CNN reported yesterday that Franklin Graham, prominent evangelist and son of Billy Graham, spoke with a correspondent about the confusion swirling throughout the country on the status of President Barack Obama’s faith. When asked if he doubted Obama’s professed Christianity, Graham affirmed that the president was born into a Muslim family, but it was now “obvious” that Obama has renounced Islam and has become a Christian: “It’s what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.”
A new poll by the Pew Forum says nearly 20% of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, but the White House issued a statement this week affirming the president’s commitment to the Christian faith. “The president’s Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on every day.” A story in The Christian Post this morning reported that evangelical Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Florida, affirmed Obama’s Christian belief, saying, “Those of us who’ve spent time with him and have had a part of forming his spiritual life can testify with certainty of his commitment to Christ.” Pastor Hunter warned Americans against simply “buying into the strongest voice” concerning the president’s faith.
The controversy prompted USA Today to pose the question this morning, “Who, exactly, is a Christian? Or Christian enough? Or the right variation of Christian?” The report quoted a different Pew survey stating that most Americans think they are believers, but their actual practices do not always match their profession.