February 21st, 2012
01:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian faith

(CNN) - The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, on Tuesday questioned whether Mitt Romney's Mormon faith qualified as Christianity.

He also raised concerns about President Barack Obama's dedication to Christianity, as well as to Christians living in Muslim countries.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons as members are colloquially known, identify themselves as Christians.

Asked if he considered Romney a Christian in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Graham said most Christians would "not recognize Mormonism" as part of Christianity.

"Of course, (Mormons) believe in Jesus Christ. But they believe in a lot of other things, too, that we don't accept," Graham said. "He would be a good president if he got the nomination."

Romney's faith has faced scrutiny during both of his Republican presidential bids, with high-profile religious leaders raising concerns about the role his faith plays in his electability.

As for Obama, Graham repeated his 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.

The evangelical 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 Tuesday, he reaffirmed that he does not consider Obama a Muslim, but repeated his argument about Obama's lineage and ties to Islam.

"Under Islamic law–Sharia law–Islam sees him as a son of Islam. Because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim...That's just the way it works," he said. "That's the way they see it. He says he didn't grow up that way and he believes in Jesus Christ, so I accept that."

Graham was mostly upset with the president's policies toward some Muslim nations, arguing that "Islam has had a pass under Obama."

Following the events of the Arab Spring, Graham said Islamists are taking control of the Middle East and "Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab World are under attack."

Graham called on the president to threaten an end to foreign aid to certain countries until they work harder to protect their minorities.

"All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world. He seems more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries," Graham said. "That's what really bothers me."

- CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Also see:

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Andie Moen

    Since when did living in a "Muslim" country disqualify Christians from being Christians. How absurd. As far as I know God isn't concerned about the geography. Isn't it is more important to find a place in our hearts to accept Christ as our Savior than where we put our house. This is absurd and just flat stupid. Obama and Romney don't have anything to prove either.

    February 21, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Cyrus

    When would these idiots realize that no one is born a Muslim, and even Islam doesn't recognize that. Just like Judaism and Christianity, one needs to be "baptized" to become a Muslim. Just because Obama's father was a Muslim, it doesn't automatically transfer upon him.

    Also, there's no such thing as "Islamic Law", and Shariah Law is not based on Quran. It's based on Hadith and the interpretations of Quran. Islam doesn't have a book of divine law. That means, a Shariah law in Saudi Arabia has no meaning or validity in Indonesia, as the interpretation of the Hadith and Quran are quite different in both these countries.

    February 21, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. G O D

    This is God.
    I have just installed a "smite" button on my keyboard.
    5-4-3-2-1, press.

    February 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. pe2

    Rev Graham has a very good point ! This dodo president doesnt give a whit about persecuted christians

    February 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Russ

    Who cares what you accept or don't accept. Religion is a farce to start with. It's meant to scare your sheep into giving you money so you don't have to work. Why do you have to give money to a church to be saved or believe in god? Is your almighty magic man in the sky a capitalist? I don't give a rat's behind what your religion is when it comes to being my president. Keep your religious beliefs out of my government. It has nothing to do with running this country. All it does is discriminate against anyone that doesn't see things your way. Democrats seem to govern just fine with very little religious intervention, why can't the morons on the right do the same? By the way, if your insurance company offers contreception as part of of it's plan, guess what YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE THEM, IT'S AN OPTION YOU IDIOTS!!

    February 21, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Primewonk

    To all the fundiots (fundamentalist ldiots), including Graham, what part of Article VI, Section 3, of the Consti.tution do you not understand?

    February 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Busted

    So living your life in the likeness of christ really means hating on muslims. What happened to the Jesus figure who fed the poor? Or is using Jesus's life as an example of christianity no longer relevant?

    February 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Whatever

    MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS!!!!! There are 6 Million Mormons in this country who have better morals and values than most so-called Christians. When will Evangelicals quit acting so high and mighty? Didn't Martin Luther break off from the church? Aren't there like a million different sects of Baptists? Hyprocrisy. Pure and simple.

    February 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Davis

    Please do not listen to this guy. Or his daddy.

    February 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. joannie

    Mr. Graham, you should know what the word says, "you should not judge" , that's God's job, because someone does not publicly express their faith in God like some that are nothing but Hypocrites you are quick to condemn them. The same way you judge you will also be judged, be careful.

    February 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. melayne mills

    My grandparents were Christian, and went to their Bsptist Church every Sunday. My grandfather was an elder, and my grandmother was very involved in Baptist charities. They lived Rev. Billy Graham, but would be very saddened by RevFranklin Grahams remarks. They had Mormon friends and neighbors and always remarked that their faith and ministries were stronger than most, and always believed in their Christianity. Further, to disrespect a sitting president's faith would've been unheard of. My grandfather always told me that the journey to God is for each individual is a personal experience. There were many paths to 'get there. Rev. Franklin Graham certainly does not represent the views of my family or friends or me, and I am personally very disappointed at his views of intolerance!!

    February 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Jon of the West

    Only people with Christian beliefs should be allowed to become President??? Is that what he is saying?? Only religious folk should be in office???

    February 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    Isn't he the same guys who threw his support behind Trump.

    February 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. gicalibama

    Nice job of bringing people together, O one who determines who is Christian and who is righteous. This man is making a killing off religion, and no doubt is fishing for more tax-free money from people who have a pathetic need to believe in this type of drivel. Graham is the epitome of the money changer in the temple. Disgraceful.

    February 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX


    Christian means "Christ like" and Mr. Grahm you are Far far from Christ like. You said this for one reason only, to get BIG $$$ from crazy rich donnars that want to take America back to the 1600's back to a old English-fudeal like society.
    Jesus said judge not least you be judged, but he did say tell us how to identify false prophets by the fruit of thier labor.

    February 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. GOP = Greed Over People

    Ah, the perfect "rising star" candidate for the GOP plan B.

    He is a blend of Mr. 1% and the sanctimonious Santorum, but most importantly for the tea baggers and crowd, he is white, nice looking and a bigot!

    February 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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