010 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  19. jim

    this is why ALL religion is at the base of all our problems in this world and always has been going right back to the crusades! You dont have to belong to a religion to believe in God. If the truth be told I`m sure God is totally embarassed by our worldly religions claiming him as their leader. Unfortunately most religions are very hypocritical and are only after the power and all it brings. Is their a richer business who holds more real estate than the catholic church? Plus they pay no taxes..not a bad deal for a business in todays world eh! Gods message is very simple we just have to unconditionally love one another with the hope of absolutely nothing in return...sounds easy, but its not ,its probably the hardest thing we can ever learn and we dont need religion to help or guide us..its up to us..each of us individually.

    August 19, 2010 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. Ndubueze Chuku

    You are an idiot. Of what relevance is this rubbish that you are saying.

    August 19, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. lou

    You Religious Hypocrite...Religion isn't like a gene passed on...Its a belief that's taught...Moron. Just like your Father.

    August 19, 2010 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  22. Dave

    The Muslim rule is that if the father is Muslim, the son is Muslim (and a Muslim man can marry a Christian/ Jewish wife and the son is still a Muslim and the marriage accepted by Sharia (4 wives are allowed); a Muslim woman cannot marry Christian/Jewish man!!!!! also by Sharia). Thus, the assertion is technically correct in a formal sense (even if Obama claims to have an Atheist mother it does not count in Islam! sorry!)

    August 19, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. Aaron

    He's as bad as Pallin...has to get attention by throwing in his .00002 cents at every opportunity.

    August 19, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  24. Joe citizen abroad

    How can you be "born" a Muslim? Last time I checked, it was a faith, not a race or nationality. The more this guy talks, the more he reminds everyone that he's not his father. He should just pose for photos.

    August 19, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    Who died and left GRAHAM the boss!!!

    Giuliani earlier just 'making up' stuff, trying to justify why the Mosque should not be build in lower Manhattan – literarily calling Iman a Terrorist if he builds there.. NOW

    "...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."

    CNN – Why would you give this man a platform to spread more lies and hate?

    God, please bless the Obamas and keep them safe!!

    August 19, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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