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Billy Graham Dead at 99


Cleopatra7

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Not really surprising, given his age, but still newsworthy:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-us-canada-43142263#scso=uid_CHeNWteZBobjjwSZt7PwBA_1:0

I've been doing a lot of reading about Billy Graham for my qualifying exam on Southern white Protestantism. What distinguished Billy Graham is that he was the first to real push the label of evangelical as a mark of identity. When Graham was young, fundamentalists were characterized by being insular and dour (think Bob Jones, Sr.). By comparison, Graham tried to preach a conservative form of Christianity that was modern, positive, and engaged with public affairs. We have a lot of discussions about what distinguishes fundie va fundie light, and I think that if you look at the conflicts between fundamentalists and self-describes evangelicals in mid-twentieth century America, you can get an idea of what separates the two. 

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Yes, this. Billy even transfered from Bob Jones because he found it personally "restrictive". Well, I guess he wouldn't have liked Crown either. Almost made it to 100. We visit his library every Christmas. Not very fond of his son but he isn't exactly the worst either.

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33 minutes ago, HereticHick said:

Hard to believe that we live in a time where Billy Graham's views now seem so moderate...

I think Billy Graham always tried to be pretty moderate, which is why his popularity cut across demographic lines. The problem is that being a moderate is not always useful. Much is often made of his decision not hold segregated crusades. But he only did so when he knew he could do so without being blasted as a "communist." He was a racial moderate who had a friendship with MLK, but also didn't have any problems with hanging out with Nixon and smiling and nodding while the disgraced president rambled about "the Jews." It seems like Graham tried to be all things to all people to advance the gospel, but he didn't want to do anything to rock the boat, even when doing so would have given great moral credibility to social change.

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1 hour ago, HereticHick said:

Hard to believe that we live in a time where Billy Graham's views now seem so moderate...

Good point! Though his influence will continue to be felt strongly in American life/politics.

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Always struck me as a showboat "Christian." He seemed most interested in his own fame & continued access to the rich and famous. This may explain in part why his son, Franklin, is such a vile human being, not that the other kids are much better.

If Billy is in heaven, bet he's awfully surprised at who else is there. 

 

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I was talking about this with my mom, who started crying when she heard the news. Apparently my grandparents dedicated themselves to Christianity at a Billy Graham crusade, which changed the way they lived their lives (they became missionaries and lived overseas for a while) and let to my mom going to a Christian college where she met my dad. Thus my siblings and I wouldn't exist if not for the influence of Billy Graham, which is weird to think about.

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One of my grandfathers was saved at a Billy Graham crusade and he actually worked sound systems at a number of them. My grandfather would often say that Graham put on a good show but offstage, he was much quieter and very thoughtful. 

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I thought he already died and they televised his funeral. Now I wonder which evangelical funeral I watched on TV and wondered why it was on TV. 

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A random observation:  I spend a lot of time in Nashville, and there was a large complex there called the Lifeway center, which published and shipped missionary materials, etc.  There was a statue of Billy Graham near the entrance drive (so I'm guessing he was connected to one of the businesses in the complex), and a building with a huge cross that you could see from a great distance.  Lifeway has downsized and relocated, the statue was carted off to Billy's hometown, and the cross building was imploded a few weeks ago.  End of an era.

I am not well-versed in Billy Graham's crusades, and am very interested reading through your stories and posts.   

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The late Louis Zamperini, real life hero of the book Unbroken, was converted to Christianity during a Billy Graham Crusade in LA after WW II. Zamperini credited his (re)commital to faith at that Crusade with ending his PTSD & the alcoholism he used for self-medication.

So,  that's probably one to the good for Billy's heavenly accounts.

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I read that Billy Graham said his biggest regret was not being a better, more present father. Seeing as the result is Franklin, and then the next generation that included Tullian,  I'm going to agree with him there.  

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I may be alone but I am not sad by his death and I am worried by the saint status he is given, people would be wise to not put him on a pedestal. The world has not lost a hero or a messenger of jesus. The world has lost another religious bigot and messenger of hate. May he rot in hell.

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1 hour ago, Gnomewizard said:

I may be alone but I am not sad by his death and I am worried by the saint status he is given, people would be wise to not put him on a pedestal. The world has not lost a hero or a messenger of jesus. The world has lost another religious bigot and messenger of hate. May he rot in hell.

THIS, I swear I feel like I'm hallucinating in this thread. Y'all. He was every bit as racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, and homophobic as his offspring; the only difference is that he was better at putting on a nice face and limiting his hatefulness to those inside his circle. 

Let us not forget that he said that AIDS was a plague sent by god to punish gay people. 

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4 minutes ago, JesusCampSongs said:

THIS, I swear I feel like I'm hallucinating in this thread. Y'all. He was every bit as racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, and homophobic as his offspring; the only difference is that he was better at putting on a nice face and limiting his hatefulness to those inside his circle. 

Let us not forget that he said that AIDS was a plague sent by god to punish gay people. 

Nice to know I am not alone! I was losing faith in humanity and respect for people I had previously respected.

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This link has a quote from a recent book on evangelicals (one that I have in my personal collection, so I can vouch for it) about how Billy Graham preached at a white church in Birmingham after the Sixteenth Street Church bombing, but acted like nothing had happened:

http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2018/02/assessing-billy-grahams-legacy-after.html?m=1

With great power comes great responsibility. And more often than not, moral cowardice.

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I don't really see anyone here praising Graham overmuch. I was not a fan of him, but acknowledging the huge impact he had is not the same as praising him. I actually blame him for a lot of the negative trends in Evangelicalism.

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Back in 1966 when I was just a kid, Graham's grown man of a nephew sent me a very porno letter.  We phoned the police and pressed charges.

A few days later the cops came and spoke to my mum asking to please drop the charges because of who he was.  And she did!

i'm still disgusted...hypocrites ...every God damned one of them.   

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48 minutes ago, Cleopatra7 said:

With great power comes great responsibility. And more often than not, moral cowardice.

Yep to this. He could be stern, even harsh, with the ordinary people at his crusades, but I never saw him meet a President or celebrity to whom he didn't endlessly suck up.

He knew what side his bread was buttered on.

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52 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

I actually blame him for a lot of the negative trends in Evangelicalism.

That's where I stand.  I don't think we'd have gotten the likes of Jerry Falwell if it hadn't been for BG. 

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3 minutes ago, Coconut Flan said:

That's where I stand.  I don't think we'd have gotten the likes of Jerry Falwell if it hadn't been for BG. 

I don’t think so. Unlike Graham, Falwell was always an self-described fundamentalist and an Independent Baptist. Graham in the 1950s and 60s was essentially trying to be the opposite of the Jerry Falwells of the world with their insular, separatist churches. Similarly, Falwell would have seen Graham as being too worldly and compromising (believe it or not, but the Southern Baptist Convention was considered a moderate denomination until the early 1980s). Falwell’s first foray into public life was as a segregationist and the institution that would become Liberty University began as a segregation academy. He never presented himself as moderate like Graham, although he did preach an infamous sermon called Ministers and Marches about how ministers shouldn’t get involved in politics. At least, not if the ministers in question are black and want civil rights (apparently advocating for segregation was not considered being involved in politics). Jerry Falwell’s career would have turned out exactly as it did whether Billy Graham existed or not.

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Didn’t he also force one of his daughters to quit college to marry a rich guy who helped bankroll the ministry? I’m pretty sure he did. And the daughter birthed Tullian, who’s about as embarrassing a Christian as any Christian can be.

i remember Big Daddy Junebug being almost struck dumb by the sight of people streaming to be saved after BG’s sermon. “He May be the modern St. Paul,” my dad said in awe. Then a few years later one of my aunts volunteered at a crusade and discovered that many of the folks responding to the altar call were alresdy christian, and going to the altar as an act of recommitment. So was BG persuading, convincing folks?  BDJB never shared his opinion, but we didn’t have the crusades on the  tv anymore. For which I was thankful. As devout as I could be as a teen, something about BG rubbed me wrong.

Thats JMO, of course. May he RIP , 

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Interesting WaPo article on the effects on his family of Billy putting his ministry  business first:

Quote

As Graham’s crusades took him throughout the world, little was left for Ruth and the children — Gigi, Anne, then Ruth (long called Bunny), Franklin and Ned. Once, when Ruth brought Anne to a crusade and let her surprise her father while he was talking on the telephone, he stared at the toddler with a blank look, not recognizing his own daughter. In a turnabout a few years later, young Franklin greeted his father’s homecoming from a crusade with a puzzled, “Who he?”

And, yes, Billy Graham was a male chauvinist pig:

Quote

Like her sisters, Bunny remembers being groomed for the life of wife, homemaker and mother. “There was never an idea of a career for us,” she said. “I wanted to go to nursing school — Wheaton had a five-year program — but Daddy said no. No reason, no explanation, just ‘No.’ It wasn’t confrontational and he wasn’t angry, but when he decided, that was the end of it.” She added, “He has forgotten that. Mother has not.”

 

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Bunny and Ned seem to have chosen to live quiet lives unlike Gigi, Anne and Franklin. (Maybe I’m wrong about that though.)  It’s a shame that Bunny was not allow to go to nursing school.

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7 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

And, yes, Billy Graham was a male chauvinist pig:

 

To be fair, I think that could be said of a lot (most? many?) men born in 1918.  

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