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Updated 23 May 2010

Cecil Bothwell

Extended Book Review

A man of the cloth preaching war? Hard to believe! Yet, it is true.

For six decades Billy Graham preached war and American hegemony to presidents, their advisers and to his "crusaders." Graham had a great deal to do with the rise of the militant right in American Politics. Graham is a master of backroom politics. Instilling fear is his modus operandi. His actions were most often self-serving. In the process he became a multi-multimillionaire. That's not bad for a born-again preacher.

Bothwell draws on public information, family documents, and interviews of Graham family members and associates. The picture he pieces together is at odds with Graham's public persona. It is compelling. And that must be why Graham has sealed most of his papers until after his death, sometimes long after.

Bothwell's selections of chapter-heading quotes are apropos to RoadtoPeace; they follow:


"It is when power is wedded to fear that it becomes formidable."
Eric Hoffer

Hitler proved this and his latter-day protégés exploit his truth to a "tee."


"Christianity is the most perverted system ever shone on man."
Thomas Jefferson

This from a founding father! Again, it is not the common folks; it is the charismatic sociopaths who corrupt and hijack the minds of believers.

Chapter 1 The Media Man

"We are selling the greatest product on earth. Why shouldn't we promote it as effectively as we promote a bar of soap?"
Billy Graham

Graham was highly effective in doing just that.

Chapter 2 First Shots

"Billy Graham represents a basic kind of patriotism in this country--an unquestioning, obeying patriotism, a loyalty to authority of the president. Billy was always uncritical, unchallenging, unquestioning."
Bill Moyers

This bromide fits the Authoritarian Personality, not to mention the socipathic type.

Chapter 3 Saluting a General

"Religion and science both profess peace (and the sincerity of the professors is not being doubted), but each always turns out to have a dominant part in any war that is going on or contemplated"
Howard Nemerov

Religion avails itself of the highest means available--science. Bin Laden proved its efficacy.

Chapter 4 Sinful Unions

"The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organized religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests."
Jawarhal Nehru

Nehru was right of course; he just failed to mention that far too many people fear death and the unknown to ever toss off a security blanket AKA religion. Graham took advantage of that fact.

Chapter 7 Versus Kennedy & King

"For Years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' ... This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'"
Martin Luther King

Unlike King, Graham never stood up for the rights of man when it counted.

Chapter 8 Uncivil to Disobedience

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice."
Martin Luther King

Exactly. And this is the Achilles Heel of the American electorate.

Chapter 9 Vietnam

" A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."

Some things never change.

Chapter 10

"War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, the lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade."
Percy Bysshe Shelly

Graham did his part in making all this true.

Chapter 11 Bombing the Dikes

"Those who can make you believe absurdities and make you commit atrocities. "

In the 21st Century it is not different.

Chapter 12 Domestic Intrigue

"'God's Plan' often is a front for men's plans and a cover for inadequacy, ignorance and evil."
Mary Daly

And so it remains today.

Chapter 13 Curious Conversations

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

Would that any '08 presidential candidates be this revolutionary.

Chapter 14 Secure Briefings

"Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism. "
William James

Could it be that religion is a tool for the sociopaths? We think so.

Chapter 15 Disavowal

"I was born a heretic. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desire."
Susan B. Anthony

Anthony was self actualized with an internal locus of control. Her personality type may be what is needed to bring about and ensure peace.

Chapter 16 Cross Purposes

"The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same."
Stendhal (Marie-henri Beyle)

Too true.

Chapter 17 The Saudi Connection

"War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives."
General Smedley Butler

This from a man of steel!

Chapter 18 Saddam is the Antichrist

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it."
H. L. Mencken

This is what has to change in our times.

Chapter 19 Endorsing Persecution

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do."
Benjamin Franklin

Did Franklin have no end to his wisdom?

Chapter 20 A New Crusade

"I increasingly regard the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color, caste, exploitation of labor and war."
W. E. B. Dubois

Graham fully affirmed Dubois.

Chapter 21 The Prince of War

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider the calamities that engine of grief has produced. "
John Adams

Unfortunately, and sadly too, Adams has history on his side.

Graham was a bigot; though that also is hard for many to swallow. But he was caught on the same tape that Nixon was that led to Nixon's impeachment. We quote:

James Warren, Chicago Tribune Staff Reporter."By James Warren Chicago Tribune staff reporter 3-1-02

Rev. Billy Graham openly voiced a belief that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with President Richard Nixon, according to a tape of the Oval Office meeting released Thursday by the National Archives.

"This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," the nation's best-known preacher declared as he agreed with a stream of bigoted Nixon comments about Jews and their perceived influence in American life.

"You believe that?" Nixon says after the "stranglehold" comment.

"Yes, sir," Graham says.

"Oh, boy," replies Nixon. "So do I. I can't ever say that but I believe it."

Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, saying they "swarm around me and are friendly to me." But, he confides to Nixon, "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country." "No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something."


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