Updated Wednesday at 10:25 a.m. ET: Here is the full statement from Franklin Graham apologizing for remarks he made questioning the faith of President Barack Obama:
I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama. The president has said he is a Christian and I accept that (and have said so publicly on many occasions). 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.
The Rev. Franklin Graham joins Morning Joe to discuss if the president is or is not a Christian.
In fact, Article VI of our Constitution strictly prohibits any religious test for public office. I believe we should consider a candidate’s values and competence above anything else when considering whom to support for public office. I even reject the idea that we should only vote for a candidate of our own particular faith, for oftentimes that is not an available option.
My objection to President Obama is built on his policy positions on a number of important moral issues, and not on his religion or faith. For example, I believe his positions on abortion and on traditional marriage are in direct conflict with God’s standards as set forth in Scripture. I have determined I cannot and will not vote for him or any candidate in either party whose policy positions on such critical issues violate biblical truths and standards.
My views here are not biased according to political party or religion. For example, I would support a pro-life Democrat over a pro-choice Republican at any level. I would support a Mormon or a Jew who supported the defense of marriage defined as being between a man and a woman over a Southern Baptist or Presbyterian who did not.
In this election season and challenging economic time I am praying for our country and for those who lead it—for we are commanded in Scripture to do so. I am also praying that our nation will return to the God of our fathers and will look to His Son, Jesus Christ as the only real answer to life’s problems and hurts.
Previous story: The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, on Tuesday apologized to President Barack Obama for questioning his Christian faith, Religion News Service reported.
"I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama," Graham said in a statement, according to Religion News Service.
"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, a prominent evangelical leader in his own right and CEO of the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, had taken heat from black religious leaders and others for saying he did not know whether Obama is a Christian.
On a panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show on Feb. 21, Graham was asked if he believes Obama is a Christian.
“I think you have to ask President Obama,” Graham responded.
“You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is that I’m a sinner, and that God has forgiven me of my sins because I’ve put my faith in … Jesus Christ," Graham said.
He added that because Obama's father was a Muslim, "under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim." And he said that he was confident that Republican Rick Santorum is a Christian.
The NAACP accused Graham of trying to “use faith as a political weapon.”
“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,” the NAACP said. “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."
You can read the full Religion News Service story here. And our previous story on Graham's comments on Obama is here.
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