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Earlier this year, the Army rescinded its invitation to Graham for the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon over controversial remarks he made about Islam.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. guest123

    My god, is there no depth the republican'ts won't sink to to spout their predjudices and mindless hatred?

    August 19, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  2. Lorrie

    Mr. Obama claims to be a Christian, yet he cancelled the National Day of Prayer and hosted a dinner at the White House for a Muslim holy day, from what I have read. I believe actions speak louder than words.

    August 19, 2010 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. Richard in California

    While I believe President Obama is a Christian, what does it matter? It didn't matter that JFK was a Catholic. History has revealed to us that he was not, in fact, a pawn of the papacy.

    In any case, anyone who believes that Islam is a religion of violence, wife-beating, and child-killing is truly ignorant. (Yes, I'm looking at you, "Rev" Franklin Graham). Have any of these right-wing Neo-Con "Christians" ever read a single chapter of the Koran? Yeah, I didn't think so. Yes, there are extremist Muslims. Yes, some of these extremist Muslims distort and corrupt the Koran to justify their hatred. Is this any different than Christians who do exactly the same thing, subjugating women, beating their children, all the while, pointing to out-of-context verses from the Bible to justify their own violence and blind, willful ignorance?

    August 19, 2010 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  4. MJ

    I don't see a problem with him being muslim. Besides, only a bigot would actually think Islam is about hitting women and murder people for adultery.

    August 19, 2010 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. Djinn

    Just like the Bush senior/Bush junior problem. Dad makes a name in the business and the kid comes along and runs the biz into the ground. What a moron. This one, however, was not born with a silver foot in his mouth.

    August 19, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  6. Cheetosareus

    I don't believe Obama is a Christian. He has ridiculed the Bible and Jesus the books Leviticus, Deuteronomy and the Sermon on the Mount. Christians don't do that. On the other hand he quotes the Koran reverently by saying "the Holy Koran says...." without comment or added opinion. He has talked about "my Muslim faith" and confessed to the Prime Minister of Egypt that he is Muslim and supports the Muslim agenda. He lied to the Arab world the USA is not a Christian nation and the USA is the largest Muslim country in his first speech after election. His firt interview was with Al Jazeera. It was more important to address his Muslim brothers than the nation that elected him?! Either you believe what he tells you or you deceive yourself and believe what you want to.

    August 19, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  7. S.positive

    So a true Christian is someone who was born as one from birth and not someone who gave their life to the Lord Jesus, This country is definitely in a sorry state, GOD help us

    August 19, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. ddt

    CNN is another Fix News in the making. When I posted my comment on Guiliani they didn't show it because they like what Guiliani said about president Obama that 9/11 happened under Obama. Thanks CNN FOR JOINING FIX NEWS

    August 19, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  9. Marcus

    OH PLEASE!!!
    Barack Obama, Sr. (the father of the current POTUS) was bornand raised as a Catholic, later converted to Islam (somewhere in his youth) and finally became a known ATHEIST.
    Please Mr. Graham, for once in your life, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!
    He had a great impact on his son, whose father doesn't?, BUT not the one you claim he had!

    PS: One thing to consider, Obama Sr. was tortured by the British during the six (or more – can't recall it right) months he spent in jail during the revolts that led to Kenya's independence.
    A private reason for the POTUS to be against such highly counterproducent 'method' of gathering data?

    August 19, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. Phillip Bunn

    I couldn't care less what his religious affliliation is; this is AMERICA, remember, religious freedom? I am much more concerned that he is not doing his job. I voted for him, but now, I WANT MY VOTE BACK!!!!! Quit vacationing with the rich, white people at Martha's Vinyard and go back to Washington and do your job!!!!! If yu really need a rest from doing nothing, then, GO TO THE GULF! You remember, that area that you said was safe, well, PROVE IT!!!!

    August 19, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. Marcus

    Barack Obama Sr. was an ATHEIST at the time of the POTUS' coming to this world Mr. Graham, get your facts straight please.

    August 19, 2010 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  12. Grrr-Awful-O

    Obama is a Black Liberation Christian. He attended Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years. (And I know that the whole family didn't sleep through every single sermon over all those years.) That's why Obama is so low key about his religion. It doesn't play all that well on the main stage.

    August 19, 2010 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  13. maggie

    Franklin Graham is as big a nutjob as all of these people who think Obama is Muslim, a terrorist, a martian, and heaven knows what else Fox has put out there for these idiots to gobble up with glea. I expected more out of Graham junior however, like Bush junior, neither man has the common sense or the class of his father. Talk about snake oil! This article was a pile of my-way-or-the-highway type of Christianity I've seen in awhile. Perhaps next week, we'll hear about Graham and a hooker. Scandal always follows when these guys start the chest pounding.

    August 19, 2010 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  14. cathstar

    The evangelicals are a bunch of very frightening whack jobs. Graham actually believes that religious "seeds" are passed through from parents somehow. Therefore, I guess there is no point in baptism because religion has been pre-determined by the "seeds."

    August 19, 2010 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. Charles

    Nor can true Christianity be practiced today. Read the Bible sometime. All of it. A lot of it is pretty barbaric by today's standards.

    August 20, 2010 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. Tina

    Born a Muslim always a Muslim. Ask a Muslim.

    August 20, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  17. mk

    I just want everyone who speculates to shut the f up! President Obama swore to uphold the Constitution, not the Bible. Nothing else matters to me, nothing. I could CARE LESS who or what he prays to, or even if he prays at all. I just care that he is intelligent and that he is not Bush.

    August 20, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. Perplexed

    And you were born a fool.

    August 20, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. Frederick L May SR

    John Kennedy was Catholic. Every body said the country will fall apart if he is elected. Obama is accused of being Muslam, SO WHAT!

    August 20, 2010 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  20. La Piovra

    Franklin Graham knows this by divine revelation, of course, just as he knows there wasn't any Holocaust, even though the Jews deserved one.

    August 20, 2010 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  21. Diane

    Seriously, how does this matter? When we all as a race (the Human Race, mind you) can finally look passed skin color or religious beliefs, then we will be able to finally take the steps towards peace. Just because someone has darker skin does not mean they are a thief or murderer. Just because someone is Muslim, does not mean they are a terrorist. Those that were responsible for September 11 were not Muslim, they were terrorists plain and simple. They murdered people of many nations and many religions on that day, not caring who got in the way. When we all can remember this, that is the day we all can come together and truly begin the fight against terrorism.

    August 20, 2010 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  22. whynot

    Idiotic at best!

    August 20, 2010 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  23. Ray

    I'm glad Jesus isn't alive today to see what these ignorant people throughout the ages including today have done to his teachings.

    August 20, 2010 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  24. Dale

    Mr Grahams comments shows how bigoted his views are about other religions. When so called religious leaders like Mr Graham makes such statements why do even try to figure out why there is so much trouble in the world. Is one religion more sacred than the other?

    I guess the only safe way is to be a non believer...

    August 20, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. Polkovnik

    Among the many ways that Franklin Graham is wrong is in claiming that Barack and Hussein are Muslim names. They are Arabic in origin but not Muslim. Barak means "blessed" and is used by Christian as well as Muslim Arabs. Hussein means "very handsome."

    Get your facts straight, Rev. Graham. There are of course plenty of specifically Muslim names, for example 'Abdullah, but neither Barack nor Hussein is among them.

    August 20, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
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