NAACP Religious Roundtable Decries Attack on President’s Faith as “Weapon of Political Division”
(Washington, DC) — Today, faith leaders including the Presidents of the National Baptist Convention USA, the National Baptist Convention of America, and the Progressive National Baptist Convention published an open letter condemning recent comments by Rev. Franklin Graham that call into question the Christian faith of President Obama. “These kinds of comments,” the letter says, “could have enormous negative effects for America and are especially harmful to the Christian witness.”
The open letter can be read at http://www.naacp.org/news/entry/naacp-faith-leaders-speak-out-on-rev.-franklin-graham
The faith leaders, all members of the NAACP’s religious roundtable, call on Rev. Graham to “refrain from using Christianity as a weapon of political division.”
Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham and the current CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, publicly questioned President Obama’s Christianity on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” last Tuesday. When asked whether he believes that President Obama is a Christian, Rev. Graham responded “I cannot answer that question for anybody,” before saying that “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.” He followed up saying that “Under President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems more concerned about them than the Christians being murdered in the Muslim countries.” Graham’s full remarks can be viewed here http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/21/10466877-rev-graham-obama-seen-as-son-of-islam
“The notion that President Obama is deceiving America about his faith is a serious allegation,” said Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, NAACP Vice President of Stakeholder Relations. “It is particularly disappointing to see this sort of ugly public disparagement coming from a Christian leader as prominent as Rev. Graham.”
The religious leaders also expressed concern that the Rev. Graham’s comments play into racial mistrust of President Obama. “His statements seem to appeal to some of the worst racist behavior we have seen in recent times in our nation,” the letter reads.
The letter calls on Rev. Graham “and all Christian leaders to exemplify this essential teaching of Jesus and refrain from using Christianity as a weapon of political division.” It was signed by Dr. Carroll Baltimore, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; Dr. Dale Braxton, President, National Convocation of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ; Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop, AME Church; Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow, Chairperson, Black Methodist for Church Renewal; Dr. Julius Scruggs, President, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.; Dr. Stephen Thurston, President, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; Bishop George W. C. Walker, Senior Bishop, AME Zion Church; Bishop Henry Williamson, Eighth Episcopal District CME Church; Dr. Amos C. Brown, Chair, NAACP Religious Affairs Committee; Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Member of NAACP Religious Affairs Committee and Pastor Friendship West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX; Bishop Roy A. Holmes, Member of NAACP Religious Affairs Committee and Midwest Episcopal District, AME Zion Church; Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; Rev. Julius C. Hope, Director, NAACP Religious Affairs Department; and Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III, Vice President, NAACP Stakeholder Relations.