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Earlier this year, the Army rescinded its invitation to Graham for the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon over controversial remarks he made about Islam.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

    Men like Franklin Graham are best described as "Convenience Christians" : People who invoke their "Christian" faith to justify intolerance, demagoguery, and bigotry, while they ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ about " not judging least you be judged" , "turning the other cheek", and treating "thy neighbor as thy brother". I wonder what Jesus of Nazareth would think about a man who commands his followers to contribute money while he encourages them to violate the teachings of Jesus? Would such a man best be described as a "False Prophet"?!

    August 20, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  2. Chris

    Wow! – why do people still listen to these bigoted religious idiots? Why would anyone with half a brain, and the president is obviously a very intelligent person, ever listen to these fools? Regardless of their affiliation, they are just a few bricks short of a full load!

    August 20, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    What a hate monger in sheeps clothing.

    August 20, 2010 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  4. sharon

    OMG!!!! What differance does it make what his beliefs is? All I've reading in these blogs and media is HATE...HATE...HATE...The U.S. is made up of people from different races and religious beliefs...Need I remind you that your ancestors came here by boat for freedom and my ancestor came from boat to slavery..We are all here to help build a better & stronger country...Unfortunately we cannot acheive our goals because of RACISTISM...Utopia we are not, but we can try to get along and build a stronger nationotherwise we are doomed and other countries forged ahead. Take a look at China.

    August 20, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  5. Hugo

    Don't really care what color Obama is or what religion he practices... the bottom line is that he still has no clue as to what to do as the LEADER of our Nation. Where are the jobs? We now have a government employed sector of our Nation that surpasses the labor force of private industry. Now put on the thinking hats libtards, when those jobs are funded by tax revenues collected from private business, the numbers are no longer sustainable. A taxed tax dollar is the epitome of a diminishing return prospect...

    August 20, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  6. stevetall

    Oh, no! Not another pinhead named 'Graham' who gets his wierd opinion in the media. Give me a break.

    August 20, 2010 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  7. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Taliban 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.

    I believe Franklin Graham has borne false witness....

    August 20, 2010 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  8. Factwatcher

    So does this help or hurt Obama?

    It sure must make the Terrorists hate him more if they believe it, because now he's an apostate.

    August 20, 2010 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  9. lil

    This whole muslim thing is just another way of republican bullying.
    These people are not only spreading racism but they are teaching our
    children and grandchildren to hate.
    Please, no matter how you feel about the president or his policies, dont teach our children to hate because of a persons skin color, religion or to be shallow prejudice bullies. Because thats what they are learning from
    us the so call grown ups.

    August 20, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. normajean

    Poor Mr. Graham must not be getting all the publicity that he would like or he would not have to put in his two cents worth on this presidential question. Maybe I'm wrong but I never heard that you were automatically of the faith that your father was. My father was of one faith and I chose my own when I was old enough to know what religion was. at a relatively young age. Maybe if Barak Obama lived where his father did that might have been the case, but is it not true that he lived in the US with his mother from an infant??Is the president not a christian if he says that is what he believes in and not a muslim which the Repubs are trying to hard to prove.?DO THE REPUBLICANS CARE ABOUT OR RESPECT ANYTHING BUT THEMSELVES? THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUSLY NO!

    August 20, 2010 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  11. Grondahl

    Thanks, Mr. Graham. My forehead now has permanent divots thanks to your...interesting thoughts.

    August 20, 2010 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  12. Mike in San Antonio

    Muslim, Christian, Agnostic...who cares? Personally, I'd just like him to be a good president.

    August 20, 2010 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  13. Matt

    "True Islam cannot be practiced in this country, ... 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."

    By that logic neither can "true christianity."


    August 20, 2010 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  14. Peter s

    Lets cut the hog wash! Obama was just given his fathers name! Infact it was his grand father who converted to Islam. Why can't people do just a little research before stepping on the microphone to fool yourself . Oh my bad the bithers belive every crap thrown to them! they are allergic to the truth!

    August 20, 2010 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  15. Sheila

    The Republican Tea Party has no answer to help the american people and have to resort to "The Southern Strategey Polictic" to scare white people. It won't work! This country was not built on fear! If you want to send a strong message to the fearmongers Vote no for The Republican Tea party/Foxs News this November! Let's go to work America!

    August 20, 2010 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  16. Mike

    Franklin Graham you are an embarrassment to your father and I am sure he would be appalled at your beliefs. The notion that children are born into a religion is absurd. Sure, parents start indoctrinating their children at a young age but to suggest that they are born as Christians or Muslims takes absurdity to a new height.

    August 20, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  17. Renea

    God loves everybody regardless of their religious background Im so glad God is not like man. God hates sin not people no matter who or what we beleive, I 4 one truly beleive that President Obama is a true Christian. People just need to stop bein so judgemental JUDGE YE NOT: and you will not be judge.just because he is a black president i guess he have to be a muslm which i donot have anything against i just dont agree with their belief Im a Christian.Im sorry i just feel this is more about racism.

    August 20, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  18. JOHN IN AZ

    Franklin Graham is not wholly right. President Obama was NOT born a Muslim just because his father was that. When anyone is born, they are not of any particular religious persuasion. Being born to a father and mother who are of a particular religion doesn't make the new born that. They learn their religious beliefs according to what they are exposed to.

    Those who try to make President Obama a Muslim and the same unenlightened ones who have been trying in the worst way to put him asunder. Many of these are rabid Republicans who know only to complain, criticize and condemn.

    August 20, 2010 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Whatever. If that's not backhanded support, I dunno what is.

    August 20, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  20. Anonymous

    President Obama is doing a terrific job in all categories. He and his administration saved this country from a Depression that would have be worse than the Great Depression of 1929 with 30-40% unemployment as reported by Greenspan other financial experts. It would have lasted 7-10 years!!!! We are nowhere near that. It will take another year for the US to see a stronger economy and a lot of new jobs.
    Also--Obama is NOT A MUSLIM. If you watch a variety of news channels and read newspapers you see this

    August 20, 2010 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. Justin

    He's not a Muslim, but why would it even matter if he was?

    August 20, 2010 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  22. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    I really respect Mr graham for this. It shows that real Christians understand our president has to uphold the laws of our land and not impose his beliefs of Christianity everyone else. As Christians we don't all agree on the power that a man has on this earth. My bible teaches me that I should love thy neighbor rather than cast a stone even if we disagree. It teaches me to show compassion and respect for in the end I will not judge but will be judged based on my faith and actions. Who are we (humans) to dictate a persons faith when God allow man to choose. A harsh reality will set in when Jesus comes back who really are with him on faith or who will reject him based on his looks. How many will stand with him when they find out that he most likely looks like an Arab with dreads than a Anglo Saxon with blond hair and blue eyes. Read any bible its the description in it.

    August 20, 2010 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  23. Anonymous

    This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. President Obama was raised by a Christian mother and grandparents. His core belief is Christian.
    He was born in Hawaii, after statehood- he is an American.
    When will all these ahters move on to real issues? No wonder this counrty is in the mess it is.
    Stop worrying about who is sleepingwith whom.
    Stop worrying that you guns will be taken away.
    Stop worrying about others religion.
    All you Bible -thumpers need to to be reminded – "Do unto other as you would have done to you."
    Translation- mind your own business.

    August 20, 2010 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  24. D.

    Yes, as the white house said, the president prays every day and therefore he is a Christian, he in fact does it five times a day!!!! 🙂

    August 20, 2010 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  25. Mike D

    One in Five Americans,

    And we wonder where they get this crap from??? Here's one source. The thing is Graham is not ignorant, he knows exactly what he's doing, like most Republicans, Faux News, etc., he's playing the ignorant of this nation by feeding into their base fears and prejudices.

    August 20, 2010 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
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