Franklin Graham Just Doesn’t Buy President Obama’s Claim to be a Christian

Franklin Graham, son of Nixon pal and fellow anti-Semite Billy Graham was invited on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show today to opine on the religious beliefs of the various candidates for President of the United States. Why anyone gives a sh&t about whether these guys are “christians” or not is a mystery to me, but it seems it’s all we hear about since Rick “The Dick” Santorum became the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Graham had no trouble saying that Santorum and Newt Gingrich are “christians.” But he was very wishy washy about Obama, and in the end left the impression that he believes Obama to be a Muslim. As for Mitt Romney, Graham “likes him,” but Mormons aren’t “christians.” Here are some of the relevant quotes from the interview, via Politico:

ON OBAMA: “You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is I’m a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins… You have to ask every person. He has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is.”

Graham told the interviewers that he had talked to Obama personally about his beliefs and that Obama told him he only started going to church because he was told it would help him as a community organizer.

“If he says he’s a Christian, I can accept that. All I know is what Jesus Christ has done in my heart and how he changed my life,” said Graham.

ON SANTORUM: “Do you believe Rick Santorum is a Christian?” asked Geist. “I think so,” responded Graham.
“How do you know, if the standard is: only the person knows what’s in him when you apply it to the president, why is it different for Rick Santorum?” replied Geist.

“Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it. I just appreciate the moral stances he takes on things. He comes from a Catholic faith… I think he’s a man of faith,” said Graham.

Graham wasn’t quite so enthused about Gingrich’s beliefs and he was definite that Romney is a mormon, and while mormons may believe in Jesus, they believe in a lot of other funny things too so they can’t be christians.

But that’s not all. There’s more that isn’t in the Youtube video above. From the WaPo On Faith column, Graham also told the stunned Morning Joe panel:

Graham: “Under Islamic law, under Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, his great-grandfather was a Muslim. So under Islamic law the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That’s just the way it works. That’s the way they see it. But of course he says he didn’t grow up that way, he doesn’t believe in that, he believes in Jesus Christ so I accept that. But I’m just saying that the Muslim world, Islam, they see him as a son of Islam.

Morning Joe: But you do not think he’s a Muslim.

Graham: No.

Morning Joe: Categorically not a Muslim.

Graham: Well, I can’t say categorically because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama and we see the Arab Spring and coming out of the Arab Spring the Islamists are taking control of the Middle East. People like Mubarak, who was a dictator, but he kept the peace with Israel. The Christian minorities in Egypt were protected. Now those Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab world are under attack. Newsweek magazine last week, cover story, was the massacre of Christians in the Islamic world from Europe all the way through the Middle East, Africa, into Asia and Oceania. Muslims are killing Christians. And we need to be forcing, demanding, that if these countries do not protect their minorities, no more foreign aid from the United States. They are not protecting the minorities.”

MSNBC checked with an expert to see if what Graham said about the Muslim religion being automatically passed down from father to son is true.

According to Edina Lekovic, director of policy at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, being born in a Muslim family doesn’t make one a Muslim. A person has to make an active choice to become a Muslim, Lekovic said.

As everyone knows by now–even if we never wanted to–Rick Santorum thinks that Obama believes in “some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,”

I’m beginning to get the feeling that some kind of poison has been released into the body politic–a poison that has driven a large percentage of our politicians and corporate media mavens insane. Why are we talking about this? Why should I care who is a christian and who isn’t? Most of all, why should I care what Franklin Graham thinks about anyone’s “moral values?

But of course, I have to care about this poison that’s been injected into the body politic because I don’t want crazy people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum to actually take over and run the government.

I read an interesting post by Ed Kilgore this morning before I heard about the Morning Joe ruckus. It’s called What It Really Means When Santorum Attacks Obama’s “Theology” Kilgore heard from former Beliefnet editor Steve Waldman about a 2008 interview Waldman had done with Santorum in which Santorum said

Obama’s efforts to talk about the importance of faith in his life is “phoney–absolutely disingenuous. I think he’s a complete phoney.”
Obama, Santorum argued, chose Trinity Church in Chcago because it was politically advantageous — “faith was an avenue for power.”
(At the end of the attack, he added that of course it would be inappropriate for him to judge the authenticity of Obama’s faith, as only God could do that.)

….

After he’d accused Obama and other Democrats of religoius fraudulance for a few minutes, journalist Terry Mattingly of GetReligion.org asked whether it’s possible that rather than being fake, perhaps, Obama was sincerely reflecting a form of liberal Christianity in the tradition of Reinhold Neibuhr. Santorum surprised me by answering that yes, “I could buy that.”

However, he questioned whether liberal christianity was really, well, Christian. “You’re a liberal something, but your not a Christian.” He continued, “When you take a salvation story and turn it into a liberation story you’ve abandoned Christiandom and I don’t think you have a right to claim it.”
In other words, Obama’s faith is fraudulant in part because liberal Christinaity is.

I’ve come across this sentiment before. To a degree rarely discussed, many conservative Christians truly doubt both the theological truth and the spiritual authenticity of liberal Christians

So in other words, in order to be a “christian,” you have to be a conservative. Religion is somehow wrapped up with politics. Talk about twisted!

Here’s just one more perspective from a professor at Georgetown University:

“He [Santorum] has this internal tic, of wanting to get into what I call theological disputation. And theological disputation is a loser,” said Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor at Georgetown University who has studied the use of religion in U.S. politics. He meant that Santorum seeks to tell others how to behave and even what to believe, using his own specific beliefs as an unshakable guide.

Berlinerblau said the danger, even among other Catholics, was that Santorum would seem gratingly familiar. “They know Rick Santorums. They’ve met Rick Santorums their whole life,” he said. “It’s just, ‘Well, I know what that guy’s about, and I don’t want anything to do with it.’ ”

I can definitely agree with that sentiment. There something very wrong with people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum, and I sure don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t even want to hear about it anymore.


19 Comments on “Franklin Graham Just Doesn’t Buy President Obama’s Claim to be a Christian”

  1. Delphyne says:

    I’m beginning to get the feeling that some kind of poison has been released into the body politic–a poison that has driven a large percentage of our politicians and corporate media mavens insane. Why are we talking about this? Why should I care who is a christian and who isn’t? Most of all, why should I care what Franklin Graham thinks about anyone’s “moral values?

    But of course, I have to care about this poison that’s been injected into the body politic because I don’t want crazy people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum to actually take over and run the government.

    It is like a disease that has taken over our government, our representatives, our way of life. That disease needs to be vanquished – forced into remission, never to rear its ugly head again and we need to be vigilant – vigilant that this disease never has a chance to incubate and take us over. It needs to be wiped out, once and for all.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s really frightening. These people are brain dead. Look at this from Santorum in 2008:

      Asked to name a couple of words he’d heard attached to religion and politics in his years in the Senate, Santorum listed “moderate,” “ultra-conservative,” “liberal,” and “zealous” before launching into a full-on tirade against Democrats:

      “Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        This man is so afraid of his own thoughts and feelings, he’s so repressed, that he’s afraid if he ever let go he’d go completely nuts and start attacking women (or men) in the street.

        I really feel for his kids. They’re going to need a lot of therapy if they ever want to have normal happy lives.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Here’s the whole interview from 2008.

        http://www.ocrpl.org/?p=99

    • ralphb says:

      It’s been my experience that the most virulent homophobes are usually closeted self-hating gay men. That fits Santorum fwiw.

  2. I started college in the fall of 1968. My roommate in my sophomore year was a born again Christian, as was her entire family. Born agains were something new then, as was the presence of Campus Crusade for Christ on campus. Although my roommate was a very nice girl, I just thought she was simple & not especially bright. I let her family talk me into attending one of Billy Graham’s revivals at a local stadium. His guest speaker? Anita Bryant, the rabid gay hater. What fun. At one point, Graham asked for all those who had been baptized to rise. Although I’d been baptized as a baby & re-baptized when I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church as a teenager, I stayed sitting, since by then I was an agnostic. A woman behind me touched me on the shoulder & said, “Jesus loves you.” I could not wait to get out of there and far, far away. Who knew the insanity of that group would seize the nation and spread far and wide.

    • bostonboomer says:

      “Jesus loves you.” The sanctimoniousness of these freaks just blows me away.

    • I guess my reason for this “soul bearing confession” is to say that the toxic indoctrination/propaganda plan began over 50 years ago. Now their tentacles are deeply imbedded in all aspects of our society.

    • NW Luna says:

      As a child, I got taken to hear Billy Graham. Even as young as I was, it came across as hard-sell without much sense (that I could see).

      What’s that bumper sticker ….. “Jesus, save me from your followers” ? That’s what I feel about Santorum and his ilk.

  3. Roofingbird says:

    Idiots.
    The one is with worst brain punies and right handed ratings masturbation is Joe Scarbourgh.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. I can’t stand him. Actually, I can’t stand Barnicle either. How does a guy who got fired for plagarism end up with a job on TV?

  4. northwestrain says:

    Basically I don’t give a flying f*** if any of the candidates are “christians” or whatever. Nor do I care to learn anything about their icky sex lives — I do NOT give a damned. However the religious right has inserted themselves into women’s lives — nearly every aspect of women’s lives.

    So because of the current climate of intrusive busy bodies it is valid to know if the brand of nuttiness that candidates believe in — means that they believe they have the right to invade everyone’s bedroom and our bodies.

    Now that the Xtian Pandora’s box is open and all the evil cults have taken the stage — how the hell can we shut them up and get back to some sort of rational political election?

    Historically this era reminds me of the awakening —
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Great_Awakening

    The Second Great Awakening was a Christian revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1800, had begun to gain momentum by 1820, and was in decline by 1870.[1] The Second Great Awakening expressed Arminian theology, by which every person could be saved through revivals. It enrolled millions of new members, and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. The Second Great Awakening stimulated the establishment of many reform movements designed to remedy the evils of society before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.[2]

    Billy Graham was part of what might be called the third awakening — tent revivals, the traveling preachers, The raise of the evangelical cults.

    • bostonboomer says:

      When I was growing up in Indiana, the preachers used to come around with those tents. Creepy. Actually I don’t really know what they do–just what I’ve seen in movies like Elmer Gantry.

      • northwestrain says:

        Every summer my church had tent meeting — sort of like religious summer camps for the whole family. There are high powered evangelical preachers who travel to each regional tent meeting. Sort of like Marjoe — he was trained for this sort of ministry from birth. He rejected this cult like existence and exposed the trade secrets. 0bowma used some of the tricks in is last campaign.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe

        The psychological manipulation is extreme at these revival meetings — even atheists could be encouraged to stand up for Jesus — these speakers are very strong.

        Thankfully I was born a skeptic and watched people make fools of themselves — “witnessing”.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Berlinerblau said the danger, even among other Catholics, was that Santorum would seem gratingly familiar. “They know Rick Santorums. They’ve met Rick Santorums their whole life,” he said. “It’s just, ‘Well, I know what that guy’s about, and I don’t want anything to do with it.’ ”

    In other words…

    This guy…this is not my kind of guy.

    Ain’t that the truth!