Franklin Graham apologizes for doubting Obama’s faith

February 29, 2012

Evangelist Franklin Graham has apologized to President Obama for
questioning his Christian faith and said religion has "nothing to do"
with Graham's decision not to support Obama's reelection.

Graham's
apology came February 28 after a group of prominent black religious
leaders criticized the evangelist for saying he did not know whether
Obama is a Christian and suggesting that Islamic law considers him to be
a Muslim.

Graham, president of the relief organization
Samaritan's Purse and the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said he
now accepts Obama's declarations that he is a Christian.

"I regret
any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the
personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama," he said in a statement. "I
apologize to him and to any I have offended for not better articulating
my reason for not supporting him in this election—for his faith has
nothing to do with my consideration of him as a candidate."

Graham
said he objects to Obama's policy stances on abortion and same-sex
marriage, which Graham considers to be in "direct conflict" with
scripture.

"We can disagree about what it means to be a Christian
engaged in politics, but Christians should not bear false witness," the
NAACP statement said. "We are also concerned that Rev. Graham's comments
can be used to encourage racism."

When asked in a recent MSNBC
interview if Obama was a Christian, Graham responded, "I cannot answer
that question for anybody." He went on to say that be­cause Obama's
father was a Muslim, "under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack
Obama as a Muslim." By contrast, Graham said there is "no question" that
GOP presidential candidate Rick San­torum is a "man of faith" because
"his values are so clear on moral issues." Santorum has also faced
criticism for saying the president has a "phony theology" that is
unbiblical.

"By his statements, Rev. Graham seems to be aligning
himself with those who use faith as a weapon of political division," the
NAACP said. "These kinds of comments could have enormous negative
effects for America and are especially harmful to the Christian
witness."

Signatories of the open letter included presidents of
the National Baptist Con­ven­tion, USA; the National Baptist
Con­ven­tion of America; and the Pro­gressive National Baptist
Conven­tion, as well as bishops of the African Methodist Episco­pal
Church, the African Methodist Epis­co­pal Zion Church and the Christian
Meth­odist Episcopal Church.  —RNS