(Photo: Reuters / Allison Shelley)
The White House responded Monday to Franklin Graham’s adverse remarks about President Obama, calling the birther charges “preposterous.”
“I think it’s unfortunate that a religious leader would choose Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney to reporters when asked about Graham’s seeming support for the birther claim.
Graham, the president/CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, boosted the credibility of the birther claim – alleging that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is not eligible to be president of the United States – when he told ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour that he doesn’t know why Obama cannot simply produce his birth certificate and end the controversy.
“I was born in a hospital in Ashville, N.C., and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born,” said Graham on “This Week.”
“I don’t know why he can’t produce that.”
The eldest son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who was often affectionately called the pastor to presidents, also seemed to question Obama’s definition of Christian when he was asked if he believes Obama is a Christian or Muslim. Graham said that Obama has told him he is a Christian, but the evangelical leader said the debate is how does Obama define Christian.
“For him, going to church means he’s a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith, and we have trusted him as our Lord and Savior,” said the BGEA president. “That’s the definition of a Christian; it’s not as to what church you’re a member of. A membership doesn’t make you a Christian.”
Later on the same ABC program, Dr. Richard Land, the public policy spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, denounced those who believe Obama is a secret Muslim.
“I think they’re irrational, and a little imbalanced,” said Land during the roundtable portion of “This Week.” “I have no doubt whatsoever that Barack Obama is a very typical 21st century mainline Protestant. He comes, he was converted to the Christian faith as he says by Reverend Wright.”
Land added, “I say the idea that he wasn’t born in Hawaii, and the idea that he’s a Muslim is just flat nuts.”
The prominent Christian leaders were part of an Easter special on ABC’s “This Week” where they discussed issues related to God and government.