A Gospel Greater Than Political Cynicism: A Defense of Billy Graham

From Political Jesus,

The Bible Says Respect and Honor our elders, not Manipulate Them,

“My concern is that here’s how things like this continue to work: Franklin Graham (or Franklin and his sister Anne Graham Lotz) have an agenda (in all three of these cases, “traditional marriage”), they get a BGEA copywriter to draft the text, then a BGEA graphic designer does the layout (in the case of the ad), Franklin approves the copy and/or design, then Franklin drives out to Little Piney Cove (Billy’s cabin home outside of Asheville, N.C.) and holds the piece of paper in front of Billy and asks, “Daddy, can we publish this?” And Billy nods (or whatever he’s capable of doing at this point in his life), and Franklin goes back and publishes this stuff with his good father’s name all over it.”- Steve Knight

There’s a scene in Disney’s 1992 animated film Aladdin where Jafar, antagonist’s pet parrot, Iago, mimics Princess Jasmine, with her own words, “I have the power to get rid of you.” Of course, this is a foreshadowing of Jafar and Iago holding Jasmine captive after *SPOILER ALERT!* Jafar becomes sultan through magical means.

I think what is interesting in these contrasting scenes is the idea of whoever has the power, they have the ability to determine who is speaking and what constitutes speaking, a premise that Gayatri Spivak discussed at length in a famous essay. The news of Billy Graham‘s re-politicization has come somewhat as a surprise. As both a political science major who was fascinated with Richard Nixon’s rise (and fall) to power, as well as a Baptist who has some personal admiration for Graham for his effort to racially integrate his crusades, I have my serious doubts about this new turn of events for a few reasons that I wish to briefly mention here.

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4 comments on “A Gospel Greater Than Political Cynicism: A Defense of Billy Graham

  1. Amen. Finally someone has put in words what many of us were thinking since this story broke. Unfortunately, many others who should have known better were quick to indict Rev. Graham without as much as a second thought.

    When we lose the ability or desire to give basic respect and honor to our elder statesmen within the body of Christ, we get a cold, hard look at how spiritually bankrupt many in the church today have become .

    JD Ellis

    • I agree JD, amen..

      Bene, from Bene Diction Blogs On, brought up this as a possibility in the comment he left, and i thought he made an excellent point. I hope he stops by soon and sees this post.

      If Franklin Graham, who now heads up the Billy Graham ministry, has used his father’s name in order to make the various political statements which have come out the past week, he should be ashamed.

  2. It is nevertheless an indication that the ministry Billy Graham built is not going to survive in the wake of his passing. Although I remember him being involved with MANY politicians, I can NEVER remember him endorsing ANY of them previously (that may be poor memory on my part, but that is the way I remember things) and I ALWAYS greatly admired him on that issue. He interacted with politics, but he knew where to draw the line. So this move was VERY out of character for him. It is not surprising that he was likely coerced into it by someone. AND coerced into removing the cult information from the ministry web site. So sad.

    • It is nevertheless an indication that the ministry Billy Graham built is not going to survive in the wake of his passing.

      George, i don’t believe it will either. At least not by the same Spirit Billy Graham led it. I find that to be terribly sad. It looks to end up like so many other ministries: a right wing “Christian” political organization. I don’t understand how the fruit could fall sooo far from the tree, in the case of Franklin Graham.

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