Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Franklin Graham's Gratuitous Advice

"This could be America's last call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, who is coming again one day very soon to save His own and to judge those who don't know and worship Him."
Franklin Graham in Charisma News

Thus speaketh Franklin, son of Billy.  The "last call" he's referring to is an evangelistic campaign scheduled for next year featuring the old man, who will then be ninety five.  Talk about an inflated sense of his own significance.

Franklin is one of a long line of ne'er do well offspring of evangelists who, after making an energetic and colourful break from the restrictions imposed in their youth, suddenly wise up to the fact that there's money in the religion business, and with a bit of crawling back to dear old dad, they're in line to be the next guy who gets to sign the cheques.  Can we all say nepotism together...

Franklin has always had a problem when it comes to running off at the mouth while the brain is in neutral, and the current US election is no exception.  Father and son have implicitly endorsed their favoured candidate, and then built political rhetoric into their religious message... a nice tax exempt perk.

Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion and a vote to go with it.  But to wrap that up in a cloak of self-righteous sanctity, and entwine it in self important End Times blather; well, that's ratcheting it up to a whole new level.

"My father watches the news every day, and he is deeply concerned about the enormous moral issues facing our country.  That's why your vote on Nov. 6 is so critical."

Big deal.  Since when did watching TV news (let me guess... Fox?) make someone an expert? 

And what does Franklin consider the big moral issues - informed by "biblical values"?  Poverty?  Justice?  Peace?  Not so likely.  These guys would do well to consider the moral issues around Bible thumping in the name of God, and those con artists who extract bucks from wallets and purses by pretending to hold some kind of divine commission.  That kind of moral issue seems never to have disturbed them.  They're usually too busy playing "ain't it awful" by contemplating what's happening below other people's belt lines.

"So pray and then vote on Nov. 6, asking God for His mercy and grace upon our land. There’s still time to turn from our wicked ways so that He might spare us from His wrath against sin."

Billy Graham created his substantial reputation and undeserved credibility by manipulating the fears and insecurities of millions over his long career.  Even as a kid I remember the effect his tawdry little hellfire book World Aflame had on people I knew.  Some would say that he has moved on from his earlier fundamentalism.  Maybe so, but the news doesn't seem to have reached Franklin yet.  Clearly for him, that old World Aflame fear religion is alive and well.

Why is it that we condemn as sectarian this kind of exploitation when it's done by fringe groups, but mutter 'amens' when someone clothed in 'respectability' does the exact same thing.

You're welcome to consider Franklin Graham a saintly soul if you like, but he sounds an awful lot like some of the less glorious religious hucksters in the business.  And somehow that makes this latest round of Bible-clutching, wallet-stroking political posturing even more loathsome.


  1. "Christ is the Answer!"

    But like Deep Thought's answer "42" ("I told you you weren't going to like it"), we have to go through 4.5 billion years of earth history and the ~47,000 years (?) of human history to determine what the question was.

    With the "Hitchhiker's Guide the the Galaxy" the question was "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?", but with Billy Graham, each person could imagine his own question with but one answer. The question and answer need not make any sense as long as it makes money.

    That will be $42 please.

  2. I've learned not to reveal some of my spiritual resources on open WCG-related forums and blogs because it tends to pin a target on their backs.

    I've been aware of Billy Graham probably from the time I was 8 years old. While searching for "the truth", my parents watched him equally enthusiastically along with HWA on TV. They ended up picking HWA because "Billy Graham doesn't keep the sabbath!" Over the years, for me, Billy became the road not taken. He was frequently in the news, very high profile for a Christian minister, and his name was always associated with Jesus Christ. However, I must confess, I've read very little of his writing, and have not contributed to his evangelistic association.

    I admire Billy for the ways in which he distinguished himself from HWA. He never made any bones about the fact that he was a minister of Jesus Christ. That's what everyone who ever met with him expected, and that's what they always got. No "unofficial ambassador for peace" with a blurry message about "a strong hand from somewhere".

    The BG Evangelistic Association does regularly send fully staffed and stocked response units to assist disaster victims around the world. That ministry is not isolationist or elitist in its treatment of non-Christians. And, if there are or were scandals surrounding the Grahams, similar to those which have dogged Armstrongism, I'm not aware of them.

    Franklin has not done anything that I have not done. Like myself, he was a prodigal. I don't believe he has sold out or is cashing in. I think he has seen the error of his earlier lifestyle, and is sincere in his evangelistic efforts. That's just my opinion, but this is a man who is quite different from some of the orators, drama kings or queens, or ranting fools and actors one often sees on Christian TV.

    In Christianity, one often speaks of those gifted in being able to reach people that perhaps noone else can. And, I believe Franklin has a certain amount of giftedness to reach specific personality types. At his current stage of development, he is not the forceful orator that his father was in his heyday, but I believe that he is equally sincere.

    There are trends in evangelism, and these are often based on what seems to work best. At one time, hell was very much overused. Now, with further studies in behavioral science, of which the Christian community is aware, it is realized that fear alone often defeats the higher human qualities such as sincerity. No decision made purely because of duress is really valid. The "save your own ass" mentality is basically very selfish, and antithetical to Christlike behavior.


  3. "Christ is the Answer!"

    That was exactly MY answer when I read this article: "Christ!".

  4. There's that "very soon" statement again.

    "Quickly", "soon", "at hand", "near", "at the door", "this generation", "shortly"..."the end of all things is at hand"...when do Christians imagine the NT was written, yesterday? "Where is the promise of his coming?" There, I said it, now bring on the "last time" already.

  5. Does anyone besides me know the meaning of the word, "prodigal"?

  6. Looks like something is being done about Billy Graham's flouting of his tax exempt status.

    Glad to see the Freedom from Religion foundation standing up for this issue. Churches can't have it both ways, they can't claim tax exempt and then get involved in the political campaign.