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October 27, 2012 - Harry Eagar
This is about Romney and evangelicals. Well, not Romney so much as Billy Graham, and not Billy so much as his scheming son Franklin. Billy is probably too senile to know what's going on.
Recall, though, that RtO predicted some evangelical woes for the Romney campaign because evangelicals -- or at least that fraction represented by Calvary Chapel and the like -- really, really hate Mormonism. (See Calvary Chapel and the Republicans, Sept. 17)
In typical sneaky fashion -- and unlike Jack Kennedy, who confronted his version of Protestant hate head-on in public by addressing a ministers' association -- Romney sought an audience with the ga-ga high priest of American Pharisaism (is any event less in tune with what Jesus said in Matthew 6: 5 & 6 than a football stadium full of Billy Grahamites bellowing their prayers?).
Liberty-loving Americans cried foul, that Billy Graham Ministries was using its tax-exempt position to push a political candidate, but though inassailably valid of course they got no response. No bureaucrat is going to tackle Billy Graham by pulling his IRS exemption, and if one did the president -- whoever he was -- would have his head.
But someone did pay attention when Franklin Graham reversed decades of Billy Graham smears by scrubbing the label "cult" from all mentions of Mormonism from the Billy Graham Enterprises websites.
Although Billy Graham was the all-time champion brown-noser of presidents, I am willing to imagine that were he still in possession of his faculties, he wouldn't have gone that far. Maybe I give him too much credit.
While the political cowards who tremble at the power of Christianity held their peace, the Christians themselves did not. The Washington Post reports a sampling of evangelical hatemasters who are washing their hands (metaphor carefully chosen, you bet) of Grahamism.
It is hard to say how much of evangelicalism this little sample truly represents. No doubt it is common opinion at Calvary Chapel, but American evangelicalism covers a lot of territory. I cannot guess how many of them will sit on their hands this election because of Romney's Mormonism. But some surely will.
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