We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Religion or Politics?
Evangelicals Stunned: Billy Graham Endorses Obama
In a recent full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, 93-year-old Billy Graham made a drastic political about-face by endorsing President Barack Obama for another term. The lifelong conservative evangelical Christian appears to have had quite the change of heart just days after meeting with Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Although The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said, “The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest,” the support for the incumbent candidate is evident when one reads between the lines. For those who have difficulty decoding politically suggestive messages, have no fear: my expertise in composition and rhetoric will serve to guide you through Graham’s thinly veiled support for Barack Obama.
First, let us take a look at the text of the ad in its entirety:
The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe that it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.
Now there is certainly some fluff to Graham’s message–and I do like how he cleverly reminds everyone to send him a birthday card—but there are three specific points in the advertisement that prove Graham wants Americans to “gobama” this election:
- “…it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
[Expert Analysis] Since deciphering “biblical principals” is impossible (an eye for an eye?–or–turn the other cheek?), Graham is clearly nudging voters toward the candidate who supports Israel. A quick look at Barack Obama’s website provides plenty of cited evidence for the claims that the President “has repeatedly stood up for Israel in the international community, has sent record levels of security assistance as President, and believes that Israel must remain a Jewish state.” Graham could have probably stopped here, but he wanted to make sure Americans understood some other reasons why Obama deserves their votes.
- “I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life.”
[Expert Analysis] This one is easily pointing to Obama, and even Mitt Romney makes a strong case for the President on this issue. Romney keeps mentioning how Obama has enabled more poor Americans to benefit from food stamps than ever before. If providing nourishment to hungry people isn’t protecting the sanctity of life, I don’t know what is. There is no life without food, and maybe there is an explanation as to why Romney is anti-food: he is constantly accused of being a robot, and a robot doesn’t even need food!
- “I urge you to vote for those who… support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
[Expert Analysis] Apparently, Obama supports this particular idea of marriage so much that he actually went out and married a woman. Now that is backing up policy with action. So many politicians say one thing about how people should live and yet don’t model the behavior. It is nice to see that, although President Obama doesn’t tell people what socio-religious practices they should follow, he leads by example instead. It was nice of Billy Graham to point out the President’s often overlooked relationship to the First Lady.
In conclusion, the current President of the United States clearly meets all the requirements that Billy Graham thinks are important for this nation’s leader. Yet it is understandable that Graham chose not to explicitly name the President in his “non-political” advertisement; after all, the 501(c)(3) government entitlement program that benefits Graham’s non-profit association stipulates that organizations “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” Well played, Mr. Graham. I am sure that as a gesture of thanks for your coy public advertisement, President Obama will put in a good word for your organization with the IRS so you can continue to “not” support any political candidates–wink, wink.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Contrary to his fragmentation-grenade TV persona, the Morton Downey Jr. I knew was a pussycat. A pussycat o’ nine tails sometimes, but a pussycat all the same. I got to know Mort – the subject of a new documentary called "Evocateur" -- when he was just beginning to develop the obstreperous, outrageous on-air shtick that a few years later would make him briefly notorious. All you “loudmouths” and “pablum-puking liberals” out there know what I’m talking about. On the nationally syndicated show that he and MTV mastermind Bob Pittman concocted, Mort made Jerry Springer look like a Nelson Mandela and Rush Limbaugh sound like Fr Read on →
Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not. “Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could Read on →
An acquaintance of mine, whom I will call Jasper, returning from a Florida fishing trip, after not catching a single fish and suffering a severe sunburn, once bought a used monkey at one of those back-roads’ tourist traps. Jasper said the monkey was the most pitiful-looking critter he ever saw -- skinny, its matted hair flecked with grey. Its sad eyes pleaded to him. Jasper and the unfortunate simian connected on a telepathic, spiritual level -- one desperate guy to another. Jasper felt he couldn't leave that jumbled, tumbled down site without taking the monkey with him. After some haggling with the toothless, u Read on →
Americans anticipating a British driving vacation face two problems: driving on the “wrong” (left) side of the road… and British roundabouts. Britain has more roundabouts as a proportion of roads than any other country. Many get confused at negotiating the roundabout, while driving in a left-side steering car gets a little more comfortable after a while. Americans vacationing in France face only the roundabout problem, as the French drive on the “right” side of the road. Yet there are more roundabouts in France (30,000 as of 2008) than in any other nation. After lunch one Sunday at the intersection of Brown’s Bridge Road and Ge Read on →