Billy Graham’s Final Crusade
Eighty six year old Mr. Billy Graham has given a final grand Evangelical Christian Crusade. Known in his hey-day as ‘Charles Atlas with a halo’, the Reverend Graham, who now has trouble with eyesight, hearing and speech, and broke both his hip and pelvis in two separate falls last year, told reporters before his appearance last week at packed Flushing Meadows stadium in New York, that his death could happen at ‘any day’, and that he and his wife were ‘looking forward to heaven and meeting God face to face.’
A bit presumptuous, perhaps? Mr. Graham may be in for a bit of a surprise…
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said: "Not everyone that saith unto me: "Lord! Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Has ‘America’s Pastor’ been doing the will of our Father during his long life dedicated to his ‘Lord’? Let’s take a brief look and see…
Well for a start, from since way back to the times of President Eisenhower, Billy’s been spiritual counselor to each and every succeeding ‘Commander in Chief’ chosen to govern the USA.
"I wanna attack another country! Call the Evangelist!" And Billy would come, and they’d pray together, and lo! There would be an attack! In Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq to name but a few, each one with the blessing of the Reverend Billy. Millions of innocent people have been slain with the permission of the Christian pastor.
‘Thou Shalt not Kill’. That’s one of the top ten commandments Moses brought down from the mountain after his chat with God. Jesus endorsed that commandment, and went further, making unwarranted anger and derision of others even more serious.
So, just because Mr. Graham is not the one to pull the trigger – if he merely condones the sending of his brethren to a far off country to kill or be killed does that remove him from the culpability? Or does it not make him the one called for valued advice because he is considered a ‘holy’ man, and who gave his approval for the slaughter an enemy of the Man of Peace he claims to represent?
Examine further advice from Jesus, who rejected the old vengeance cry of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, and instead advised: ‘Love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which disparagingly use you and persecute you that you may be perfect.’
"If anybody shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also."
Were those words even considered when they bowed their heads and consulted ‘God’ at the daily ‘prayer breakfast’ in the Whitehouse, or in ‘the Prayer Room’ created by Congress in the Capitol, before giving orders to blitz Afghanistan and Iraq?
Hardly likely. Because the ‘Christian’ country that lost two of its twin trade towers on that shocking day is not truly a Christian country at all, but a nation that worships Mammon; peopled by the descendants of invading opportunity-seekers, their real motto not "Liberty and Justice for All but "Every Man for Himself, who decimated or subjugated the original inhabitants to virtual penury. The most ruthless exploiters of the ‘new world’ have reached the top and enjoy the power, spreading their manure world wide a huger version of the previously omnipotent British Empire, now reduced to the role of leeching sychophant to its former colony.. Both those greedy corrupt hypocritical powers brandish the name of a man executed for exposing the corruption and hypocrisy of a government and system, not unlike their own, in an occupied country in the Middle East two thousand years ago.
Although anti-Semitic, Graham supports Zionism on the grounds that a Jewish state is a prelude to ‘Armageddon’, and, as the long-time trusted clean-shaven Rasputin to the Whitehouse, he is largely responsible for the molding of President Bush into an Armageddon-fixated, God-fearing millennial warrior, programmed to "live in anticipation and assist in the Second Coming."
The gospel that Billy Graham and his evangelist brothers preach is false, and has been seriously damaging the emotions, minds and spirits of simple people in America and the world for more than half a century. Their utmost blasphemy, to have transformed Jesus into a god and twisted his words, keeping him nailed to the cross with nails of lies and ignorance. Instead of getting on with Jesus’ plans for the creation of a just kingdom of God on earth, they try to persuade us to accept as inevitable the injustice and inequality that poison our lives, and wait for rewards in the life hereafter, available only to those who worship their Corporation Capitalist Christ. Apart from Doomsday, Graham preaches "Pie in the sky when you die.’
And that might be a reason why in 1949, newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst told his publications: "Puff Graham, a young and charismatic up-and-coming preacher man at the time." Puff they did, and catapulted him into the national limelight, from which he has rarely strayed since; the reason why he has been and is so highly loved by our rulers. He keeps the ignorant deluded with stories of angels, virgin births, tribulations and raptures, confusing and frightening them with apocalypses and end times, so that they become mad, on the look out for expected signs and omens, blind to their slavery and the breathtaking corruption of the corporations that rule the world.
That’s also probably why he was given the highest award of the American government, the ‘Congressional Gold Medal of Honor’ which is presented "to any individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the USA"; the ‘Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award'; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; and even bestowed an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth of England for his ‘international contribution to civic and religious life’ for over 60 years. Such as?
Ex-President Clinton introduced him on stage at his recent Crusade as "the man I love.
"Wonderful friends," says Graham of Bill and Hilary. "A great couple." They all love him. Mr. Billy Graham is just the kind of preacher politicians like. Pie in the sky when you die, plus credibility for themselves: if they’re friends of saintlike Billy, then they must be good people. . Every president since Eisenhower’s called on Graham for spiritual counsel. He was closest to Nixon, but says he has tried to keep his message pastoral, not political. What does that mean? He used them and they used him.
Doug Wead, a political advisor to George W’s father, got to know Bush and recalls ‘I was friendly with the guy who produced Billy Graham’s television shows, and I suggested that we could have a camera isolated on the vice president [Bush], and he would be carefully following Graham’s words, and at the right moment he would wipe away a [fake] tear. It was the only time I recall the older Bush getting angry with me. He didn’t want political use made of it, but it happened anyway. They [George W. Bush and the other advisors] got shots of him, and they used them…’
Billy says: ‘I have known the Bush family for many years, and have seen how their faith in God has sustained them through some very trying times,’ he continued. ‘I pray for them daily, and it is a great honor to pray publicly for our president, his family, and our nation as he begins his second term.’
But Jesus, who advised against public prayer, also warned: "Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues to be seen of men!"
Franklin Graham, clone-like copy of his father, also disobeys Jesus’ instructions. Frankie boy read the opening prayer at the first inauguration of George W, where the ritual of the swearing-in of the President took place, hand on bible, and hand in air. I swear, it’s as if they’d never read the Sermon on the Mount! What’s that Jesus is saying?
"Swear not at all!"
Jesus said: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Is Mr Billy Graham a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’? Let’s examine his fruit.
Ah, see! Here’s one not far from the tree…
Graham has been close to the Bushes since the 1950s, when he befriended George W. Bush’s grandfather, Connecticut Sen. Prescott Bush. He has vacationed with them at their Kennebunkport, Maine, home annually since 1962.
In his autobiography, Bush says that it was at such a retreat in 1985 that Graham ‘planted a mustard seed in my soul’ leading him to reaffirm his faith in Christ and culminating in his decision the following year to stop drinking.
Graham participated in Bush’s swearing-in as Texas governor in 1995, and Bush returned the favor, appearing at a Graham crusade in south Texas in 1997.
‘Speaking of my great family, Dr. Billy Graham has meant a lot to all of us,’ Bush said. ‘He helped change my own life in a very personal and profound way.’
President Bush is the fruit of Billy Graham. The mustard seed he planted in Bush’s soul could not have grown and blossomed in any other way. It’s also not surprising that after years under the holy influence of Doctor Billy Graham, the man in charge of the most powerful country in the world, with the biggest collection of deadly weapons, should say of his illegal invasion of Iraq, "God told me to smite Saddam Hussein, and I smote him.
Billy’s not long for the world now. It’s a shame he won’t be able to return from beyond the grave to warn his followers of the reception he received in heaven and tell them to repent. It’ll be too late for him. Meanwhile here on earth, the evil fruit from his corrupt tree march madly on in their misguided Crusade, brandishing the Cross as a weapon of war.
MICHAEL DICKINSON is a writer and artist who works as an English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. He designed the cover art for two CounterPunch books, Serpents in the Garden and Dime’s Worth of Difference, as well as Grand Theft Pentagon, forthcoming from Common Courage Press. He can be contacted at www.stuckism.com, where collages from his recently banned website can be seen.