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. ART

    OK Frankie boy just needs to stop embarrassing himself

    February 21, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |

    "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."
    What bothers me is the treatment of the Palestenian people on the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Can you speak on that Mr. Graham? Or can you speak on hate crimes committed against muslims in this country?

    February 21, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. chelle

    Wow just WOW! American politics has become a religious fest. Why would you care what religion your President is? I have no idea what denomination the Prime Minister of Canada is, nor do I care. I care about his plan for my country.

    February 21, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. diridi

    The problem with this nation is These Church leaders. These idiots are becoming the thugs of this nation. They think we are in 3rd century. Enough of these church idiots. Nothing wrong with Pres. Obama nor Mitt Romney. Enough of this idiot, Franklin Graham. Folks, do not give a dime to these idiots nor to Churches....o.k, Enough of these nasty idiot.

    February 21, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    another know-nothing big-mouth who thinks people care what his opinion is....

    February 21, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Mortalc01l

    So Obama IS Christian now, there are just "doubts" about the "sincerity" of his faith?

    Christians.. absolutely insane the whole lot of them!

    February 21, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As nutty as Graham is, you would think he would be running for president of the right wingnuts.

    February 21, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    You know what bothers me about you? How can your father claim you as his son!!
    You are a disgrace to your so called "christian" beliefs, your family and any decent human being who is not, thankfully, just like you. Just when you think that these cretins can't get any more stupid!!!
    When did this presidential race turn into a god war? Are you concerned when anti abortion home grown terrorists plant two bombs for more casualties or kill doctors in church? Please STFU and go bury your head in the sand!!! You and your ilk are trying to bring your stone age sharia law to the US in the name of your god.

    February 21, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Max

    Franklin Graham

    Who the hell cares about what Graham said? He is just one of us with one vote, and his individual opinion like any other American. We all have our opinions and his is just his...no problem, but he is not GOD?

    He sins like all of us and is in need of God's grace and forgiveness like all of us. That's what makes Christianity an 'equality' religion.

    Obama is doing a great Job as our president and we owe him a lot for that. Christianity teaches us to respect those whom we have placed in authority to lead us, especially when they are democratically elected.

    Franklin Graham, like the rest of us must show respect and pray for Obama as he leads us under GOD.

    God bless President Obama and God bless the the United States of America.

    February 21, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. GI Joe.

    Hmmmm - Santorun pals around with pedophiles in church all the time. Think about THAT judgement.

    February 21, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Nevis Mn

    Who cares? Franklin has been riding his fathers coat tails and trying make himself relevant. It isn't working.

    February 21, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Nsikan

    'The stupid son of a good man'. Stay out of politics, will you?

    February 21, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. chilly g

    this guy graham his only accomplishment is his famous last name.this guy call himself a prescher but he just another

    February 21, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Franklin is an example of the reason our founding fathers wanting religion separate from government.

    February 21, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. F-Gingrich

    It never ceases to amaze me that someone like Franklin Graham can question ANYONE'S religious integrity. The way him and his Daddy have been fleecing money from their flock of wackos, zealots, and hillbillies is anything but "Christian".

    Christ, these Christian wackos are worse than the Taliban!

    February 21, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. CAJ

    He also said that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were absolutely Christians! He won't take President Obama at his word because of his so-called "behavior" but he gives the thrice-married Gingrich a pass because of his conversion to Catholicism. Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E?!?!?!

    February 21, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Valentina

    Graham said he believes that "[Romney] would be a good president if he got the nomination" – that's good enough for me and I totally agree with him. I take it as sort of an endorsement for Romney – makes me happy because I like Franklin Graham and his father a lot!

    February 21, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Straight Shooter

    As a Christian, I would think he would be concerned about any human being murdered, not just other Christians. He is basically saying that it is OK to murder Muslims because they are not Christians! Um, isn't that the exact same thing most Christians have been screaming about it supposedly supporting in the Koran – OK to kill anyone of another belief? Is he now the Ayatollah Graham?

    February 21, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Paul

    Shame on you, Franklin Graham. Your father never would have said such a thing.

    February 21, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. rs

    The GOP need a fast divorce from the fundimentalist crowd if they ever wish to be seen as credible players in politics ever again.
    I for one, don't care about politicians' religion, and nor should anybody else. We elect people to do civic jobs, not deal with religion, or religious issues.
    If you want to see what happens to government when it gets saddled with religion, please look at Iran. If that truly is what the GOP wants, they are done.

    February 21, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. carly

    another religious right wing clown.

    February 21, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. ct

    Really? What happened to the separation of Church and State?!!!!!

    February 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Billy Graham would have never questioned obama christainity, yet his son does, even when he's admits that obama is a christain, he contradict himself saying ""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,"

    The arab spring movement isn't killing christians because of their religion, quite the contrary, citizens in that region are being killed because they want freedom and the right to elect their leader instead of their leader electing himself and oppressing freedom and rights

    February 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. learntoread

    jsut more of the blind leading the blind.... and why does it always happen that good fathers have such STUPID childen ? does this dog whistling ever stop? Rick Santorum hasnt got a thing on Osama Bin Laden- both drunk on their own personal religion...

    February 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Joan

    Questioning another person's religion doesn't sound very Christian like to me. His father has a lot more common sense, humility and class than this guy. Shame on him. He is putting a blemiish on the formerly revered and respected Graham name. You are supposed to "love they neighbour" not criticize and look down on them. Does he think he is a better person than either Pres. Obama or candidate Romney? I think not.

    February 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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