Several weeks ago, the Charlotte Observer – apparently upset that the Graham family was making its support of Mitt Romney well known in the final weeks leading up to the election – posted an unsubstantiated hit piece on America’s favorite pastor Billy Graham, insinuating that Graham no longer had control of his mental faculties and suggesting his son Franklin was using him as a puppet to advance his own agenda. From the article:
Confronting criticism Tuesday that he has commandeered the voice of aging evangelist Billy Graham and turned him into “a mouthpiece for the religious right,” Franklin Graham said his father’s entrance into a tightening presidential race was his own choice.
“Nobody kidnaps my Daddy. He may not see or hear as well, but his mind remains sharp as a razor,” Graham said. “He’s been active in politics since the 1940s. People need to remember that.”
Billy Graham turns 94 the day after the Nov. 6 election. After running a worldwide ministry for six decades, the Charlotte native today is a physically diminished widower who lives alone in his Montreat home who remains beloved by many Christians.
The evangelist has been a friend and adviser to several presidents from both parties. Yet he traditionally has avoided political endorsements.
Thus the content of some of Graham’s recent comments and his apparent backing of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have caught longtime Graham watchers off guard.
“The Billy Graham we’re seeing in this campaign is a constructed Billy Graham, constructed by his son,” religion scholar Michael Hamilton said. “A constructed Graham is not necessarily a false Graham or a true Graham. It’s the Graham Franklin wants us to see.”
Franklin Graham said his father is a willing participant in an effort to put a stronger Christian voice in government.
Graham’s words were in response to essays by Hamilton and a Graham biographer questioning whether Franklin Graham has orchestrated his father’s political involvement. They say Billy Graham’s role is out of character both in his apparent endorsement of Romney as well as his embrace of social issues more aligned with the Christian right, not his own ministry.
The comments of William Martin, author of “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story,” and Hamilton, chairman of the history department at Seattle Pacific University, appear under the headline, “Has Billy Graham Turned Political?”
With Graham kept out of the spotlight, Hamilton said, the answer remains unclear.
“We don’t know if Billy Graham has become political. We don’t know that this is Dr. Graham,” Hamilton said Tuesday.
This Billy Graham is “smaller” and “angrier,” and sounds like “a mouthpiece for the religious right,” Hamilton said, not the “world-changing, large-visioned, big-hearted” figure that has been Graham’s legacy.
Franklin Graham, now in charge of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has put that legacy at risk, Hamilton said. He said he might ask the son whether he’s willing to have his father’s life re-evaluated, to have historians say to themselves, “Well, maybe we have it wrong.”
I should point out that the Observer is also probably a bit peeved that the elder Graham has not sat down for an interview with them since 1996, hence, the bitter tone of the piece.
You’ll note that, outside of Billy Graham’s son, they spoke with NO ONE else who could attempt to substantiate Graham’s claim that his dad was still of sound mind, able to speak for himself – surely they could have found one or two people, even if they were only willing to speak off the record, who could provide a possible counter point to the “scholars”? If they had attempted to, they’d have said so. This is so characteristic of agenda-driven liberal news outlets trying to push false narratives. “Two scholars” say that can’t really be Rev. Billy Graham speaking, so we must trust them. But Rev. Franklin Graham, the one they believe is “speaking” for his dad, is the only one they get to combat the “scholars.” What a surprise! Not.
This isn’t objective journalism, and the Observer in retrospect should be ashamed of trying to pass it off as such.
I bring all this up now because a new video has been posted by the Graham family and it’s a recent one that has the Rev. Billy Graham himself speaking clearly and passionately about “My Hope.” First, a little bit about “My Hope“:
My Hope with Billy Graham is a grass-roots effort to reach people across the United States and Canada with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, My Hope with Billy Graham combines the reach and excitement of a nationwide media event with the power of personal relationships. Under the guidance of their local pastors, Christians across these two countries will open their homes to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using different media programs featuring Billy Graham, dynamic music, and testimonies.
Billy Graham spoke in the My Hope TV special. Click here or watch what he had to say below:
Yes, he’s older, he can’t get around like he used to, he’s got health issues that keep him primarily home bound – but this man is NOT a puppet, is clearly NOT being controlled by his son, and is still a STRONG believer in and promoter of God and of God’s word and, just as he has for decades, is still trying to lead people both home and abroad to Christ.
Just a week prior to the Observer posting their baseless nonsense, Mitt Romney visited Asheville, NC for a campaign speech and also met privately with the elder Rev. Graham and his son, also a Reverend. Reportedly, Graham endorsed Romney at this time and pledged his full support as the final days of the campaign were drawing to a close. But in spite of this, the Observer saw fit to publish an article a week later questioning whether or not Graham was still able to think and speak for himself. I guess they thought Mitt Romney was in on the cover-up, too? Sick.
Weekend at Bernie’s this was NOT, Observer, I’m deeply disappointed with you for trying to imply it was. This man has earned and is due the respect you failed to give him in this hit piece.
Readers: If you’d like to respectfully let the paper know how you feel about their broadside against Graham, click here. They need to know how readers/subscribers feel so they can try to get it right in the future.