Billy Graham and the Rise of the Religious Right (revised)
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Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 03:04:41 PM EST
Christianity Today recently interviewed Billy Graham and asked him, "If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?"  Graham responded:

I also would have steered clear of politics. I'm grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn't do that now.

Few people realize the significant role that Graham has played in the rise of the Religious Right in America.
Graham was instrumental in creating the Christian Right as a political force while, at the same time, distancing himself from it publicly.  He was a participant in meetings where the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention was organized as a means to influence secular politics. In 1985, Graham sent a telegram to Charles Stanley endorsing his re-election as President of the SBC in the most contested election during the fundamentalist takeover the denomination.    Most revealing, as he had done in the takeover of the SBC, he could be counted on to lend support to the Religious Right candidate in a tight political election:


Two days before the 2000 election, Graham went a step further and declared his support for a Bush victory.  The setting for what can only be called Graham's endorsement of Bush was Jacksonville, Florida, located in a state where the evangelist was wrapping up a three-day crusade and where Bush had staked his electoral prospects. . . . On Sunday, November 5, Graham met with George and Laura Bush for a private prayer breakfast.  The gathering took place after Bush had attended a worship service with prominent Florida evangelicals and before he commenced a whirlwind final tour of the state.  Jeb Bush made sure to mention the breakfast on the Sunday morning news show Face the Nation. . . . After the prayer meeting, Graham (accompanied by his son, Franklin) posed with the Bushes for photographs and talked with reporters.  "I don't endorse candidates.  But I've come as close to it, I guess, now as any time in my life, because I think it is extremely important," said the aging evangelist. . . . "I believe in the integrity of this man," Graham told reporters, insinuating that he had cast his absentee ballot for the Republican candidate.  "I'll just let you guess who I voted for," he added, making sure (as he had during the Nixon years) to reiterate his status as a registered Democrat.

[Stephen P. Miller, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), pp. 215-216.]

This entry is cross-posted from the Mainstream Baptist weblog.



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I don't think he'd have done anything differently! Such only confirms he's nothing but a liar and propogandist of the worst proportions. As for avoiding politics, what's his intervening with his foundation & stalling for months until he secured his besotted son Franklin as its President? And he also retained his private Samaratan's Purse bunch to keep his censorship by the State Department going?

Billy never gave any indication that he was a bible-thumping literalist with extreme anti-intellectual moorings. Before he sided with the "El Bastardo" bunch in takeover of the SBC, his church membership, although symbolic, with the FBC in Dallas spoke volumes. For one who enabled the far-right from earliest to latest events, don't you believe he ever had a second thought. Bah-humbug to this huckster.

by achbird65 on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 10:47:49 AM EST



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