I got an e-mail the other morning from a well meaning relative, apparently the Rev. Billy Graham* is running a full-page ad in the NYTimes, the text of it reads:
The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe that it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.
Apparently some of the satirical pundits are taking this to mean Mr. Graham endorses Obama, and there is an excellent Open Letter to Rev. Billy Graham over at the Huffington Post.
I’m not going to tell anyone who to vote for, or how to vote, but I am going to ask you to educate yourselves about the issues and think critically about what the Rev. Graham is saying:
- Which Biblical principles exactly? The Bible is full of advice on “Family Values” and how to raise children.
- Israel: if you want a quick crash course about the current situation in Israel and some of the history behind it I strongly recommend reading Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City by Guy Delisle.
- Biblical definition of marriage, do they really want to go there?
- What about shrimp? The bible forbids that too…
Then consider this: to focus so narrowly on “the Biblical” completely dismisses the fact a growing number of Americans no longer have a religious affiliation, and not everyone identifies Christian (shocking I know).
Freedom of religion in America also means you are free to practice whatever religion you’d like, you’re also free NOT TO PRACTICE, and the government can NOT force religion or religious views on you. Rev. Graham, and “religious” leaders everywhere, there’s a very fine line with church-sponsored political discourse/candidate endorsement and you’re crossing it.
I agree the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren is important. How about we leave a less prejudiced society? Doug Wright, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright sums the gay rights issue with this quote that has since gone viral on Facebook:
I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, ‘My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.‘ It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you ‘disagree’ with your candidate on these issues.
Instead of just paying lip-service to the “importance of family” lets do something to help families. Yes, the “sanctity of life” is important, so let’s help the people who are already here. Lets work together to help provide jobs and training to alleviate poverty. Give women total control over their reproductive systems (and stop making false claims about rape). Provide better maternity and paternity leave options. The Madcap Christian Scientist** has a great post about Healthcare (which I happen to agree with).
Lets clean up our environment, and instill in our children a love of science and nature. If they grow up appreciating the planet we live on they’re more likely to help keep it for future generations. I know some people think “Jesus might come back any day” so lets make sure he comes back to a nicely kept planet, according to them this is all God’s gift to us, so lets show it a bit more respect.
Lets raise our children to be kind to their fellow man, respectful of themselves and our planet. Lets go beyond the petty “Biblical morality” espoused by narrow minded televangelists, and practice kindness toward all.
And a quick reminder about God and Religion in US History:
2 thoughts on “Rev. Graham & Biblical Morals”
I did not realize he was 94 years old. Maybe he has changed over the years? Interesting!
Right on, kindism! (Your post reminds me of that scene in Field of Dreams where there’s some kind of meeting at the local school to ban books, and our heroine gets all fired up and tells ’em “what for”… I love that scene!)
Comments are closed.