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
Pardon me for a personal reflection today. Those of us who grew up in Middle Georgia, and in particular in Macon, are saddened today. You see, an institution which succored us from our earliest memories as a kid, burned down Friday morning. It was the Cotton Avenue location of Nu-Way Weiners, a Macon institution for 99 years, and second oldest hot dog stand in the nation. Though there are seven other locations in Middle Georgia, Cotton Avenue was where it was founded, and many of us remember eating there before we began school. When I was coming along, you could get two Read on →
In England the bookies William Hill are giving odds of 4-1 (a tumble from earlier 14-1) on the new royal baby being named "Alice", unless it is "Arthur, Henry or James" (all at 20-1.) If it’s Alice the pay-out for the bookmakers will be eye-watering. My first reaction to reading this today was to feel dubious about "Alice" and to shudder at "Arthur." I wondered how they could admire names that made my mouth turn down at the corners. It’s all about association. My father’s older sister was called Alice. She must have been ancient, in her fifties when I met her a Read on →
My friend, Jack deJarnette, was a frequent contributor to Like The Dew. He was a retired United Methodist minister who came to the cloth by way of respiratory therapy. Jack and I met the first day of the 9th grade at Georgia Military Academy in College Park. (GMA is now Woodward Academy.) I was stone cold alone sitting in study hall when Jack and I started talking. A lifelong friendship was born. Jack and I were both in the band (me firmly occupying third chair clarinet and him the sole bass drum). I was in the band because it kept me out Read on →
Some of my readers at Gwinnett Forum have asked if I was serious about requiring that the Georgia General Assembly meet only once in every two years. In short, you betcha! Why? Because most Georgians will tell you that nothing is safe when the Georgia Legislature meets, as members introduce all sorts of measures that negatively impacts its citizens, most bills only benefiting some local constituent. Major case in point: while the state government seeks cuts in school budgets (read as taking away bus driver’s health insurance, while raising the salary of judges), they dance around a billion dollar sales tax rebate f Read on →