You know who Franklin Graham is, don’t you?
Sure you do. He’s the living proof that Billy Graham had no business telling other people how to raise their children.
Yes, Franklin Graham is Billy Graham’s son, and he took over the family business. The business has been operating for almost 70 years, and it amounts to, essentially, bamboozling rubes into sending them money so that their message can reach even more rubes, who will be, in turn, bamboozled into sending them even more money.
There is nothing unusual about the business first run by Billy, now Franklin. It is just another version of the larger industry we call Christianity. I imagine other religions do the same thing, keep themselves in business by bamboozling rubes. But having grown up in a Christian household and a largely Christian community, I didn’t have the opportunity to see whether Muslim rubes or Hindu rubes, Jewish rubes or Zorastrian rubes, are continually asked to send money. I just know my mom was, and I would guess that over her lifetime, she kept the equivalent of one-and-a-half preachers from ever having to go out and find honest work.
Her favorite preacher was Billy Graham. At least, her favorite television preacher. About once a year, there would be a broadcast of one of Billy’s “Crusades.” That’s what he called his business—the “Billy Graham Crusades”—and he managed to talk television executives into giving him airtime. He reached a lot of rubes that way.
Keep in mind, this was back in the days when there was only one television in the house. So when Mom watched the Billy Graham Crusades, I and my younger brothers either watched it with her, or we went outside and threw walnuts at each other. It was our favorite game, throwing walnuts at each other. And it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than watching the Billy Graham Crusades.
Still, I grew up with the impression that Billy Graham was an exemplary man of the very highest moral character. I wasn’t alone in that impression. Billy Graham was so highly thought of, U.S. presidents—from Truman through to Obama—called on him for moral guidance. He counseled Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, among others. (We can assume Nixon wasn’t listening. At least, to the moral guidance parts.)
He was also a strong ally of civil rights, Billy was, insisting his Crusades be integrated. He even bailed Martin Luther King out of jail once. All in all, over the 60-some years that I have been aware of Billy Graham, even though I have long since left the Christian flock, I have never had reason to believe Billy Graham was anything but an exemplary man of the very highest moral character. (As Billy is still alive—98 years old—I presume he is still such a man. And if he’s not, I don’t want to know about it.)
Franklin Graham is another sort, altogether. While Billy was non-partisan politically, Franklin has become just another slathering evangelical pimp for the GOP, preaching the uber-conservative gospel. For years, he cast doubt on Barack Obama’s Christianity. He has been one of the Right’s leading voices against Islam and LGBT rights. In a manner reminiscent of Pat “Reverend Bat-Shit” Robertson, he warned that the earthquake and ensuing tsunami at Fukushima indicated the End Times are nigh. In short, Franklin Graham is a divisive, partisan, money-grubbing turd who, in a more reasonable world, would be Exhibit A as to why churches should be taxed.
And last week, this specimen announced that it wasn’t the Russians who intervened in the election of Donald Trump. It was God.
Yes, that’s right. According to the Reverend Franklin Graham, no less than God, Himself, meddled in last month’s presidential election, rejecting a woman president and chose instead to intervene in favor of an abomination.
Now, it’s entirely possible God and the Russians both intervened to get Trump elected. I mean, all of the U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that the Russians, most definitely, screwed with the easily-screwed-with minds of America’s most gullible citizens and there-by swung the election away from Hillary. But I don’t suppose the CIA was seriously looking for evidence that God was doing the same thing.
But let us pretend that, this once, Franklin Graham knows what he’s talking about, and that it’s God’s fault Donald Trump won the election. We pretty much know how the Russians influenced the election, but we have no idea how God did it.
For instance, might we assume that some portion of those fake news stories flooding Facebook in the days leading up to election day came from the Lord On High? And if so, would not that make God—just as is the man He helped put into the White House—a lying sonofabitch?
Or perhaps it was God who inspired FBI director Comey to release—with no legal justification whatsoever, as we now know—the announcement that more emails had turned up on a laptop belonging to Clinton’s friend and aide. And as we now know, I repeat, that there was no legal justification whatsoever for that announcement, wouldn’t that make God, like His tool Comey, an honorless bastard with absolutely no integrity?
Or … maybe … God is one of those dudes so threatened by strong women in leadership positions that He spoke directly to millions of our most backward American neighbors. You know, in that secret, inside-the-brain voice He uses when speaking to certain radio preachers and mass murderers. And he whispered to all the men, “Are you going to let a woman tell you what to do?” and he whispered to all the women, “Sure there’ll be a woman president someday. Just not this woman!”
(And hey, it’s not like we don’t already know that God isn’t heavy into feminism, is it? Like, name the last woman Pope. Why, even when He was looking for a woman to bear His Son, He insisted she be a virgin. How Middle-Eastern is that, eh?)
So then, exactly what is Franklin Graham accusing God of being? A lying sonofabitch? … an honorless bastard? … or just a chauvinist pig?
It’s likely we’ll never know. And I suppose Franklin the Lesser would pass it off as one of those “mysterious ways” God is always working in.
But we have to wonder, don’t we, if God talked this decision over with His Boy before He swung the election. I mean, really, the last time the Son of God was around anyone like Trump, He raised quite a ruckus. Actually threw all the money-changing assholes out of the temple, remember? And I’ll bet not a one of them ever screwed as many rubes out of more money than Trump has.
Yessir, it’ll be something to watch if that Second Coming happens any time in the next four years, won’t it? … to see how the Prince of Peace gets along with the Grabber of Pussy.
And if it turns out this Graham cracker is wrong about which candidate God was backing, there may be some damned sorry rubes scurrying around, looking for a place to hide come Rapture day. Huh?