HONORING ‘AMERICA’S PASTOR’: As tributes pour in for the Reverend Billy Graham, who died today at age 99, @SteveOsunsami looks back at his impact and influence in American culture and religion. https://t.co/t8A3yGIcDk pic.twitter.com/dC4zQTsCby— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) February 22, 2018
I lack the grace to stay quiet about the passing of this influential and devout man. A lot of people would take care to note that Billy Graham, despite filling stadiums with worshippers who thrilled on his preaching, and being called to counsel with presidents about spiritual things, was never really a part of the Moral Majority movement of Jerry Falwell that really seemed to concretize what we mean when we talk about the evangelical movement. But he did sit with bigots and the princes of prosperity and failed to chide them. He did not counsel his brethren to look to any future but the day the Lord would come, even if we have no promise about what that day would be. And his history regarding gay people was a disgrace.
I can't help but see him as an enabler of the unnatural and indecent bedfellows some care to make of religion and politics.
He is survived by his son, Franklin Graham, a virulent Islamophobe and Trump-supporter. The success of an evangelist like Billy Graham surely is not going to come again. If I have no hope of a broader heaven, at least I have one of a more diverse, broad-minded world in the here and now.