Rev. Franklin Graham apologizes for suggesting Obama is not a Christian

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The Rev. Franklin Graham has apologized for controversial remarks he made in an interview on MSNBC last week, in which he questioned the sincerity of President Obama’s faith.

A group of faith leaders, organized by the NAACP, sent an open letter this week to Graham, criticizing him for his comments, as first reported by Religion News Service. Graham, son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, released a statement Tuesday in response, saying, “I regret any comments I have ever made which may cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama.”

“The president has said he is a Christian and I accept that,” he said in the statement, “I apologize to him and to any I have offended by 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.”

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In the interview, which had drawn criticism from Democrats, and even some Republicans, Graham repeatedly refused to say whether Obama is a Christian when pressed by other guests on the show Morning Joe. He expressed confidence in the faiths of former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, two of the leading Republican presidential candidates.

But when asked about Mitt Romney, he said he believes that most Christians do not view Mormoms as sharing their faith.

Graham also said of Obama that “he seems more concerned about them (Muslims) than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries.”

The NAACP letter was signed by 14 religious leaders, including Dr. Stephen Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America.

“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 leaders wrote in the letter.

Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr