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. Nomad

    What proof do we have that Franklin Graham is a Christian? Based on the litmus test for Obama and Romney, just saying your a Christian is not good enough. Any can profess with their lips and have their hearts far from he it is whom they profess.

    February 21, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    wow Rev Billy Graham the apple REALLY fell far away from the tree with this one.

    February 21, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. jsmoulder

    The lack of morals in this great country will soon destroy us all.

    February 21, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Christian???

    If Graham was a Christian he would NOT question why and how anyone became a Christian or came to Christ. True Christians accept a person’s word.

    February 21, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. george of the jungle

    well he is not like his daddy . If i want religion i go to church. How dare he question any one on their religious faith. The repos are are so against government involvement yet they seem to want to be in peoples religions ,womens reproductive policys. Vote all repos out

    February 21, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Daniel Hoffman

    There were a half million Christians living in Iraq when President Bush sent Mr. Graham there to lead taxpayer funded humanitarian aid to that nation. There are probably less than fifty thousand there now. How's that city on a hill thing working out for you Mr. Graham? The Crusade backfired.

    February 21, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Lolo

    Boy these President Obama haters are really beginning to loose it. Just admit the man is doing a great job and you cannot stand it. This Graham person needs to shut up and keep religion out of politics. This is the republican problem, they love to use religion to get their way, but forget that Americans have different religions and not just the christian right. The only person to handle the job of President is President Obama. Nobody is going to pick a clown even the republicans don't want. Now they are trying to blame Obama for the gas prices, Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When all along it is the republicans with their hands in the cookie jar trying to make President Obama look bad and line their pockets with dirty money. GOP/TP you need to just go crawl back in your holes and wait until 2016, because no one hears you, not even your base followers. America has awaken and you will pay come election time. Keep on blaming President Obama, obstucting progress to the future and putting up ignorant people to run for president. I am loving it.

    February 21, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Phil in KC

    He doesn't have the gravitas of his father and his views are out-dated.

    February 21, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Jules

    Who died and made Franklin Graham God. My suggestion is that since he has no idea what is in anyone's heart, he should keep his judgements to himself on who qualifies as a Christian and who is the right kind of Christian. I am a born again Christian and one thing I know for sure, Jesus has asked me to accept everyone as my brother and leave the judgements to him. He is the decider, not Frankilin Graham. This is exactly, by the way, that I am a member of the proud Christian Left.

    February 21, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Mr.D

    I thought this guy was off drugs...With comments like this, I am not so sure

    February 21, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Former Republican, but never again!

    Too bad. Billy Graham was a bipartisan healer. His son is a bigot.

    February 21, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. davec.0121

    1. What qualifies Mr. Graham to pass judgement on whether or not Romney and Mormons are Christians?
    2. What qualifies Mr. Graham to pass judgement on the way in which Obama arrived at his faith and the sincerity of his beliefs.
    3. Who cares?
    "Judge not, least ye be judged" is what I believe it says.

    February 21, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Larry L

    I have lost all respect for Christianity. Is this poor example of a Christian paying taxes for his lobbying effort? The evangelicals are about to awaken a sleeping giant of Americans who previously tolerated their pushy and invasive practices. Personally, any politician who uses his religious beliefs to collect votes or to demean the other candidates becomes my last choice on the ballot.

    February 21, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Richard

    Let's just kill all the Christians shall we? Graham is opposed to uS policy which supports religious genocide, specifically Christian murders in the thousands. Before the uS army entered Afghanistan the Christian community flourished. Today there is not one single Christian church or Christian school standing in the open. Are you really in favor of ignoring the right of people, Christian people, to live?

    Religious bigots who can do nothing for humanity except exhibit their hate deserve to be asked one question, "how many Christians would you like to kill today?" Support for uS policy in the middle east is an indirect vote for murder.

    Children of satan, these arrogant religious bigots do nothing constructive for society whatsoever.

    February 21, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Charlie from the North

    i think we learned from the 8 long years of the "George W Bush Error" that just because your dad is good at something does not automatically mean that you will be good at it. In case you needed to be reminded of that watch and listen to Franklin Graham. "This is not your grampa's Reverend Graham"

    Church *********************************************************************State

    Thank God and Thomas Jefferson there is a wall of separation.

    February 21, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. bullock w

    Kick out of muslim cause I will not trust of presdient obama also maybe musilm are keep secert with terroist alright now why musilms was killed army at fort hood in texas I said bull word of musilms

    February 21, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. anthony78

    These churchy guys better watch how close they get to the political flame before they burn off their tax exempt status. Hitler was a Christian who hated Jews (and had strict doctrines for wom. These Right Wing religious guys are eerily similar in their hate for Mooslims and minorities (and control of women).

    February 21, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. PJ/TX

    "Lefties coming out of the woodwork, this really pressed your buttons"
    It should press your buttons too, unless your are "one of them": Intolerant, hypocritical, radical, ignorant, and
    superficial. If you are, you should be embarrassed and ashamed, but we know you are brainwashed and
    we pity you.

    February 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. thanks, but no thanks

    This hypocrites like separation of church and state when it comes to tax exemptions. l say if you would like to play in political arena you should pay. No religion should be tax exempt. That goes for you Reverend Moron....

    February 21, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Charlie from the North

    One more thing I question the order of words in these campaigns that keep saying: "We are going take back America" to be honest they should say "we want to take America back" GOP/TeaParty "digging a tunnel to the 16th century"

    February 21, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. jo an

    Have you been approached to pack a shoe box for OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD? Sound innocent? Well inside all those boxes FRANKLIN GREEN places little books telling the children they will go to HELL if they are not 'born again Christians'...these boxes go to countries of many faiths...I see Franklin as very evil....Is he a Christian??

    February 21, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. yogi

    Another one, calling himself Christian, and so quick to judge others. Please Mr. Graham don't get on the Republican bandwagon of religious righteousness and leave religion out of politics, remember the separation of church and state? Your relationship with God cannot be else than the most intimate, personal, silent relationship.

    February 21, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Blindersoff

    And they all fall down . . . Isaiah 59:2-5

    2 But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
    your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.
    3 For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
    Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
    4 No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
    They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
    5 They hatch the eggs of vipers
    and spin a spider’s web.

    February 21, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. jo an

    Graham takes home more than a MILLION a year from his 'Christian Endeavors'...I guess he does not want the Bush Tax Cuts to go away....HUMMMM

    February 21, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Jamie from Riverside

    This crazy bigot can burn in hell.

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