When much younger I always had a certain view of Billy Graham–a favorable view.
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. I would highly recommend the experience.
Graham, the Baptist minister who over six decades preached to some 210 million people the world over and reached countless more through electronic and print media, in the process transforming the dissemination of Christianity, died at his home in North Carolina. He was 99.
In his later years Graham stated he wished he had stayed out of politics .
Given some of his statements and support of certain politicians his statement seems like a most perceptive realization. Because if one reviews Graham’s past there is much to be unsettled with based on his words.
The words caught on tape by one he strongly supported, Richard Nixon
The Nixon tapes show that Graham and Nixon both had disdain 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.
The recording are most damning to Graham,
”They’re the ones putting out the pornographic stuff,” Graham had said to Nixon. The Jewish ”stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain,” he continued.
Graham told Nixon that Jews did not know his true feelings about them.
”I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal (A.M. Rosenthal) at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know. And all — I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.”
After Graham had time to reflect and knowing his words were in the public domain he made a PR move to ease the stain of his comments.
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.
Graham had a need to be close to power and that cost him his credibility. That might be his lasting lesson for others.