Billy Graham: An Old Soldier Fades Away

Evangelist Billy Graham, who counseled presidents and stirred controversy with inflammatory statements on gay rights, opposition to Martin Luther King’s tactics of civil disobedience, and support for U.S. wars, died Wednesday. Cecil Bothwell reflects here on his life and legacy.

By Cecil Bothwell

“We are selling the greatest product on earth. Why shouldn’t we promote it as effectively as we promote a bar of soap?” – Billy Graham, Saturday Evening Post, 1963 

Billy Graham with Nancy and Ronald Reagan

Billy Graham was a preacher man equally intent on saving souls and soliciting financial support for his ministry. His success at the former is not subject to proof and his success at the latter is unrivaled. He preached to millions on every ice-free continent and led many to his chosen messiah.

When Graham succumbed to various ailments this week at the age of 99 he left behind an organization that is said to have touched more people than any other Christian ministry in history, with property, assets and a name-brand worth hundreds of millions. The address lists of contributors alone comprise a mother lode for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, now headed by his son and namesake, William Franklin Graham, III.

Graham also left behind a United States government in which religion plays a far greater role than before he intruded into politics in the 1950s. The shift from secular governance to “In God We Trust” can be laid squarely at this minister’s feet.

Graham’s message was principally one of fear: fear of a wrathful god; fear of temptation; fear of communists and socialists; fear of unions; fear of Catholics; fear of homosexuals; fear of racial integration and above all, fear of death. But as a balm for such fears, he promised listeners eternal life, which he said was readily claimed through acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s savior.

Furthermore, he assured listeners that God loved us so much that He created governments, the most blessed form being Western capitalist democracy. To make this point, he frequently quoted Romans 13, particularly the first two verses. In the New American Standard Version of the Bible, they read, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

The question of whether this was actually the recorded word of God or a rider inserted into the bill by Roman senators with rather more worldly aims never dimmed Graham’s insistence that all governments are the work of the Almighty. Almost perversely, he even endorsed the arrest of a woman who lofted a Christian banner during his Reagan-era visit to Moscow, opting for the crack-down of “divine” authority over the civil disobedience of a believer.

Governments, he reminded his Moscow listeners, do God’s work.

Based on that Biblical mandate for all governments, Graham stood in solid opposition to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, all but addressed to Graham, King noted, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’ … If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s anti-religious laws.”

Finger on the Pulse of American Fear

Fear is the stock in trade of most evangelists, of course, comprising the necessary setup before the pitch. As historian William Martin explained in his 1991 account of Graham’s early sermons, “even those whose personal lives seemed rich and fulfilling must live in a world filled with terror and threat. As a direct result of sinful humanity’s rebellion against God, our streets have become jungles of terror, mugging, rape, and death. Confusion reigns on campuses as never before. Political leaders live in constant fear of the assassin’s bullet. Racial tension seems certain to unleash titanic forces of hatred and violence. Communism threatens to eradicate freedom from the face of the earth. Small nations are getting the bomb, so that global war seems inevitable. High-speed objects, apparently guided by an unknown intelligence, are coming into our atmosphere for reasons no one understands. Clearly, all signs point to the end of the present world order. …

“Graham’s basic mode of preaching in these early years was assault. … Then, when he had his listeners mentally crouching in terror, aware that all the attractively labeled escape routes—alcohol, sexual indulgence, riches, psychiatry, education, social-welfare programs, increased military might, the United Nations—led ultimately to dead ends, he held out the only compass that pointed reliably to the straight and narrow path that leads to personal happiness and lasting peace.”

Columnist and former priest James Carroll had much the same take, noting that “Graham had his finger on the pulse of American fear, and in subsequent years, anti communism occupied the nation’s soul as an avowedly religious obsession. The Red Scare at home, unabashed moves toward empire abroad, the phrase ‘under God’ inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, the scapegoating of homosexuals as ‘security risks,’ an insane accumulation of nuclear weapons, suicidal wars against postcolonial insurgencies in Asia—a set of desperate choices indeed. Through it all, Billy Graham was the high priest of the American crusade, which is why U.S. presidents uniformly sought his blessing.”

While Carroll had most of that right, the record suggests that, over and over again, it was Graham who sought presidential blessing, rather than the other way around. Letters enshrined in the presidential and Graham libraries reveal a preacher endlessly seeking official audience. As Truman said, years after his presidency, “Well, I hadn’t ought to say this, but he’s one of those counterfeits I was telling you about. He claims he’s a friend of all the presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was president.”

Of course, politicians have often brandished fear as well, and the twin streams of fear-based politics and fear-based religion couldn’t have been more confluent. Communist infiltrators, missile gaps and the domino effect each took their turn, as did the Evil Empire and, more recently, Saddam, Osama bin Laden and an amorphous threat of global terrorism.

In light of the Biblical endorsement of rulers, Graham supported police repression of Vietnam war protesters and civil rights marchers, opposed Martin Luther King’s tactic of civil disobedience, supported South American despots, and publicly supported every war or intervention waged by the United States from Korea forward.

A Pro-War Christian

Born on a prosperous dairy farm and educated at Wheaton College, Graham first gained national attention in 1949 when the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, searching for a spiritual icon to spread his anti-communist sentiments, discovered the young preacher holding forth at a Los Angeles tent meeting. Hearst wired his editors across the nation, “puff Graham,” and he was an instant sensation.

Hearst next contacted his friend and fellow publisher Henry Luce. Their Wall Street ally, Bernard Baruch, arranged a meeting between Luce and Graham while the preacher was staying with the segregationist Governor Strom Thurmond in the official mansion in Columbia, South Carolina, Luce concurred with Hearst about Graham’s marketability and Time and Life were enlisted in the job of selling the soap of salvation to the world. Time, alone, has run more than 600 stories about Graham.

The man who would become known as “the minister to presidents” offered his first military advice in 1950. On June 25, North Korean troops invaded South Korea and Graham sent Truman a telegram. “MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS PRAYING GOD GIVE YOU WISDOM IN THIS CRISIS. STRONGLY URGE SHOWDOWN WITH COMMUNISM NOW. MORE CHRISTIANS IN SOUTHERN KOREA PER CAPITA THAN ANY PART OF WORLD. WE CANNOT LET THEM DOWN.”

It was the first time Graham encouraged a president to go to war, and with characteristic hyperbole: Korea has never topped the list of Christian-leaning nations. Subsequently, Graham gave his blessing to every conflict under every president from Truman to the second Bush, and most of the presidents, pleased to enjoy public assurance of God’s approval, made him welcome in the White House.

Graham excoriated Truman for firing General Douglas MacArthur and supported the general’s plan to invade China. He went so far as to urge Nixon to bomb dikes in Vietnam – knowing that it would kill upward of a million civilians – and he claimed to have sat on the sofa next to G.H.W. Bush as the bombs began falling in the first Gulf War (though Bush’s diary version of the evening somehow excludes Graham, as does a White House video of Bush during the attack).

According to Bush’s account, in a phone call the preceding week, Graham quoted poetry that compared the President to a messiah destined to save the world, and in the next breath called Saddam the Antichrist. Bush wrote that Graham suggested it was his historical mission to destroy Saddam.

Through the years, Graham’s politics earned him some strange bedfellows. He praised Senator Joseph McCarthy and supported his assault on Constitutional rights, then scolded the Senate for censuring McCarthy for his excesses. He befriended oil men and arms manufacturers. He defended Nixon after Watergate, right up to the disgraced president’s resignation, and faced public scorn when tapes were aired that exposed the foul-mouthed President as a schemer and plotter.

Nixon’s chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, reported on Graham’s denigration of Jews in his posthumously published diary—a claim Graham vehemently denied until released tapes undid him in 2002. Caught with his prejudicial pants down, Graham claimed ignorance of the hour-and-a-half long conversation in which he led the anti-Semitic attack.

As reported by the Associated Press on March 2, 2002:

“Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon . . . some 30 years ago,” Graham said in a statement released by his Texas public relations firm. “They do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks.”

Whether or not the comments reflect Graham’s views at the time or thirty years later, it is his defense that bears much closer scrutiny. What were we to make of a preacher who insisted that his words didn’t reflect his beliefs? Were we to believe him then or later, on other matters?

Graham was a political operative, reporting to Kennedy on purported communist insurgencies in Latin America, turning over lists of activist Christians to the Republican party, conferring regularly with J. Edgar Hoover and networking with the CIA in South America and Vietnam. He was even assigned by Nixon’s operatives to talk George Wallace out of a second run for the White House.

To accomplish the latter, he phoned Wallace as he was coming out of an anesthetic stupor after one of his numerous post-assassination-attempt surgeries. While the long suffering gunshot victim asked the minister to pray for him, the minister asked him not to make a third-party bid for the presidency. “I won’t do anything to help McGovern,” Wallace replied.

There are many who would argue that the good that Graham did outweighs whatever political intrigue he embraced, and even the several wars he enthusiastically endorsed. To the extent that bringing people to Christ is of benefit to them, an untestable hypothesis, he was successful with his calls to come forward. He accrued hundreds of millions of dollars which were used to extend his ministry and thereby bring more people to “be saved,” which is self-justifying but fails as evidence of goodness.

Billy Graham Freeway

If Christian beliefs about the hereafter prove correct, we will all presumably discover what good he accomplished, or what chance for salvation we missed, in the sweet by and by.

In talking to one of his biographers, Graham recalled his mood during his fire and brimstone declamations, “I would feel as though I had a sword, a rapier, in my hand, and I would be slashing deeper and deeper into the consciences of the people before me, cutting away straight to their very souls.”

In that regard, Graham’s largest and most lasting monument is a highway cut through Beaucatcher Mountain, blasted through a majestic land form that once bisected Asheville, North Carolina. He helped convince recalcitrant landowners to permit the excavation and construction through the cut of the short stretch of Interstate highway subsequently named the Billy Graham Freeway.

Downwind residents report that the weather has permanently shifted due to the gaping mountain maw and the future of the highway that transects the city continues to be one of the most divisive issues in that southern metropolis.

“Straight to their very souls,” indeed.

In every way, Graham was the spiritual father of today’s right-wing religious leaders who so inhabit the national conversation. If he cloaked his suasion in public neutrality it was the hallmark of an era in which such intrusion was deemed unseemly. If today’s practitioners are less abashed, it is in many ways reflective of the secure foundation Graham built within Republican and conservative circles.

Graham endorsed and courted Eisenhower and compared a militaristic State of the Union speech to the Sermon on the Mount, fanned anti-Catholic flames in the Nixon-Kennedy contest, backed Johnson and then Nixon in Vietnam, lobbied for arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the Reagan years, conveyed foreign threats and entreaties for Clinton and lent his imprimatur to G.W. Bush as he declared war on terrorism from the pulpit of the National Cathedral.

Billy Graham approved of warriors and war, weapons of mass destruction (in white, Christian hands) and covert operations. He publicly declaimed the righteousness of battle with enemies of American capitalism, abetted genocide in oil-rich Ecuador and surrounds and endorsed castration as punishment for rapists. A terrible swift sword for certain, and effective no doubt, but not much there in the way of turning the other cheek.

Graham will be cordially remembered by those who found solace in his golden promises and happy homilies, but the worldly blowback from his ministry is playing out in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chechnya and Korea, the Philippines and Colombia – everywhere governments threaten human rights and pie in the sky is offered in lieu of daily bread.

In the words of Graham’s ministerial and secular adversary, Dr. King, “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Farewell Reverend Graham. Let justice roll.

Prize-winning investigative reporter Cecil Bothwell is author of The Prince of War: Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire, (Brave Ulysses Books, 2007) and Whale Falls: An exploration of belief and its consequences (Brave Ulysses Books, 2010).

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101 comments for “Billy Graham: An Old Soldier Fades Away

  1. March 4, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I like this quote which has been attributed (apparently mistakenly) to Marcus Aurelius:

    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    http://threeshoutsonahilltop.blogspot.com/2011/06/marcus-aurelius-and-source-checking.html

    These seem to cover the possibilities, and seem to be very good advice about an attitude to take toward life and living which takes into account uncertainty regarding the reality of God (or of gods; here it does not make any difference whether singular or plural, or capital “G” or small “g”) and of life after this present life.

    Regarding the first possibility mentioned in the quote, I find it very interesting to note that in the accounts of life reviews that sometimes accompany near-death experiences (whatever they might actually indicate), as reported in books by Raymond A. Moody and elsewhere, the reviews focus on the deeds a person has done, the motives of the deeds, and the effects of the deeds on others. The person’s religion, religious beliefs, or theology do not matter at all. One of Moody’s books makes note of a former seminary student who reports that during his NDE he came to see what a stuck-up ass he had been with all his theology, and his looking down on anyone who wasn’t a member of his denomination or who didn’t subscribe to the theological beliefs that he did.

    Regarding the second possibility enumerated, I consider the God as believed in and preached by people like Billy Graham to definitely fall into the category of being unjust, and actually a wicked and arbitrary tyrant. This God sends people to hell for all eternity if they happen to miss their chance to “accept Jesus Christ” in this lifetime, for whatever reason, or if they happen to guess wrong either by being an atheist OR by adhering to a religion other than Christianity. And it would seem to follow that this God sends a murder victim to hell if the victim happens to be “unsaved”, i.e. has not “accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior”. However this God will let the murderer into heaven if the murderer later “repents” and “accepts Jesus Christ”.

    This is definitely NOT a God I want to worship or serve or evangelize on behalf of.

    And as I stated above, I consider myself to be a Deist, just on the believing side of agnostic, and at 3 on Dawkins’ scale of belief (1 = strong theist and 7 = strong atheist). And I take seriously the possibility that the near-death experiences we hear about might actually indicate a life after this present life (though I accept lack of complete certainty). I have problems with either being a Christian (or an adherent of any other “revealed” religion, such as Islam, Judaism, etc.) or with being an atheist.

  2. March 4, 2018 at 3:25 am

    If God, in the commonly understood sense of the word, and as believed in by Christians and other theists, is really real (important qualifier: IF), then our reasoning ability and our critical facilities are gifts given us by God.

    And if that is the case then using and exercising these gifts is much more honoring of God than is cringing servile fear of God as of a cosmic tyrant, or uncritical and unquestioning acceptance of any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as absolute truth, or of anything said by any preacher or alleged prophet or alleged spokesperson for God.

    I consider myself to be a Deist, and just on the believing side of agnostic. I would consider myself to be at 3 on Richard Dawkins’ scale of belief (where 1 = strong theist and 7 = strong atheist). I lean toward belief in a God or higher intelligence or a creator, but accept uncertainty.

    And the same is true regarding the matter of life after this present life. I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, but accept uncertainty. (I find interesting the reports of near-death experiences but have never had such an experience myself (and do not think it would be wise to wish for such an experience!), nor do I know of anybody I know personally having had such an experience.)

    While I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, I definitely do not believe that one’s eternal destiny is fixed at the moment of death, and a person is either eternally “saved” or else doomed to an eternity in hell when one passes from this life.

    Deists believe that God either exists or probably exists (accepting uncertainty), and emphasize the use of reason, and reject any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as actually being such, and I am fully with them about that. I like the motto used by the organization the World Union of Deists:

    God gave us reason, not religion.

    Here is an article on the World Union of Deists web site about Billy Graham:

    http://deism.com/billygraham.htm

    The article documents that Billy Graham came to accept the Bible “by faith” as the “Word of God”. By faith, meaning denying his God-given reason and common sense. And that Billy Graham rose to prominence by being initially promoted by Bernard Baruch, a powerful man who liked Billy Graham, and by later receiving almost exclusively positive press (i.e. free advertising) by the mainstream media.

  3. Armando Valenzuela
    March 1, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Where is the separation of church and state?
    It was created for this very reason!!

  4. February 28, 2018 at 6:36 am

    May he rot in hell with Nixon, the Dulles brothers, and others of their ilk who have done so much to denigrate and demean our country.

  5. Graeme Watt
    February 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I am a committed evangelical Christian and read your informative article on Billy Graham with appreciation. Thank you, Graeme Watt

  6. Patricia Victour
    February 27, 2018 at 10:43 am

    He was here about 99 years too long. Good riddance. He and Falwell can have a good ole time shoveling coal in hell. Makes me wish there was such a place.

  7. February 26, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Just saw today 2–26 that Graham will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda till March 1. Then, might he be enshrined as Lenin was in the old Soviet Union?

  8. dltravers
    February 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Had it been Jesus instead of Billy Graham he would have excoriated the fellows he hung around with. In like manner they would have executed him. Jesus was a revolutionary towards the religious elite but no Zealot when it came to the Romans. The Jews wanted a messiah that was going to kick some Roman asses not heal the sick, cast out demons and preach the good news.

    Christians are deeply flawed individuals seeking healing through repentance. In Billy Graham’s case I have not been sure about his motivations in preaching the gospel. I do think that he was a useful deep state tool to help hold an important wing of the deep state’s power base together for that era. He ended his life straying far from his original biblical principals.

  9. johnnieandroidseed
    February 25, 2018 at 1:59 am

    There are times when I regret that I am a lifelong atheist and this is one of those time. I would love to be able to believe that Billy Graham is burning in hell for eternity for his crimes against humanity and not just molding in the ground.

  10. February 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Billy Graham has always preached a God with a character like that of Adolf Hitler. I.e. Billy Graham has always preached a God who sends people to burn for an eternity in hell if, for whatever reason, they do not come to “accept Jesus Christ” in this present life, or if they happen to guess wrong by adhering to a religion other than Christianity. He believed that because that is what the Bible says, and the Bible (as he believed) is the “Word of God” and absolute truth, and not to be questioned.

    Billy Graham worshiped power and absolute authority. He did not question that it is God’s privilege and prerogative to send people to burn in hell for all eternity. That being the case it is not surprising that he sucked up to people in power and authority, like Nixon. (He would give lip service to the idea that leaders and those in positions of power and authority were sinners and under the judgment of God just like the rest of us, but when the chips were down he would suck up to them and not challenge or question them or what they were doing.)

    Believing in the kind of God he believed in, it is not surprising that he would be a supporter of war, supposedly as an instrument of God’s judgment that we, as a “Christian nation”, were delivering to “heathen” nations. The Bible itself has the ancient Israelites slaughtering their “heathen” neighbors, often allegedly at the command of God (really as commanded by the Hebrew clergy, like Moses and Joshua).

    I myself did once “accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior”. However even if I myself might have been “saved”, I was never able to accept having the terrible thought in the back of my mind that OTHERS are going to hell if they do not come to “accept Jesus Christ” in this present life. And I could not accept the duty and obligation to tell others or “witness” to others about Jesus Christ with that thought in the back of my mind and motivated by that concern. (Billy Graham preached that duty and obligation if one was a Christian. I remember one Billy Graham program where George Beverly Shea was singing about people who are perishing because there is nobody to tell them about Jesus, because some Christians have time for other things but no time for Jesus.)

    I don’t see how one can get any joy or enjoyment out of life, or relate in a natural and healthy way with other people, if one is burdened by the awful thought that others might be going to hell.

    I particularly came to be bothered by the idea of an “unsaved” murder victim going to hell, while if the murderer later comes to “repent” and “accept Jesus Christ” (which chance the victim was denied) the murderer is let into heaven.

    I am no longer a Christian. I came to feel, after a period of a little over 15 years of considering myself a Christian, that my being a Christian, and supposedly having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, had not ever been of help to me in enabling me to deal with some very painful and distressing circumstances in my life, or with anything that was a source of personal distress and frustration for me.

    I felt that Christianity had imposed on me “should’s”, “supposed to’s”, “ought to’s”, duties, and obligations but had never been of help to me. I am happy about having parted company with the Christian faith, and am as certain as I am of anything that doing so was the right and healthy thing for me to do. I am particularly happy about having absolved myself of any duties and obligations specifically imposed by the Christian faith (as opposed to those incumbent on any good or moral person).

    Good riddance to Billy Graham. I despise him, and I really don’t care what of anything good he might have done in his life, or whether he was completely honest and above board or otherwise in his personal and business dealings.

    I have sometimes heard it said that Billy Graham was a humble man. He was humble exactly like a German Nazi official, totally subservient and loyal to the Fuehrer, was humble. Billy Graham dared not question the Bible or offend the God of the Bible, and the German official dared not question or offend Hitler.

  11. HpO
    February 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Lessons learned here are a keeper from Cecil Bothwell, “Billy Graham: An Old Soldier Fades Away”, Consortium News, February 21, 2018. Thank you. It sets the record straight for me & fellow born-again Christian brothers & sisters, on our born-again Christian brother Billy Graham, when everyone else is lying about him deliberately or otherwise. At the end of the day, Judgment Day, that is, may God & Jesus judge him, as They do all of us likewise.

  12. Fran Macadam
    February 24, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Another hatchet job on Christians. If you think abolishing Christianity will make a kinder gentler America, open your eyes and watch as the opposite is happening. While I agree with Bob Parry’s efforts to practice even handed and objective journalism, there is zero chance to change America’s arc of war and greater oligarchy without some great tragedy of epic proportion occurring. Telling the truth these days in our late lost America is like sitting into the wind. Despite all the revelations, the liars prosper.

    • March 4, 2018 at 2:15 am

      You are right; it would be wrong to abolish or try to abolish Christianity, or any other religion, if doing so would mean doing so either by legal means or by force. To do so would be a violation of the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free exercise of one’s religion.

      However the same First Amendment also guarantees the absolute right to criticize Christianity or any other religion, or any spokesperson for that religion. Any idea or belief, religious or secular, or political, that is presented to the public, of necessity ought to be subject to criticism and question and debate, to the free exchange of ideas. And any person who is a public figure and who has influence ought to be subject to criticism and question and debate. That is part of the American way.

      Anything that is really right or true ought to be able to withstand criticism or debate.

    • March 4, 2018 at 3:14 am

      If God, in the commonly understood sense of the word, and as believed in by Christians and other theists, is really real (important qualifier: IF), then our reasoning ability and our critical facilities are gifts given us by God.

      And if that is the case then using and exercising these gifts is much more honoring of God than is cringing servile fear of God as of a cosmic tyrant, or uncritical and unquestioning acceptance of any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as absolute truth, or of anything said by any preacher or alleged prophet or alleged spokesperson for God.

      I consider myself to be a Deist, and just on the believing side of agnostic. I would consider myself to be at 3 on Richard Dawkins’ scale of belief, where 1 = strong theist and 7 = strong atheist. I lean toward belief in a God or higher intelligence or a creator, but accept uncertainty.

      And the same is true regarding the matter of life after this present life. I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, but accept uncertainty. (I find interesting the reports of near-death experiences but have never had such an experience myself (and do not think it would be wise to wish for such an experience!), nor do I know of anybody I know personally having had such an experience.)

      While I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, I definitely do not believe that one’s eternal destiny is fixed at the moment of death, and a person is either eternally “saved” or else doomed to an eternity in hell when one passes from this life.

      Deists believe that God either exists or probably exists (accepting uncertainty), and emphasize the use of reason, and reject any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as actually being such, and I am fully with them about that. I like the motto used by the organization the World Union of Deists:

      God gave us reason, not religion.

      Here is an article on the World Union of Deists web site about Billy Graham:

      http://deism.com/billygraham.htm

      The article documents that Billy Graham came to accept the Bible “by faith” as the “Word of God”. By faith, meaning denying his God-given reason and common sense. And that Billy Graham rose to prominence by being initially promoted by Bernard Baruch, a powerful man who liked Billy Graham, and by later receiving almost exclusively positive press (i.e. free advertising) by the mainstream media.

    • March 4, 2018 at 3:17 am

      If God, in the commonly understood sense of the word, and as believed in by Christians and other theists, is really real (important qualifier: IF), then our reasoning ability and our critical facilities are gifts given us by God.

      And if that is the case then using and exercising these gifts is much more honoring of God than is cringing servile fear of God as of a cosmic tyrant, or uncritical and unquestioning acceptance of any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as absolute truth, or of anything said by any preacher or alleged prophet or alleged spokesperson for God.

      I consider myself to be a Deist, and just on the believing side of agnostic. I would consider myself to be at 3 on Richard Dawkins’ scale of belief, where 1 = strong theist and 7 = strong atheist. I lean toward belief in a God or higher intelligence or a creator, but accept uncertainty.

      And the same is true regarding the matter of life after this present life. I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, but accept uncertainty. (I find interesting the reports of near-death experiences but have never had such an experience myself (and do not think it would be wise to wish for such an experience!), nor do I know of anybody I know personally having had such an experience.)

      While I lean toward believing in some kind of life after this present life, I definitely do not believe that one’s eternal destiny is fixed at the moment of death, and a person is either eternally “saved” or else doomed to an eternity in hell when one passes from this life.

      Deists believe that God either exists or probably exists (accepting uncertainty), and emphasize the use of reason, and reject any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible or the Koran, as actually being such, and I am fully with them about that. I like the motto used by the organization the World Union of Deists:

      God gave us reason, not religion.

      Here is an article on the World Union of Deists web site about Billy Graham:

      http://deism.com/billygraham.htm

      The article documents that Billy Graham came to accept the Bible “by faith” as the “Word of God”. By faith, meaning denying his God-given reason and common sense. And that Billy Graham rose to prominence by being initially promoted by Bernard Baruch, a powerful man who liked Billy Graham, and by later receiving almost exclusively positive press (i.e. free advertising) by the mainstream media.

  13. February 23, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to War
    With the Cross of Jesus going on before.
    Christ the Royal Master leads against the Foe
    Forward into Battle, see His Banners go!
    Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to War,
    With the Cross of Jesus going on before.”

    — old Protestant hymn, good for brainwashing

  14. Youri
    February 23, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Great article on the real legacy of Graham not the Rated PG version we’ll be spoonfed and certainly what won’t be broadcast on the Christian Broadcast Corporation or Pat Roberton’s 700 Club. Well farewell Billy Graham, my tribute to you as you lay to rest is Frank Zappa’s song “Jesus Think You’re a Jerk” and “Heavenly Bank Account”.

  15. Dogtowner
    February 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Whenever some particular scummy human being dies, I break open a bottle of bubbly and toast their entrance to hell. Apparently in his autobiography Graham said his first question to God when entering heaven (a place he appeared to be in no hurry to get to) would be “Why me, Lord?” Since he is now in that place where they purchase brimstone wholesale, I’m sure that’s what he’s asking!

    I have no idea what happens after death, but one can certainly understand why the concepts of heaven and hell comforted so many people.

    • Youri
      February 23, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      haha! I sure will be blasting Frank Zappa’s “Heavenly Bank Account” and “Jesus Thinks You’re a Jerk” and “What Kind of Girl?” in tribute to Billy Graham.

    • Antonia
      February 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Read Dante!

  16. Mild - ly - Facetious
    February 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Billy Graham, William Branham and John Perkins were much the same “evangelicals”

    they all begin with sincere, good and honest intentions… .

    May they they all achieve the mark of “Good and Faithful Servants” … .

    Given today’s world of televangelism, Graham had some mighty competition. Celebritynetworth.com reports the preacher was worth approximately $25 million. That’s quite a large figure, to be sure, but it’s only enough for Graham to place sixth on a list of America’s richest pastors compiled by beliefnet.com.

    Ahead of Graham are: Creflo Dollar ($27 million), Joel Osteen ($40 million), Benny Hinn ($42 million), Pat Robertson ($100 million), and Kenneth Copeland ($760 million), who operates on a 1,500-acre campus near Fort Worth that reportedly includes a private airstrip for Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ Gulfstream V jet.

  17. February 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Cecil: “On June 25, North Korean troops invaded South Korea and Graham sent Truman a telegram.” Before you toss out a sentence like that, you may want to inform yourself of the facts. If you know them, then shame on you. Unless you want to misinform people, you need to qualify that statement. North Korea was provoked into attacking South Korea.

    • Mild - ly - Facetious
      February 22, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      “North Korea was provoked”… .

      This is the pattern of / for the
      Color Revolutions that disrupt
      stable governments and incite
      and/or coax popular rebellions
      against Stable Governments —

      against the Enduring presiding Stability —
      in favor of the Outside Influence
      of a Predominant (Hegemonic) Power
      bent on Domination and Subjugation
      of a now Militarily Inferior Sovereignty

      Ancient people from antiquity being
      Bombed to annihilation as if nonexistent
      Civilizations of Human Beings W/O worth
      as were VietNamese & Cambodians
      in our other Annihilations of Tribal Peoples

      Which we celebrate/exult thru exceptionalism
      as if a “given authority” to rule over “lesser”
      humans with a given subjugating authentic
      empowerment by a fake supreme being who’s
      super-imposed evil Cain as the World’s Ruler.

      (Trump is it’s latest incarnation)

  18. Carmine
    February 22, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you!!! I’ve wondered about Franklin Graham…..now I see the apple has not fallen far from the tree!!

    • HpO
      February 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Yup, “in every way, [Billy] Graham was the spiritual father of today’s right-wing religious leaders” like Franklin Graham.

  19. Apostate
    February 22, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    One of the most dangerous men to every walk the face of the earth. Directly responsible for the trashing of the United States Constitution and all human rights and freedoms contained therein replaced by theocratic dogma. Dogma absolving the christian religions from taxation or any other contribution to the general welfare, and the blind support for every military adventure without war declaration by the Congresses and administrations since WWII. All while raking billions of dollars kept in off shore accounts to sustain his ideology and family while the rest of the planet suffers from poverty, starvation, and war. The ongoing looting of the nation and the world by this corrupt organization founded on nothingness except oral lying continues to foul the planet. TIME FOR A REVOLUTION!

  20. Mark Stanley
    February 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    My father was a Unity minister, and a good guy. What he thrived on was being on stage. The last time I witnessed his performance, I could almost see the energy pouring into his body as he breathed it in.
    As a musician I have played a few big stages, and I tell you there is nothing like it—the energy is intense, viable, palpable. After observing my father I realized that probably all preachers share this trait. They all want to be the big man, adored by many. What they really worship is raw power itself. The preacher positions himself in authority, telling everyone else how things should be, while herding and having his pick of the females.
    Ever notice how often, upon meeting someone they immediately start trying to teach? They are trying to take power from you. If you resist they react violently—small or large. If then you step back and take note of that individual, they inevitably are a person who does not generate their own power. They do not build, write, or invent anything, nor do they like to be alone.

  21. Bill Goldman
    February 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Cecil Bothwell exposes Billy Graham’s multiple frauds. Harry Truman summed it up by recognizing Graham as just another “counterfeit” Minister. Martin Luther King reminded him that one can’t have freedom without justice. Graham associated with and backed warmongers and racists. His Americanism and patriotism were hollow. His Christianity was unadulterated hypocrisy.

  22. Larry Gates
    February 22, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Before Billy Graham American churches were fairly progressive. After World War II there was a massive effort on the part of wealthy conservatives to turn public opinion against the New Deal, A major area for this assault was churches, and Graham was their lead man.

  23. Ray Peterson
    February 22, 2018 at 11:24 am

    While the authentic Christian Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters’ from the Birmingham Jail,” show him to be a “good shepherd” (Jn.10.11), mystically even to the point of his assassination; and expose the “the thief [who] comes only to
    steal and kill and destroy” as Grahams’ pro-war religious nationalism encouraged; this piece had no encouragement for religious socialism, sacrifices for the kingdom of God, and that God’s will being love, not fear.
    Romans chapter 13 verses1-3, are more likely to be the Apostle Paul’s attempt to calm excesses of early Christians
    to over throw the Roman Empire or commit acts of violence against it. All in all better to have one ruler, and at this time the Empire was at its best (Pax Romana) than many war lords doing as they pleased.

  24. RnM
    February 22, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Mr. Graham had himself one of those Jesus Complexes. Look closely at the photo at the top. In the mirror reflection, there’s a halo around his head. Anyone think that was an accident? Subliminal messaging, aimed at the gullible. Must have been God HIMself done it. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 22, 2018 at 3:57 am

      It’s no accident. Examples of “halo” photographs are abundant for GWB and Obama, and they’re usually done by careful positioning of the photographer. Genuine (non-Photoshopped) examples for Saint Reagan and Our Lady Hillary are much more uncommon, but do exist.

      By the way, that was a perfectly splendid ‘catch’ – your spotting that!!

      Wish I were anywhere near as perceptive.

    • Lois Gagnon
      February 22, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Yes, very good catch.

  25. February 22, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Graham spoke of love, but preached death and destruction in the Lord’s name. May God forgive him.

    • February 22, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Jesus said that ‘If the light that is in you is darkness, then how great that darkness is’. Graham is reprehensible. Like the false prophet (America) he allied himself with, Graham sinned enormously, pretending to do God’s work, but in fact attacking it. God will indeed decide. But God has given us a good idea what we can expect. Jesus Christ also spoke of a sin that is unforgivable and it’s a good bet Graham, like the rest of Christendom (false Christians and all religionists who actually oppose God), will pay the ultimate price, a good thing for the new world to come that doesn’t need beastly human inhabitants.

      https://arrby.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/nazi-america/

      • February 22, 2018 at 6:04 pm

        To clarify, Christendom is part of Babylon The Great, global false religion of all denominations.

  26. Michael
    February 22, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Mr Graham and his entourage are a tribute to narcissism, tribalism, and socipathology of power. Their hubris are a Testament to the power of the media, and stupidity of uniformed and tribal consensus. Kudos, and may God save us all.

  27. Lois Gagnon
    February 21, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    My judgement of Billy Graham may come across as harsh, but in the latter stage of my life I find I have little to no tolerance for war pigs. That is what they are. The harm they do on this Earth gets glossed over by every generation. If we don’t call it out loudly for what it is, evil, it will never stop and will one day put an end to life on Earth.

    I will never express sympathy or tolerance for war pigs. They need to be shunned by civil society. War after all is organized mass murder for the profit of psychopaths.

  28. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Let it not be thought that I hate Billy Graham, or anyone, because I severely criticize them. This is an assumption people often make, and it would have been all too true of me for much of my troubled early life. But I changed, with a lot of help, and a lot of work on myself. I now can pray that every good thing I would wish for myself or anyone be given to Billy Graham. I wish him well in whatever state he might be, and have no desire for his punishment or unhappiness at all. But I am still very disapproving of his crimes against the truth.

  29. johnny reader
    February 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Now I see what makes Franklin Graham tick–he’s just like his father. Wealth and power (and not Christianity) are what they’re all about.

  30. johnny reader
    February 21, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    I used to think that Franklin Graham (Donald Trump supporter) was some sort of aberration, but now I see he’s cut from the same cloth and is truly his father’s son!

    • HpO
      February 24, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      Like this article’s writer said, “In every way, [Billy] Graham was the spiritual father of today’s right-wing religious leaders” like Franklin Graham.

  31. February 21, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Death is the equalizer life should have been. Che/Fidel

  32. elmerfudzie
    February 21, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Billy Graham!, on Judgment Day, few men will have so much good to show in the palm of their hand when the Lord asks, show Me what you’ve done in your life for the sake of love. Billy Graham!, of all her consorts and “friends”, no-one (I’m aware of, anyway) posed to her, the proper and most important of question, framed in a loving, caring inquiry, addressed to the person of Marilyn Monroe (whom I also loved sooo dearly). I paraphrase it here: will you take Jesus into your heart and accept Him?…. Tho Protestant in the Oral Roberts tradition, he had both the values and substance found in the Christian faith I follow-the Catholic tradition. Thank you again Billy Graham!, for the comfort you gave to a man dogged by Satan Himself and all His clever suggestions, Richard Nixon! who’s mother, a holy Quaker, bore a son with many qualities found in great leadership. A POTUS who became a delicious morsel for The Evil One to devour in revenge for her holiness…It is indeed a world of Good against evil, found in every station and on every avenue of life..

  33. backwardsevolution
    February 21, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Until people stop looking for answers OUTSIDE themselves, they’ll continue to look to religious leaders, politicians, celebrities, talking heads to provide those answers.

    We’re all flawed. Perhaps all we can hope for is that we do more good while we’re here than bad. We’ve all said and done things in the past that weren’t so great, mostly because our knowledge base wasn’t expansive enough or our experiences not broad enough. I continue to evolve. It would be nice if we could look back and say, “Wow, I didn’t make one mistake,” but if we’re truthful, really truthful, our paths are littered with them.

    Not only have we discovered that religious and political leaders are imperfect, but we no longer have a shared culture. Political correctness and identity politics rule the day now.

    What’s left? Oh, dear.

  34. Lois Gagnon
    February 21, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    The world now has one less self appointed religious moralist who did everything he could to undermine everything I know about Jesus of the New Testament. Did the man ever read the Bible? Jesus would have been everything Graham was against. He was either a useful idiot for the oligarchs or a calculating immoral faker.

    May he never rest in peace.

  35. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Doesn’t the Mafia pretend to be the neighborhood safety and improvement association? Somewhat like the US military pretending to be the protectors of democracy, at the same time it rampages the world destroying democracies?

  36. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Is it so strange or unusual that evil cloaks itself with vestments of virtue and religion? Isn’t this rather it’s standard MO?

  37. jose
    February 21, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. How could MR. Graham be prewar and called himself a true Christian simultaneously? He must have had a special technique to accomplish such an inconsistence. And to top it all off, in numerous occasions Graham assured several US presidents that God was on their side to commit their murderous and criminal enterprises. Why would any president require God’s approval before commencing the carnage is beyond this reader.

    • mike k
      February 21, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      Cognitive dissonance is a little complicated. Occam’s razor would suggest Graham’s behavior was simply self-serving evil.

    • February 22, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      “How could MR. Graham be prewar and called himself a true Christian simultaneously?” It’s called choice. Cognitive dissonance works as you say it does. It was a concept formulated by Leon Festinger and associates. Elliot Aronson, a social psychologist, built on it. His book, “The Social Animal,” is excellent. Aronson isn’t a Christian, as far as I know (which means that he accepts biological evolution as fact), but he was good and wise.

      We were designed with a conscience, a built-in guide if you like, much like the skimpy guides that come with many consumer products. It’s not deficient. It is intended that we take it from there. A conscience is like an alarm clock. When your alarm clock goes off, you get up. But you can ignore the alarm and it goes away eventually. You can train yourself to ignore that alarm and really get good at it. Aronson explains that the way people deal with dissonance depends on their values. If you possess humility – the ability to say “I made a mistake” – then you can change directions. If you possess false pride, then you proceed to protect your ego by engaging in dissonance reduction behavior. You rationalize and self justify and self/world justify (same as self justify, but relates to the moral support from a community whose errors mirror your own). Dissonance reduction behavior involves, as you may have guessed, changing the cognitive links between your positive self image and the cognition (related to the cause of the dissonance) that contradicts it. You can’t actually change facts or reality, but you lie to yourself and if you are willing to do it at all, you will be willing to do it sufficiently to create a plausible fantasy reality in which you are the person who you tell yourself and others you are, despite your contradictory behavior.

      I found this interesting:

      “If follows that two political roles must be clearly distinguished, [Walter] Lippmann goes on to explain. First, there is the role assigned to the specialized class, the “insiders,” the “responsible men,” who have access to information and understanding. Ideally, they should have a special education for public office, and should master the criteria for solving the problems of society: “In the degree to which these criteria can be made exact and objective, political decision,” which is their domain, “is actually brought into relation with the interests of men.” The “public men” are, furthermore, to “lead opinion”… They initiate, they administer, they settle,” and should be protected from “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders,” the general public, who are incapable of dealing “with the substance of the problem.” pg 367

      “The problem of indoctrination is a bit different for those expected to take part in serious decision-making and control: the business, state, and cultural managers, and articulate sectors generally. They must internalize the values of the system and share the necessary illusions that permit it to function in the interests of concentrated power and privilege – or at least by cynical enough to pretend that they do, an art that not many can master. But they must also have a certain grasp of the realities of the world, or they will be unable to perform their tasks effectively.” – pg 370

      Those quote are from Noam Chomsky’s “Deterring Democracy”

      People, for good reason, doubt the apostle Paul’s authenticity. But I like this:

      “Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting. And they were filled with all unrighteousness… Although these know full well the righteous decree of God – that those practicing such things are deserving of death – they not only keep on doing them but also approve of those practicing them.” (Romans 1:28,32)

      Any of us here can easily think of a million examples. Here’s one: Elliot Higgins.

  38. jose
    February 21, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    After reading the above article, A single question occurred to me: Can a true christian be pro-war? Apparently, Mr. Graham was ,somehow, able to “achieved” such contradiction. If Graham considered himself a Christian, then he would not have given any US president advice or encouragement to invade or destroy any country like he did with Truman up to George Bush. Cognitive Dissonance any body?

    • Roberto
      February 22, 2018 at 12:50 am

      What makes you think Silly Graham was a true christian. He found a gimmick that paid well and stayed with it all his life. Too bad for him. Had he repented, he would have been saved.

      • Jessejean
        February 22, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        Roberto –people always do that, let some shitehead use a platform to spew his hate and let him get credit for being a great Christian or Repuglican, but when he gets discredited, well suddenly he’s no Christian or not a real Repuglican. Plaleeeze.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 22, 2018 at 3:42 am

      Being a Christian (or belonging in any other faith) doesn’t mean a person has to be a suicidal pacifist. I do believe that any “faith” I’d declare to be a worthy one would deny the right to military Imperialism.

      • February 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm

        Agreed.

    • Mercutio
      February 22, 2018 at 5:02 am

      I don’t want to sound like a troll or an angry atheist (a Christian myself, but with every year less and less, unfortunately), but all over the world Christianity was historically all about waging war. On “unbelievers”, “pagans”, “different” christians and just for the sake of profit (of respective Christianity institutions). So yeah, I think we actually CAN call Graham a True Christian. An embodiment of everything that is downplayed and cushioned about Christianity.

  39. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Don’t get me started on the absurdity of chaplains in the military…………

    • Larco Marco
      February 22, 2018 at 1:52 am

      “…In the morning they return
      With tears in their eyes
      The stench of death drifts up to the skies
      A soldier so ill looks at the sky pilot
      Remembers the words
      “Thou shalt not kill.”
      Sky pilot
      Sky pilot
      How high can you fly?
      You’ll never, never, never reach the sky.”

      — Eric Burdon & the Animals, 1968

  40. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Graham became a multi millionaire: “for Jesus”. He was one of the worst religious hucksters in the history of a nation renowned for them. As far as the popular canard of not speaking ill of the dead, does that apply to Hitler or Pol Pot? Just another silly superstition.

    • mike k
      February 21, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      It just does not pay to pussyfoot around the truth. The real story about Billy Graham needs to be told, not just the prettied up version.

      • mike k
        February 21, 2018 at 8:37 pm

        Thanks for putting the facts out there Mr. Bothwell, that’s what this site is about, not putting lipstick on a pig. People are free to form their own opinions in light of these facts.

        • mike k
          February 21, 2018 at 8:43 pm

          And BTW, I am deeply involved in real spirituality, and this is one reason I react to a fraud like Graham spreading his BS in it’s name.

          • mike k
            February 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm

            The reason Graham backed the Iraq war is that he always sucked up to the rich and powerful, and operated as their religious excuse man for whatever atrocities they had planned.

          • Skip Scott
            February 22, 2018 at 12:37 pm

            I wonder if the old camel is about to squeeze through the eye of a needle?

          • Jessejean
            February 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

            Mike K, I could kiss you! All that “speak well of the dead” crap is so infuriating. So people can spread misery and harm their whole greedy lives long and then all they have to do is die for people to start piously recommending we ignore their damaging legacy. Arrrrrgggghhhhh.

    • Deniz
      February 21, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      “As far as the popular canard of not speaking ill of the dead, does that apply to Hitler or Pol Pot? ”

      Brilliant

    • Dogtowner
      February 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Why shouldn’t we tell the truth about the dead? Oh, I forgot, because we are not supposed to tell the truth about ANYTHING.

  41. February 21, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    The passing of Billy Graham reminds me of my own attendance to one of his “faith convocations” at New York’s Madison Square Garden. My recollection was recorded in a post after watching one of the Republican debates in the last presidential primary.

    https://crivellistreetchronicle.blogspot.com/2015/12/waiting-for-political-messiah.html

  42. Greg Schofield
    February 21, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    The great charlatan is dead. My father, a religious man, was keen to see him, until he heard him on radio. Now he is as common as muck, duplicated hundreds of times in miniature anti-christs, Apologists for ghastly acts, bribable and biddable ‘clerics’ that no lie is beneath them, where ‘truth’ is always a convenience. The pricks that need to be kicked against.

    Vale Billy Graham, hopefully soon joined by the rest of your motley tribe of corrupt priests and hypocritical Bible-bashers.

  43. John Neal Spangler
    February 21, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    According to Fiona Barnett, graham participated in pedophile rituals in Australia. He was a total fraud, huckster. A total embarrassment to all serious religious people.

    • HpO
      February 24, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      If Fiona Barnett in Facebook, November 29, 2015, is to be fact-checked, verified & believed, you mean? And how’s that going from your end?

  44. February 21, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    “The question of whether this was actually the recorded word of God or a rider inserted into the bill by Roman senators with rather more worldly aims never dimmed Graham’s insistence that all governments are the work of the Almighty.” I am a Christian but I am not of the view that the Bible is 100% perfect, so I find this highly interesting. I’m always interested in what it is that leftists dislike about God, who’s self-given name is Jehovah. There’s a serious anti-God, anti-religion streak on the Left. I can’t be the only religious (in earnest) lefty on the Left. Therefore, I feel that it’s reasonable to state that there is ‘not’ solidarity on the Left.

    I came across a reference, for the first time that I am aware of, to Ellen Meiksins Wood, for example, in Todd Gordon’s book “Imperialist Canada.” I do think that Wood’s politics are solid. I am a fan, so when I came across a YouTube video of Wood (whose parents are Jewish) slamming the apostle Paul for being pro imperialist, I was very bothered by it. But as I listened and reflected, I could certainly see why she might (hopefully honestly) draw the conclusion she did. And she was looking at the same passages as our friend, Cecil Bothwell quoted. Who knows?

    • Annie
      February 21, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      I would tend to agree that many on the left tend to be anti-religion, and perhaps it stems from their own religious experience growing up, which they felt was too authoritative, and too rigid on many issues. However, it too often swings to an authoritative stance against religion itself. I’m a Unitarian Universalist, and they are progressive on many moral and political issues,  and at one time one was encouraged to familiarize one’s self with all manner of religious, and spiritual teachings, in order to develop you’re own path. Now I belong to a congregation that I can only describe as being anti-religion, and I don’t like it, and rarely go. A few years ago one of the ministers came before the congregation and spoke about his pantheistic view of God, his own personal belief, and he wasn’t preaching. He was as nervous as hell. Had he renounced God and spoke of his atheism in that congregation he would have felt quite comfortable. What it said to me, when it comes to religious beliefs they aren’t all that progressive.

      • February 22, 2018 at 3:24 pm

        Acknowledged. Thanks.

      • historicvs
        February 23, 2018 at 8:08 pm

        Thinking people “on the left” are hostile to religion because the Judaeo-Christian-Islamist religion’s world view is, in a word, false. We are not orphans on a hostile planet ruled by invisible spirits. We were not placed here at the caprice of an all-powerful sky god who can be influenced through magical thinking and rituals to intervene as we desire. And there is no agency that will allow us to continue to live after we die.

        One would expect such revolutionary discoveries as this faith claims to possess might have come from a sophisticated culture which prized scientific and philosophical inquiry. But in fact it originated with a tribe of Levantine barbarian nomads who lived on the peripheries of mankind’s first great civilizations, which they denounced as evil and frightening.

        Christianity has a seventeen hundred year track record of vigorously fighting every advance in human progress. Its policy of denying full human rights to half the members of the human species on account of their gender is beneath contempt. Christian “values” are the ideology that enabled the genocide of the western hemisphere and which in our time is leading to the undoing of the American secular republic. When this cult took over the Roman empire, its priesthood embarked on a two-centuries long orgy of violence, destroying ancient temples, hospitals, theaters, and universities, murdering priests, priestesses, professors and doctors, pillaging centuries of secular and sacred artwork, burning libraries from Antioch to Pergamon to the great library of Alexandria, projecting their morbid sexual obsessions onto a people now barely more than slaves to an authoritarian, unforgiving church backed by the unyielding absolute power of an autocratic empire.

  45. Annie
    February 21, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I certainly am not comfortable with his pro-war stance, which is an understatement, or his positions on a number of other issues, but he just died, and I’m going to give him credit for his friendship with Martin Luther King, and King did see him as a friend, since Graham was a civil rights activist, and he even refused to go to an apartheid South Africa, since he was against it’s segregated policies. He also advocated tolerance and acceptance of all faiths, inclusivism. Although he supported the Vietnam war, even the war in Iraq, the onus truly belongs with those in political power who initiated those wars, Johnson, Nixon/Kissinger, Bush/Cheney, Obama/Clinton, and the neocons that provided the agenda for our multiple wars in the Middle East.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 21, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      You are right Annie, Graham is gone, and we should just let it be. Joe

      • Realist
        February 22, 2018 at 6:06 am

        Whether it’s the Pope, the Dali Lama, the Supreme Ayatollah, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Mullah Omar, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, or dozens of other like them, all I can say is caveat emptor! Be fully aware of what they are selling and know what it is you want to buy. Are they all right, all wrong, or is just one truth spoken out of myriad proclamations, and how can you judge? What powers of perception do you think they have that you and most others lack? If you can master logic and common sense, are willing to read, research facts and evaluate evidence, won’t you be better off arriving at your own conclusions rather than taking someone else’s words on nothing but faith and claimed authority? Or, do you find it necessary to trust someone else more than yourself to answer the biggest question posed in this existence, and about which hardly anyone agrees? Even if you can do no more than play a hunch, at least it will be your hunch, not something expediently borrowed. Most people are way more analytical and rigorous in the standards they apply to making a major purchase than in choosing whom to follow as their personal prophets. My riposte to the universe as this ride slows to a stop: that’s certainly been one long strange trip, what’s next?

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 22, 2018 at 11:07 am

          Boy you know your stuff Realist.

          A longtime ago, during a very fragile part of my younger years I found myself searching for God. I happened along a great little church, or so I thought. These Christians would embarrass people into coming to their church for Sunday services, I didn’t care for that style of recruitment, plus it didn’t work. What really did for me, was when the pastor approached me privately far from the church elders hitting me up for money, I had money, well that stunned me to no end for the way, and the why, this preacher fella appealed for my contribution. I gave him $300.00, and in 1980 that wasn’t too bad of a donation, and never went back to that church, or any other church for that matter. Then Realist I took to believing, like a child, that God is everywhere.

          I’m not super religious by design, but I respect other people’s beliefs, and continue to feel safe and secure in knowing that if I want God all I need do is call upon him. I basically thank God, and ask that all people can be well fed and safe from harm. Amen. Joe

          • Realist
            February 23, 2018 at 12:04 am

            Maybe I should tell people I’m a holy man… and then hit them up for cash. I make a little joke.

    • HpO
      February 24, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Can’t you read, or understand what you just read? That “Graham stood in solid opposition to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”? That “Graham … opposed Martin Luther King’s tactic of civil disobedience”? That “Graham’s ministerial and secular adversary [was] Dr. King”?

  46. mike k
    February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    The Devil would have to seek far and wide to find one better conformed to his purposes than Reverend Graham.

  47. Broompilot
    February 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    the Billy Graham Crusade presented a simple and straight forward message of hope that changed lives and brought comfort to millions. Rest In Peace Mr. Graham. You ran your race the best you could.

    • February 21, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Hogwash! Broompilot

    • Zachary Smith
      February 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Billy Graham certainly changed many lives, but his efforts brought death to millions. I’ve known for some time that Jerry Falwell was a creation of Israel. Till I read the essay at the link I hadn’t known that Graham was “elevated” by William Randolph Hearst.

      It would be wrong to suggest that Graham fell in step with the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s. He helped create it. It would be wrong to suggest that he went along with the atrocities of the Vietnam War. He helped sanctify them. He advised Nixon to bomb the dikes, and flew to Vietnam to encourage the troops to “skin” a Viet Cong. And in many cases, most of them undocumented, they did.

      Even My Lai didn’t trouble him unduly. “We have all had our My Lais in one way or another … with a thoughtless word, an arrogant act, or a selfish deed.”

      • Zachary Smith
        February 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm
      • Broompilot
        February 21, 2018 at 8:42 pm

        Billy Graham Had armies at his disposal? He gave warmongering speeches that led us into things like Vietnam?

        Kissinger brought death to millions. Neocons have brought death to millions. Bolsheviks brought death to millions. Billy Graham did not bring death to millions, or anyone.

        I use to laugh at those who talked about the “war on Christmas”. After reading these comments I will be reconsidering my attitude.

        • Zachary Smith
          February 22, 2018 at 12:41 am

          Did you read my link?

          • Broompilot
            February 22, 2018 at 1:16 am

            Yes. Thanks Zack I did . I don’t find it meaningful or fair. The attitudes that the author tries to demonize Graham for were the attitudes of nearly the entire population of the country at the time.

          • Zachary Smith
            February 22, 2018 at 3:36 am

            I’ll remind you that Mr. Graham wasn’t an “ordinary” guy. He was supposedly a morality teacher/leader. Given what you’ve been taught about the teachings of Jesus as described in the first four gospels, do you suppose he would have endorsed Graham as one of his followers?

            To get more to the point, I’d like to hear of anything Graham either did OR taught which could be held up as “Christian” in the sense the term was defined in those four gospels. Billy Graham is not nearly as responsible for the horrors of the Bush era as the Supreme Court Five who pulled off the judicial coup in 2000, but did Graham say a single word about the havoc wrought by the rich little punk he ‘converted’? A genuine Christian would have at least spoken out against the torture, in my opinion. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His creepy kid is a all-in Trump supporter. BTW, I couldn’t vote for Trump precisely because he was an enthusiastic and vocal torture supporter.

            It was he, in fact, who saved George Bush Jr. from demon rum, beginning his transformation from a drunken vicious stumbling fratboy to a sober vicious stumbling president.

            For example, at his death Graham was very wealthy – and if I recall the NT that’s not something a person accurately calling himself “Christian” is entitled to be. Back in my Sunday School days as a kid, there were several passages in the Bible which were NEVER brought up. That was one of them.

        • February 24, 2018 at 5:52 pm

          Broompilot, no, maybe Billy Graham did not himself bring death to millions or to anyone. However he gave his moral support and approval to those who did, like Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

          Being in the position of having the influence that he did, he was certainly very morally culpable, by I think just about anybody’s standards, for not speaking out against the Vietnam war to Johnson and Nixon (i.e. not “speaking truth to power”).

          And Billy Graham has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. It is a stupid comparison between the much-deserved criticism of Billy Graham and a supposed “war on Christmas”.

    • geeyp
      February 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

      Thank you, and I would like to suggest going over to today’s RT.com for a completely different quote from Dr. King on Rev. Graham.

    • Jessejean
      February 22, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Please hear loud Bronx cheer from me to you, Broom.

      • February 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        I looked up what a Bronx cheer is. A Bronx cheer is right.

    • HpO
      February 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      That may be what “the Billy Graham CRUSADE” was up to, but what about what the “Billy Graham … of the American CRUSADE [from which] U.S. presidents uniformly sought his blessing”, was really up to?

      They never taught you discernment in your Sunday School Kiddie program, then?

  48. Joe Tedesky
    February 21, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    It’s a pretty darn good thing that my own belief is that I’m not suppose to judge souls, because that is strictly God’s job, but for all the wandering souls who were to be reeled in by the likes of the Billy Graham’s who but led these poor searchers towards the wrong road I say, there are not enough of millstones in heaven as to punish these deceptive preachers who guided the naive and most vulnerable to a bad place on earth, as it is a really good stroke of the divine that I don’t sit in judgement of them.

  49. February 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Good riddance to bad rubbish is what I say with regard to that degenerate’s passing. The harm he did, using religion as the cloak, is devastating and will last far longer than he did.

    • Jessejean
      February 22, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you Micheal, for saying politely what I would have spewed in unprintable expletives. This guy was such a hater but was still able able to make a fortune on it. Gag me. Or him.
      So long Satan Spawn, maybe you’ll reincarnate as dog poop, a fate too good for you.

  50. Dr. Ip
    February 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    To quote Elvis Costello, who was writing about Maggot Thatcher:

    Well I hope I don’t die too soon
    I pray the lord my soul to save
    Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
    Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
    Long enough to savour
    That’s when they finally put you in the ground
    I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

    Well some of us are savoring the moment. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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