Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Graham is getting tributes from all corners right now. And he deserves praise for supporting the civil rights movement, supporting Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment and embracing Muhammad Ali during the fall-out of his conversion to Islam. All those good deeds will be covered in great detail today. In fact, Graham was already the subject of a rare and precious honor, a Trump Tweet that does not appear, on the surface, to be either an attack on his enemies or bare-faced self-aggrandizement. This honor is roughly equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom from past administrations.


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But while Graham certainly did many great things, he also said and did some awful things. And because he was so respected, his deeds were very influential.

Graham helped normalize ultra-rich pastors. Graham's wealth, and focus on more wealth, was modest compared to the televangelists preaching the prosperity gospel today. His net worth was estimated at $25 million and while Jeff Bezos might spend more on a clock, it's certainly not a vow of poverty.

Graham once preached that AIDs was the judgement of God. "Is AIDS a judgment of God?" he had said in Columbus, Ohio in 1993, "I could not be sure, but I think so." Graham quickly backtracked on this one, saying that he didn't believe that and didn't know why he said it. Nevertheless, this dog-whistle was heard by too many.

Graham wrote a memo to President Nixon urging him to commit a war crime in Vietnam. Unlike many Christian leaders, Graham supported a very specific military strategy in the Vietnam war. He wanted Nixon to use nuclear weapons to destroy the dikes that manage flooding in North Vietnam. This plan was something Henry Kissinger dismissed as "just too much."

Graham was anti-Semitic. Graham used the whole "I don't believe that and have no idea why I said it" thing a few times. For example, after taped conversations revealed that Graham made anti-Semitic statements to President Nixon. Specifically, he told the president that Jews control the media, and that this was dangerous: "This stranglehold has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain." Nixon agreed with this, and Graham suggested that if he got elected to a second term "we might be able to do something." Graham would later point out that he had Jewish friends.

Graham had backward views on women. He criticized feminism, and is the namesake of that weird rule that Mike Pence lives by, never spending any time alone with any woman besides his wife.


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When each of us die, we'll have a personal history of great but also horrible things.

Any disagreement?

#1 | Posted by Zed at 2018-02-21 11:22 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Yeah, I disagree.
Graham lived, and died, a horrible douchebag.
Where is the greatness, outside his bank account?

#2 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-21 11:28 AM | Reply


I make a much larger point than Billy.

#3 | Posted by Zed at 2018-02-21 11:32 AM | Reply

Rev. Graham was a POS, and if you can find a net positive balance sheet on that man's life, well, I guess that's the New Math for ya!

#4 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-21 12:02 PM | Reply

#4 What's Snoofy's 'net positive', besides giving his mom a jerb.

#5 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2018-02-21 12:05 PM | Reply

Useful idiots like you usually find your net positive on my DD-214.

But who cares what you think? I'm not nearly as big a douche as Graham, and that's not such a bad way to be.

#6 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-21 12:13 PM | Reply


You mean other than on this thread?

"supporting the civil rights movement, supporting Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment and embracing Muhammad Ali during the fall-out of his conversion to Islam."

Seems fairly balancing in a life that also has many faults... as all lives do.

#7 | Posted by Corky at 2018-02-21 12:19 PM | Reply

"When each of us die, we'll have a personal history of great but also horrible things."

I disagree quite strenuously with this statement.

I have no redeeming qualities and am a complete and total knee-biter. No fewer than 5 popes have called me an ------- and I am more irritating than Stallone and Schwarzenegger attempting to star in The Importance of being Earnest.

#8 | Posted by RevDarko at 2018-02-21 12:48 PM | Reply | Funny: 2

lol, Rev.... you would have been great as Lady Bracknell.

#9 | Posted by Corky at 2018-02-21 01:07 PM | Reply

It's the wrong time for this.

#10 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2018-02-21 01:44 PM | Reply

When each of us die, we'll have a personal history of great but also horrible things.

Agreed, from the LA Times:

A registered Democrat who often seemed more comfortable in the moderate Republican camp, Graham knew 12 presidents and, in his prime, was a fixture at the White House. He spent the last weekend of the Lyndon Johnson presidency there and was the first overnight guest of Richard Nixon after he was sworn into office.

Graham attended or participated in eight presidential inaugurations, but he was also present at the White House during darker days of controversy and scandal. He stayed close to Johnson when the president's popularity plummeted during the Vietnam War. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he quickly and publicly forgave President Clinton and privately counseled Clinton's wife, Hillary, to forgive him as well.

Graham's relationships with those in the Oval Office often helped him spread his message around the world in places such as South Africa, where he held integrated rallies, in the Soviet Union and in isolated North Korea, as Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy noted in their 2007 book, "The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House."

Though Graham's closest relationship with a president was thought to be with Nixon, he insisted he was actually closer to Johnson, noting that he was at the Johnson White House 27 times but only three times at Nixon's. He also presided at Johnson's funeral in 1973.

Graham and Johnson also shared a commitment to civil rights. In 1953, at a crusade in Chattanooga, Tenn., Graham told volunteer ushers that blacks were to sit wherever they pleased, that there was no segregation at the foot of Jesus' cross. Segregated seating was never allowed at subsequent crusades, even in South Africa during apartheid. Graham was also a good friends with and staunch supporters of Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.

Ironically, given the later controversy over his 1972 statements about Jews in America, Graham's friendship with Jews as well as Catholics and liberal Protestants alienated many right-wing fundamentalists in the 1950s and '60s. In the 1980s, he distanced himself from the conservative right by speaking out in favor of such issues as nuclear disarmament.

Graham's drift toward liberalism occasionally put a dent in his popularity among his more conservative supporters.

Funny how some libs will give people like Robert Byrd a pass for recanting on horrible things they did, but since Billy Graham was an evangelical preacher, no such luck.

#11 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2018-02-21 01:47 PM | Reply

Graham was not Saint.

He still deserves 24 hours.

#12 | Posted by Tor at 2018-02-21 03:19 PM | Reply

I just read that Graham bailed out MLK when he was jailed for his protests.

#13 | Posted by sentinel at 2018-02-21 10:32 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I just read that Graham bailed out MLK when he was jailed for his protests.
#13 | Posted by sentinel at 2018-02-21 10:32 PM

Is that a metaphor? To imagine Martin feeling.. obligated. But seriously that is nice indeed.

#14 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2018-02-22 12:43 AM | Reply

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