Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reader Feedback: "Billy and Franklin"

Earlier today I posted divergent remarks on religious liberty made by Billy Graham and (his son) Franklin Graham.  Read it here.

Ben Brandenburg, a history professor at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina (just down the road from the Graham homestead), responded on Facebook:

 I'm not convinced the contrast is so stark. To be fair to Franklin, Billy only frames religious freedom in terms of Christianity (religious freedom for those worshiping in "churches", "Cathedrals", & "shacks"). More inclusive language of religous freedom for "congregations" let alone for those worshiping in Mosques, Temples, and Synagogues is missing. In other words, Billy's July 4th devotional lies in tension with Franklin's more radical Facebook postings, but it might not technically contradict the son. Still, some folks at BGEA may be striking for more of a balance here. I imagine there's some level of discomfort with Franklin at the HQ. And there's also the question about the original period of the Billy Graham language on religious freedom. BGEA will sift through Billy's writings, but it often doesn't date them on their website. The BG text sounds like 1970s rhetoric to me. He's more open about inclusive language regarding religious freedom in the 1980s and 1990s. Interesting times in Charlotte and Boone.