Dear Franklin Graham,
You're not fooling anyone. I know you think you are. You think you're being oh so clever, using your famous dad to say your words like he's your own personal muppet. Shame on you! You're not being clever, you're being an asshole!
Seriously, did you not think anyone would notice? When the Billy Graham who has been steering clear of politics for decades suddenly starts sending out statements full of Republican Party talking points, did you not think anyone would ask questions? When suddenly everything your dad allegedly says starts sounds exactly like what you've been saying, did you not think anyone would put 2 and 2 together? Come on! First you pretend like he weighed in on Chick-Fil-A and now you're pretending like he took out the following full page ad:
"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 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 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."
Yeah right! That wasn't your dad, that was all you! Everyone knows it! I bet you think that people look at these anti-gay, anti-woman statements and go "Well geez if Billy Graham - Protestant Pope - thinks so then I better change my vote!" They don't. I can link you to some blogs and facebook discussions if you'd like. Mostly the reaction is just eye rolling and people saying "Great! Franklin is at it again! What a douche!" Like I said, you ain't fooling no one. This is all you and everyone knows it.
Now I realize that I could be wrong. Maybe these are the words and thoughts of Billy Graham. Maybe at 93, with advanced Parkinsons, your dad decided to become the Culture Warrior he never showed any interest in being before. Maybe. But I have my doubts. See my grandpa is 94. He doesn't have any serious illnesses like your dad and to this day his mind is like a diamond - clear and sharp. But he's still 94 and 94 is old. His eyesight is gone and his hearing isn't far behind. He can still walk but it's clearly with great difficulty. He may have some strong opinions but he's not involved in a whole lot of activism these days. He doesn't write letters and he certainly doesn't get involved in any projects these days. He's not alone in that either. Nelson Mandela is also 94 and when was the last time you saw him giving any speeches? I think that when you're in your 90's you don't really want to pick fights anymore. By 94 you've done your bit, you've passed on the torch to the next generation and you're just trying to live your last years with as much quiet dignity as you can manage. Well that's been my experience with every 94 year old I've ever known, but like I said, your experience may be different. I just really really doubt it. I think he did pass the torch to you. I also think you took that torch and promptly set fire to everything your dad built in his lifetime.
You can probably tell that I don't really care for you Franklin. Frankly, I think you're a snake (and that's really the kindest way I can put it). But I really liked your dad. Billy Graham was someone I really used to look up to. He wasn't like most spiritual celebrities. He wasn't involved in any sex scandals, he wasn't constantly asking people for more money and I never heard him make any claims of magical healing powers. His ministry was inclusive, not exclusive. He was for interfaith outreach and desegregation long before it was popular. In fact back in 2008 I wrote a blog post listing some of the Christians of note I really admired and his name was first on the list. Four short years ago I really admired your dad, as did most people. Saints, sinners, Christians and heathens (for the most part) could agree that Billy Graham was not like the others. He was a good guy. You think that's still the consensus after the shit you pulled recently?
My parent's generation may still go to their graves admiring him but my generation has had their memories of the man thoroughly sullied. Still, that's nothing compared to the new generation. All he will ever be to them is "that old bigot, Billy Graham". That's on YOU Franklin Graham, that's all on you. You did that. You destroyed the good legacy of Billy Graham and replaced it with something terrible. And for what? Really, what did you gain from all this?
So please, won't you take your father's alleged words to heart and think of your legacy? Don't be an asshole. But, if you really can't help yourself and you just for some reason have to be an asshole then please, speak for yourself. Don't be an asshole on behalf of your dad. But seriously though, give strong consideration to just not being an asshole, period.
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