Bob Jones III, on Obama, Asks ‘Where Is the Evidence That He Is a Christian?’

(Bob Jones University/AP Photo)

In an interview with National Journal, Bob Jones III — chancellor of the fundamentalist Christian university with the same name — offers a wide-ranging interview on the GOP field and questions President Obama’s Christian credentials.

“I have a great distrust for him,” Jones said of the president. “I’ve no reason to think he’s a Christian. … Anyone can say he’s a Christian. Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be. I say, ‘Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?’ ”

The Obama campaign declined to comment, but when the president’s Christianity was questioned last year by conservative commentator Glenn Beck and polls indicated a growing percentage of Americans unsure of the president’s faith, then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, “The president is a committed, mainstream Christian.”

In 2008, then-Sen. Obama participated in a candidates’ forum at Saddleback Church, where pastor Rick Warren said to him, “You’ve made no doubts about your faith in Jesus Christ. What does that mean to you? What does it mean to you to trust in Christ? And what does that mean to you on a daily basis? What does that really look like?”

“As a starting point, it means I believe in — that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that I am redeemed through him,” Obama said. “That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis. Yes, I know that I don’t walk alone. And I know that if I can get myself out of the way, that I can maybe carry out in some small way what he intends. And it means that those sins that I have on a fairly regular basis, hopefully will be washed away.

“But what it also means, I think, is a sense of obligation to embrace not just words, but through deeds, the expectations, I think, that God has for us,” he continued. “And that means thinking about the least of these. It means acting — well, acting justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. And that — I think trying to apply those lessons on a daily basis, knowing that you’re going to fall a little bit short each day, and then being able to kind of take note and saying, well, that didn’t quite work out the way I think it should have, but maybe I can get a little bit better. It gives me the confidence to try things, including things like running for president, where you’re going to screw up once in a while.”

At an fundraising event in September in Los Angeles, a heckler interrupted the president, yelling, “Jesus Christ is God! … The Christian God is the one and only true living God.” As he was removed from the room, the heckler yelled, “Barack Obama is the Antichrist!”

The president responded, “First of all, I agree Jesus Christ is the Lord. I believe in that.”

In the interview, Jones also weighs in on the GOP field, making some disparaging remarks about Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Jones endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008 but so far hasn’t announced backing for anyone.

– Jake Tapper