We were disturbed and disappointed by statements made by Rev. Franklin Graham during an interview on MSNBC that questioned whether President Obama is a Christian. Rev. Graham also seemed to imply that the President may be a Muslim, despite the fact that the President has repeatedly expressed his faith and belief in Jesus Christ. By his statements, Rev. Graham seems to be aligning himself with those who use faith as a weapon of political division. These kinds of comments could have enormous negative effects for America and are especially harmful to the Christian witness.
The letter goes on:
We are also concerned that Rev. Graham’s comments can be used to encourage racism. We urge him to be mindful of the unprecedented verbal attacks on President Obama based on his race and be careful not to allow his own voice to be used to help drive such hateful words.
Graham’s remarks last week on Morning Joe weren’t the first time he questioned the president’s religion, or injected racially-charged innuendo into his remarks. He has on other occasions said that Islam is an “evil and wicked religion,” which prompted a cancellation of the Pentagon National Day of Prayer event in 2010, generating even more polemic about Obama’s supposedly insufficient Christian-ness. At that time, Graham not only dug his heels in on Islam, but told USA Today that Obama only listened to black religious figures: “Obama pays attention only to black charismatic and Pentecostal pastors, such as his spiritual adviser, Joshua Dubois.”
Even being questioned by fellow evangelicals has no impact on Graham. He has asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government and has dabbled in birtherism. Obama tried very hard to gain Graham’s support in 2008, inviting him to a meeting of pastors at which Graham reportedly quizzed him about whether he believed Jesus was the only path to salvation. “Jesus is the only way for me. I’m not in a position to judge other people,” was reportedly Obama’s reply.
Graham has devolved into nothing more than a conspiracy theorist. I’m sure he’ll be on TV again and again before the election, though. Ratings!