Billy Graham launches campaign to smear Billy Graham

During the previous civil rights era, those seeking moral guidance were far better served by turning to Harry Belafonte than by turning to the Rev. Billy Graham.

For those seeking moral guidance today, Billy Graham remains a disappointment. You’re better off turning to Bob Mould and Jeff Tweedy (or to Laurelyn Dossettt or to whoever all these folks are).

Billy Graham is 93 and has been in poor health. If someone else came along to do something this nasty to his legacy, I’d fight to defend him. If someone else came along and accused Graham of being an irrelevant relic, a mere fossil on the side of injustice, I’d try to shout them down.

But this is Billy doing this to himself:

The Rev. Billy Graham, the world’s best-known evangelist, has endorsed a ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights.

… North Carolina already bans same-sex marriages. The amendment would effectively ban civil unions and domestic partnerships, too.

Graham is taking out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure. His website he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message “Vote for Marriage May 8th.”

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” [Graham] said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

You know what causes me great concern? Watching the moral decline of Billy Graham.

The problem with doing something this cruelly wrong when you’re 93 is that you probably won’t have time to atone for it in this life. I like to think that if Johnny and June were still alive, they’d have kept Graham from repeating the same mistake he made 50 years ago.

And it is the same mistake. Just ask Jodie Brunstetter, wife of North Carolina state Sen. Peter Brunstetter.

* * * * * * * * *

So it seems “Pastor” Sean Harris of the independent Baptist church in Fayetteville — the guy who Sunday told his congregation to beat the gay out of their children — offered a not-pology and a muddy “clarification.”

“I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended,” Harris says. “However, I do not apologize for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God.”

Alise Wright reminds us of the deeper horror of that sermon: the children of that congregation heard what Harris said about them. Those children now know that their pastor and their parents view them as intrinsically abominable.

Alise writes to them:

I’m so sorry that you are enduring abuse at the hands of people who have been entrusted with the position of caring for you. You are a treasure and a gift and should be treated as such. …

I’m sorry that this is a lesson that you’re being taught at church. In a place where you should be loved, you are taught that you are unlovable. In a place where your unique gifts and abilities should be celebrated, you are taught that you must fall within certain parameters to receive praise. In a place where you should never have to earn love, you are taught that receiving love depends on your behavior.

Read the whole thing.

It would be nice if someone read it to Billy Graham, too.

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