When much younger I always had a certain view of Billy Graham.
Until the Richard Nixon tapes proved me wrong.
As a Nixon history buff I have read and heard more of these tapes than any sane person should. All amazing and sometimes sadly so. History in the raw. Honestly, a great learning experience for anyone who is considering listening to some of the tapes. (C-SPAN at one time had countless hours online to hear.)
Which is why the news I read today about Graham wishing he had stayed out of politics is seemingly a true statement.
His (Nixon) recorded conversation with Billy Graham points to the disdain both men held for Jews. Graham boasts to Nixon about people of Jewish faith who have befriended him but then says, “They don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.”
When discussing the incident where Israel mistakenly shot down a Libyan civilian airliner, killing everyone on board, Nixon says, “What I really think is, deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up.” Graham agrees with Nixon, saying the incident will put anti-Semitism “right to the top.”
Other quotes, include Graham accusing the Jews of “going right after the church,” believing Israel intended to “expel all the Christians” from its country.
Now Billy Graham has had time to reflect. Not on his views I suspect as much as on the arena he chose to play in.
I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.