ABC's Bianna Golodryga Knocks Franklin Graham for 'Adding to the Confusion' Over Obama's Religion
[Updated] Good Morning America co-host Bianna Golodryga on Saturday chided the Reverend Franklin Graham, complaining that "one of the country's leading evangelicals is adding to the confusion" over Barack Obama's religion.
Reporter Jake Tapper then played a clip of Graham being interviewed on CNN: "He was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father. He's renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ."
Yet, the New York Times struck a very similar tone in a May 12, 2008 op-ed. Contributor Edward Luttwak wrote, "As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant."
Both the Times and Graham went on to point out that Obama has embraced Christianity.
During his report, Tapper repeated Democratic claims as to who is responsible for some Americans believing the President to be a Muslim: "Those reports, Democrats say, have combined with Muslim roots on the President's father's side, an exotic name and political enemies emphasizing his otherness."
The apparent proof of this was then seen in a clip for Fox and Friends' Steve Doocy: "The first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father, as a Muslim, and was educated in a Madrassa!"
While Good Morning America and other programs have highlighted Graham's comments, none have mentioned the August 2, 2008 edition of 60 Minutes.
On that show, then-candidate Hillary Clinton coyly exclaimed that Obama isn't a secret Muslim, "as far as I know":
STEVE KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?
Sen. CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that's--you know, there is not basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.
KROFT: And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.
Sen. CLINTON: Right. Right.
KROFT: You don't believe that he's a Muslim or implying? Right.
Sen. CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.
A transcript of the August 21 segment, which aired at 7:09am EDT, follows:
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: To politics now and the continuing confusion over the President's religion. President Obama is vacationing in Martha's Vineyard. But across the country, many Americans still believe incorrectly that he is a Muslim. Now, one of the country's leading evangelicals is adding to the confusion. Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper is with the President on Martha's Vineyard and joins us with more. Jake, this is an issue that continues to haunt the President.
JAKE TAPPER: That's right, Bianna. Not only is the number of Americans who mistakenly believe the President to be a Muslim growing. Now, almost half the American people say they don't know what religion the President is. This week, the Reverend Franklin Graham told CNN he knew why there was so much apparent confusion about what religion the President is.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM: He was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father. He's renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ.
TAPPER: The President says he has always been a Christian, but the White House has chosen not to make too big a deal out of the confusion.
BILL BURTON (White House Deputy Press Secretary): You know, the President is a committed Christian. I think that the American people know that.
TAPPER: But that's not true. Untrue rumors that he's a Muslim continue to resonate with the public. With a new Time/CNN poll indicating that almost one in four Americans think, wrongly, that he is a Muslim. And nearly half of the public in a Pew poll says they're not sure what religion the President is. Mr. Obama has made a great effort to discuss his Christian beliefs, as he did on Easter.
BARACK OBAMA: What I can do is tell you what draws me to this holy day. What lesson I take from Christ's sacrifice and what inspires me about the story of the resurrection.
TAPPER: Democrats blame widely-circulated conspiratorial e-mails and false reports in the media.
[Clip from Fox and Friends.]
STEVE DOOCY: The first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father, as a Muslim, and was educated in a Madrassa!
TAPPER: Those reports, Democrats say, have combined with Muslim roots on the President's father's side, an exotic name and political enemies emphasizing his otherness. And, Bob and Bianna, political observers say that the confusion has been compounded with the fact that President Obama has yet to pick a congregation in Washington, D.C. with whom to pray. The White house says that's because the President doesn't want to inconvenience other parishioners by bringing added security and, of course, the likes of us in the media. Back to you in New York.
WOODRUFF: It's amazing this is still going on.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah. You can't recall any other president that had this issue of what religion they were follow them for so many years.
WOODRUFF: For all these years. Unbelievable.