Franklin Graham Just Doesn’t Buy President Obama’s Claim to be a ChristianPosted: February 21, 2012
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.
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.