How prescient he was.
I can’t consider some other time in our nation’s latest historical past—apart from the late Sixties—the place we as a rustic have been so divided.
Burning buildings. Fighting within the streets. Protests and rancor. Seemingly division at each stage.
It was a time of nice ardour on each facet, not not like immediately.
It was in occasions like these when Billy Graham shone the brightest.
The famed evangelist was a gifted peacemaker, not a trouble-maker. A bridge builder, not a bridge burner. He had the flexibility to cross the political aisle and work with nationwide and overseas leaders to get decision, and proved this time and time once more.
He was a preacher who recommended presidents, popes, queens, Democrats, Republicans, mobsters, the world-famous, the notorious, and the widespread man alike. He even attended a Grateful Dead live performance in an try to know what was occurring with the counter-culture of the day. And he pointedly invited leaders of all faiths and denominations to face with him on the platform at his Crusades.
Graham’s civil rights file additionally speaks for itself. In a time of segregation, Billy refused to permit racial division at certainly one of his 1953 Crusades, tearing down the ropes at an Alabama gathering and refusing to evangelise till they disappeared. He invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to wish at his 1957 Madison Square Garden Crusade, not an insignificant gesture in its day. He additionally recommended President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the stalemate over the college desegregation controversy in Little Rock, Arkansas, telling him the discrimination should be stopped and “Ike” should intervene.
President John F. Kennedy known as on Graham to help him with civil rights to assist construct the nation’s racial concord just a few months earlier than his tragic assassination. Their correspondence passed off the day after Kennedy gave his historic televised deal with “Report to the American People on Civil Rights,” through which he denounced the threats of violence and obstruction on the University of Alabama campus following desegregation makes an attempt by their governor, George Wallace.
“Racial or ethnic prejudice is a sin in the eyes of God, and no Christian should allow his or her heart to be filled with prejudice,” Graham was as soon as quoted as saying.
There’s no denying the place Billy Graham stood on racism. He was fairly agency on the matter.
So what would he say or do to heal America within the wake of the Black Lives Matter motion and the present trial of Derek Chauvin within the demise of George Floyd?
Graham had been making an attempt to construct bridges amongst races in our nation for greater than a half-century throughout comparable occasions of heightened division. Today’s state of affairs is actually not that a lot totally different to what it was practically 50 years in the past.
This is, I imagine, the place Billy Graham confirmed true management and tolerance. He didn’t simply discuss race and management in empty platitudes however wrote in his 1997 autobiography “Just as I Am” that he “expected the clergy to take the lead” on racial conciliation, not politicians, companies, lecturers, or the media.
He additionally mentioned, “Jesus was not a white man; He was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe. Christianity is not a white man’s religion and don’t let anybody tell you that it’s white or black; He belongs to the whole world.”
Today, when establishments appear intent on dividing the nation by race, rhetoric, vitriol, and identification politics, Graham’s reply was easy: God’s message to us was to “learn to accept each other and love each other.”
That could sound simplistic to some, however it was what Graham really believed.
Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, one of many largest church buildings in America. He has additionally served on the board of administrators of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for greater than a quarter-century. His new ebook, “Billy Graham: The Man I Knew” (Salem), might be revealed on April 13.
Views expressed on this article are the opinions of the writer and don’t essentially replicate the views of The Epoch Times.