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Billy repented of politics, maybe Franklin will
Sunday, 03 November 2019 13:50
Special to the Daily Planet


Franklin Graham could go down as one of the sad figures of our time — a man called “evangelist” and “pastor” who ensnared himself in the sordid side of politics.

He’s stumbling down the same road his father painfully took.

In 2011, an interviewer asked Billy Graham if he had any regrets as he looked back over his life. First, he predictably said he wished he’d spent more time with his family.

Then he added: “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.”

Yes, I’d say he did cross the line. He was part of Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign.  One Graham memo, for example, advises: “I would seriously question the wisdom of your becoming personally involved in the campaign before early September. If the polls and the mood of the country continue as is, you may be wise to do only a minimum of campaigning. I think Senator (George) McGovern is perfectly capable of making further mistakes.”  And the Nixon tapes show him trashing the unfriendly media

When asked about his dad’s regret, Franklin sniffed, “We are disappointed in life by people. That’s part of life.”    

Yes, it is. But, weirdly, he doesn’t seem to entertain that Donald Trump could disappoint. 

In the impeachment inquiry, Graham warns Democrats to “make sure that truth is told.” But he himself is not seeking truth about Trump’s alleged misdeeds that are at the heart of the inquiry. “Our country could begin to unravel if an elected president is thrown out of office because of lies and the media,” he said. 

Sad. The charges against Trump are not lies. The president doesn’t deny them. He broke our election laws in Ukraine. When Graham calls the inquiry “nothing about nothing,” he’s on the wrong side of truth.  He’s being totally partisan.

In First Samuel, chapter 26, David passed on a chance to kill Saul, saying, “The Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.” Graham seems to have adopted this attitude toward Trump.  He often says that God put Trump in office, so it follows that nobody should lay a hand on him. (Similarly, when Jerry Falwell, Jr. was asked if Trump could do anything that would cause him to abandon him, he replied simply, “No.”)    

We don’t have divine right of kings.  We have a Constitution, and the Framers instituted impeachment for exactly the situation we find ourselves in now — when an elected president uses his office to destroy a political opponent.  

When Graham touts the president, he mentions his nominating conservative judges — always specifically “conservative.” Indeed, that’s been Trump’s single criterion, more than incorruptible, wise, open-minded or skilled in the law. Franklin Graham’s north star is conservatism. 

His dad was conservative before him — theologically conservative (expected of a down-the-line evangelical), but also politically conservative (not necessarily expected). He endorsed George W. Bush in Florida on the eve of the 2000 election.  And he wrote that “Jesse Helms…was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.”

Of the two, theology and politics, Billy was more prominently the former. Franklin, while he indeed preaches a conservative gospel of Christ, is far more openly partisan.  “Christians should be aware of candidates who call themselves progressive,” he tweeted. “Progressive is generally just a code word for someone who leans toward socialism, who does not believe in God, & who will likely vote against Godly principles that are so important to our nation.”

Maybe Billy Graham’s repentance about politics, in part, had to do with the unprincipled criminal he supported in 1972.  Maybe Franklin Graham will recognize that the man he supports now is also an unprincipled criminal. 

Lee Ballard, who lives in Mars Hill, has a website at



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