Several faith leaders involved in the NAACP’s Religious Roundtable have released a letter that speaks out against Evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham after his recent comments on a television news show that questioned President Obama’s Christian faith.
Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham and current CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Feb. 21.
After being asked whether he believes Obama is a Christian, Graham responded,” I cannot answer that question for anybody,” adding, “Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, great grandfather was a Muslim and so under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim.”
Shortly thereafter, the NACCP’s Religious Roundtable, which includes the presidents of the National Baptist Convention USA, The National Baptist Convention of America and several other leaders drafted a letter that called for Graham to “refrain from using Christianity 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 stated. “His statements seem to appeal to some of the worst racist behavior we have seen in recent times in our nation.”
The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, the NAACP’s vice president of Stakeholder Relations also blasted Graham’s comments in a statement.
“The notion that President Obama is deceiving America about his faith is a serious allegation,” Rivers stated. “It is particularly disappointing to see this sort of ugly public disparagement coming from a Christian leader as prominent as Rev. Graham.”
In the letter, the religious leaders also call on Graham and other Christian leaders to refrain from using Christianity as a weapon of political division.
On Feb. 28, the Religion News Service reported that Graham had apologized for his comments.
“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.”