I believe I was about 12 years old when Dad took the family to the Los Angeles Coliseum to hear Billy Graham speak. Billy Graham was amazing. I still remember feeling the spirit. His voice mesmerizing me down the steps filled with over 100,000 people to publicly pledge my faith. Billy Graham always asked people to come on down and take God into their hearts. It was a transformative experience for me.
I had to learn to expand my thinking when it came to the beliefs of others. I don't recall having prejudices against any religious faith or group as you might expect. As I grew and learned about the struggles of others, I knew God had a plan for everyone no matter their beliefs. Who was I to say my faith was better or, in fact, the only true way?
The Rev. Billy Graham's son, Franklin, made an appearance on "Morning Joe" today. I watched with unease as he carefully disparaged President Obama by questioning Obama's beliefs, saying he was born to a Muslim father and, in the Muslim faith, that makes him a Muslim. It felt unclean, as if he'd been hired to do somebody's dirty work under the guise of religious leadership. Luckily, Willy Geist and Mike Barnicle were there to question his motives.
I do not believe the Rev. Billy Graham would have done this. I kept up with him over many years and truly felt he was sincere. His son is another story. He seems a didactic, smug elitist tutoring uninformed sinners, casting judgment, showing disapproval.
The extreme aspect of all this religious posturing by Rick Santorum and other candidates is creating a divide which will, in all likelihood, further enhance the President's chances for re-election. But, you be the judge.
Better you than Franklin Graham.