Friday, October 26, 2012

Billy Graham's Endorsement Of Romney Gives Morally-Bankrupt Mainstream Christians A Reason To Hope!

I've avoided commenting on the American election because it's become clear to me I simply don't understand what's going on. There were a few pleasant months when that was not the case, when we had a President who worked out a fairly clear agenda voters could expect for another four years — a cautious tweaking of the Bush Doctrine, near as I could tell. And we had a candidate who argued that George W. Bush failed chiefly because he did not go far enough in his dismantling of market controls. Dramatic, unusual spectacle, this: someone whose take on things economic, military and religious was in true — but loyal — opposition to the President.

At this point it looks to me like the contender has altered his economic and military promises to more or less fall in lockstep with the President. The result, if polls are any indication, suggests the coveted “swing” voters want someone who will stay the course, so long as that someone is not the current President.

I don't understand.

I have to wonder: if the contender has undergone such a radical conversion in his economic and interventionist world views, what is to prevent him from kneeling before Billy Graham and reciting the Sinner's Prayer? Would this not net him a landslide win?

Ah, but as his personal Lord and Savior truly spoke: what doth it profit a man to win the election, but lose his soul? Or something to that effect.

Or maybe nothing to that effect. The candidate did, in fact, meet with Billy Graham and his son Franklin. And they prayed.

Although photographed and talked about, little has been revealed of this meeting, except that the 94-year-old “spiritual advisor” to US presidents of either party, came out of the room urging Americans “to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage.” No mention was made of the prayer's content, so we must assume Romney remains a professing Mormon. The clear take-away is, hey Evangelicals, do not vote for the (professing Christian) President, please and thank you.

This is only worth commenting on for three reasons: 1) Back in the '70s Graham sat down in Richard Nixon's oval office and engaged in a bit of mutual Jew-baiting, while the tape rolled on. Graham has since confessed remorse, and declared himself determined to steer clear of public political allegiances. 2) The only time Billy broke faith with this fast on political grandstanding was when, in his concern for the legacy he was leaving behind for his grandchildren, he stood before George W. Bush and declared that God was not at all ambivalent about nations who claim his blessing but torture their prisoners of war, and that waterboarding could not be considered anything but torture, so stop, for the love of God and America, please please stop.

Oh, hold on: wrong guy. Godless atheist Christopher Hitchens was the one who stood up and said torture was wrong, that America should stop because it was taking a toll on its very character — its “soul,” if you will.

Regardless, reason 3) is still pertinent, and gives us, just maybe, a little ray of hope: Billy Graham, the “World Evangelist” from North Carolina and the closest thing the Evangelicals of the USA have to a Pope, no longer declares Mormonism a “cult.”

Cult, schmult, you say. Who cares?

Well, Graham and his flock of Evangelicals care — or they did for many decades. Billy's website stated up until very recently that, “a cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect . . . Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.” According to this site, “That page went missing sometime between Graham's meeting with Romney last Thursday and the start this week.”

Here is where I see that ray of hope. I may be wrong — I've been confused by Graham's words before — but bear with me. It seems Graham recognizes that some “cults” have “Christian” values which Graham holds exceedingly dear — shared values, if you will.

Does he muse any further on that? If — if — Christian values are fundamentally concerned with the so-called traditional family, with unity of worship, with a vibrant faith community that unites to first address the complete needs of its flock and then the industry of its host nation, I would have to say that, at a superficial glance, the Mormons are doing a much better job of it than are the Evangelicals. Might Graham wonder how this can be, if the Mormons read fraudulant scripture and place their faith in Satanic lies that condemn them to Hell, while Graham's flock is blessed with God's revealed salvivic truth?

Maybe at the advanced age of 94 he's rethinking a lifetime of presuppositions which he has, for the most part, kept silent about. If so, there's still time for him to reconsider what the Bible does not have to say about a democratic state's definition and recognition of marriage — or if it even has any business concerning itself with those issues to begin with.

As for the rest of you Evangelicals now falling in step behind the Mormon, you know what this innocent bit of equivocating on your part means, don't you? That's right: you're the Mainstream now, baby! As a Moderate Christian feeling the heat on the lower slopes, let me be the first to welcome you to the fold.

We might not agree on much — we might not agree on anything. But we've got a catchy anthem everybody can sing along to.

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