“Puffed up” Franklin Graham’s problem: his history, not the present President (Intelek archive)

Intelek Int'l By Intelek Int'l, 3rd Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

In 2012 I published a version of this article on a US-based citizen journalism website in response to news reports that apparently exposed prominent American evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham use of his powerful public position to undermine Barack Obama's retention of the US presidency.

Re-reading it now, I believe it illuminates some of the thinking that's behind Dylan Roof's and others' attacks on African American Christianity.

Lets not confuse prayers and "preyers" (predators)

“Puff Graham”: this was a command via telegram, from media magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1949.

This crucial endorsement ensured that the simplistic, evangelical fundamentalist preaching of Hearst’s namesake Reverend William “Billy” Graham - and with time his son Franklin Graham - would be taken more seriously than it otherwise might have been.

An appreciation of this little historical detail is vital if we are to put the younger Graham’s current “huffing and puffing” against US President Barack Obama in proper perspective.

For the fullest appreciation of the current Billy Graham Evangelistic Association leader’s problem with America’s first black president, we must go back to the corporate-political roots of the BGEA.

These corporate-political roots – which explain both Grahams’ historical preference for Republican Party candidates - are at least as important and problematic as the theology they profess.

These tycoon ties explain the Graham’s opposition to the Christianity professing Obama and backing of his challenger Mitt Romney: a Mormon business mogul – in the vein of Hearst – who according to the Grahams’ own orthodox, evangelical theology should be labeled a heretic.

But before going any further, I must introduce another preacher puffer who favored Billy Graham.

To the backing of the somewhat enigmatic Hearst (he started out as a Democrat but had become extremely conservative by the time he “puffed” Graham) we must add the endorsement of Henry Luce, another media magnate.

Luce too saw in Graham’s message a means of consolidating America’s national myth of “innocence” earned greatness.

America was then poised to replace Britain as the dominant Western power and the notion of national innocence or righteousness was critical to its propagation of its “manifest destiny” doctrine – as critical as the notion of the moral rectitude of the British had been (and is) to their designs on global dominance.

I am contending that the “huffing and puffing” of Reverend Franklin Graham both before and following the re-election of President Obama may be most beneficially viewed as a perpetuation of such hollow historical, corporate-politically powered national myth-making.

The BGEA and Samaritans Purse chief executive may be viewed as puffing – enlarging, blowing-up or exaggerating – the conservative idea of America’s virtuous, heroic influence on world affairs, an idea he and other conservative corporate-type thinkers like Donald Trump and Robert E. Murray clearly think Mr. Obama’s presidency puts in jeopardy.

Puff! and off goes the roof!

Now some rationalizing of America’s sins and failures is inevitable and may even be helpful. No person or nation is perfect.

We do not always get things right.

American corporate-political, religious and other power brokers are no less entitled to make a case in defense of their failings and sins than the puny political and other pontiffs of my tiny island home Barbados.

(And my Barbadian compatriots will be making their case in a properly constituted court of law if I have my way!)

But the selective blaming and “laundering” of America’s legacy in which Franklin Graham and others are indulging is doing violence to history.

Theirs is a vision of America of the wilfully blind and hearing impaired (“He that hath an ear...”).

To borrow a term applied by Barbadian political scientist Dr George Belle to some persons in the local Pan Africanist community that he and I were a part of and supported: they have believed their own myth.

Reverend Franklin Graham’s problem, from my perspective, is that he seems to be stubbornly ingesting the fantasy of American innocence and greatness that he was once fed and which he now traffics.

But addiction to such nationalistic narcotics is consistent with the theology he embraces.

Evangelical, fundamentalist Christian thinking is notoriously amenable or susceptible
to all manner of delusions.

Remember the Jim Jones and David Koresh affairs?

Reverend Graham’s apocalyptic pronouncements on the American economy are very similar to their Talibank-toned, suicidal, self-fulfilling prophecies.

What sets brother Graham apart from those missionary miscreants is his press puffed, media inflated legacy.

Jim Jones had his corporate and political backers too, for a time. But he and Koresh were fundamentally ministers of the margins.

Reverend Graham, on the other hand, is enshrined in an institution – the BGEA - that is essentially mainstream media-built. A situation not unlike the BBC’s Jimmy Savile’s.

For his own sake and that of his fellow Americans – Christians and non-Christians - I would urge Franklin Graham to inform his faith: he needs to get a firmer grip on his family’s and broader Christian history.

He should not believe everything he reads in the papers or sees on TV.

To be continued...

Footnote: Click on this link to see what Franklin Graham is up to today.

While not entirely in agreement with his theology or methods, I too do have concerns that a homosexual "gaystapo" is seeking to impose its will on many Christians in a remarkably similar way that many homosexual had Christians' views imposed on them previously.


Barack Obama, Billy Graham, Donald Trump, Dylan Storm Roof, Franklin Graham, Henry Luce, Jimmy Savile, Republican Party, Robert E Murray, William Randolph Hearst

Meet the author

author avatar Intelek Int'l
"I think therefore I jam"
I'm a holistic communication and education specialist, trading as Intelek International (www.intelek.net).
I write about spirituality, science, philosophy, politics, love.

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