Reverend Billy Graham passed away February 21, in NC at the advanced age of 99. What passes for legitimate news sources these days carried the funeral coverage, particularly FOX, as if a president or a deity had passed. There was even a televised motorcade, reminiscent of Kennedy’s some 55 years ago.
Having never been a fan of televangelism, I didn’t know much about Mr. Graham. I had heard wonderful stories about him, but something inside me kept gnawing at me that the television coverage seemed surreal.
Mr. Graham was then taken to the Capitol Rotunda so his body could lie in state, only the fourth “civilian” to be bestowed the honor. This action is what actually drew my attention and led me to do some background research on the man, and to dive deeper into why he was bestowed honors none of us will ever know.
As for the other three “civilians” who have lain in state, they were Rosa Parks and two Washington DC policemen killed in the line of duty. Really! If you think about it, are any of those individuals worthy of such a high honor? Rosa, but not Martin Luther Kings, Jr? Two policemen out of the thousands that have died in the line of duty? Billy Graham, instead of your personal clergyman? Seems those folks that received the honor did so at the behest of someone else’s personal politics…at our expense. (If you notice, “at our expense” is a recurring theme to my commentaries.)
Further investigation of Mr. Graham revealed that he was probably a decent man, at least spiritually. He was certainly a captivating individual. I think he probably believed passionately in what he preached, so it may not be polite to speak of the dead. However, there are some facts that should be considered.
With the possible exception of John Kennedy, as he was Roman Catholic, it seems that Mr. Graham was a personal friend to every renown politician. If you’ve been reading my columns, you probably figured out I’m not much of a fan of most DC politicians, and the fact that Mr. Graham hob-knobbed with them all, going all the way back to President Truman, sort of rubs me the wrong way. For the record, it was said President Johnson was his best friend, which I personally find odd from a “man of God,” given LBJ’s coarseness.
As said earlier, I am no fan of televangelists. But an argument could be made that Mr. Graham spawned that entire industry. Considering the average salary of men of the cloth to be around $45,000, combined with the words expressed by Jesus himself, “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” the enormous wealth of televangelists just doesn’t compute in my brain.
Mr. Graham was worth twenty-five-million dollars at the time of his passing. Probably a modest figure considering what it could have been. And that figure ranked him only eighth for wealth by televangelists. His wealth is dwarfed by other “men of God” such as the obscene $760 million net worth of Ken Copeland, $100 million of Pat Robertson, or the $40 million worth of Joel Osteen. I just can’t get the picture out of my head of elderly widowed ladies on fixed incomes sending their tithings to these men so that Mr. Osteen can live in a $10.5 million mansion and fly on a personal jet.
Have you ever heard of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association? Neither had I. For all practical purposes, it appears to be a great charitable foundation, and I mean it no disrespect with my commentary. Mr. Graham’s son, Reverend Franklin Graham, runs this organization. He also oversees another wonderful charity called Samaritan’s Purse. His combined salary for the two organizations exceeds one million per year. While not earth-shattering, doesn’t that figure just give you a queasy feeling?
My commentary today is not to besmirch the memory of Mr. Graham. It appears he was a charismatic and historical figure. But worthy of all the pomp and circumstance, news coverage, and to practically shut down Congress? I don’t understand why President Trump allowed this to happen. It has all the feel of Washington DC royalty, aka the Swamp, versus us…on our dime.
As I told my son when he went off to college, thus exposing him to the brazen liberalness that is a college professor, when they speak on political matters, always ask yourself, “yeah, but who is paying for it?”
Perhaps Billy Graham should have been buried simply, like the rest of us.