Evangelical Franklin Graham questions faith of Obama, Romney

Evangelical minister Franklin Graham — son of famed evangelist Billy Graham — said he "can not answer" whether President Obama is a Christian and that most Christians would "not recognize Mormonism" during an appearance Tuesday morning on MSNBC. But Graham said he was confident that Rick Santorum was a Christian because of his stance on "moral issues."

Obama's faith has been in the news of late after Santorum suggested on the campaign trail Saturday that the president did not hold Christian values because of his environmental agenda.


Graham was asked by the "Morning Joe" panel whether he believed the president was a Christian. He responded with doubts about Obama's faith.

"I think people have to ask Barack Obama. He's come out saying he's a Christian, so I think the question is, 'What is a Christian?' " Graham said.

Graham then said that Obama told him that he joined his church while doing community work on the South Side of Chicago because members of the community had told him it was a necessary part of doing his job.

Later in the segment, Graham also said he could not definitely say Obama was not a Muslim.

"All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries," he said.

"Under Islamic law — Sharia law — Islam sees him as a son of Islam. Because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim ... that's just the way it works … that's the way they see it," Graham said.

The minister also said "Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama."

Graham made headlines last year when he suggested in an interview that Obama was not born in the United States and was born Muslim, but later said he did believe the president to be a Christian. 

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed Graham's comments as irrelevant to the national political discourse, emphasizing that the president has spoken about his Christian faith "explicitly as recently as a few weeks ago in the National Prayer Service."

Of Mormonism — Republican front-runner Mitt Romney's faith — Graham said most Christians would "not recognize Mormonism" as part of Christianity.

"Of course, they believe in Jesus Christ. But they believe in a lot of other things, too, that we don't accept," Graham said. "He [Romney] would be a good president if he got the nomination."

But asked if Santorum was a Christian, Graham answered affirmatively.

"I think so … because his values are so clear on moral issues," Graham said.

Graham also said that despite Newt Gingrich's multiple marriages, he felt that he was a Christian.

"I think Newt is a Christian. At least he told me he is," Graham said.