He's been held up as "America's preacher", lauded for his stance against communism, honored as the friend of presidents -- but that's not the only way of looking at him. Supposedly a-political, apparently he was hip-deep in the stuff of D.C.:
He was a power before anyone envisioned the Moral Majority, and in fact was its midwife (along with Jerry Falwell). But that stayed relatively hidden...Many things will be written about Graham's life by both disciples and his detractors, but if you want to know where the base of today’s Republican Party—the Christian Right—gets its mojo, look no further than this Southern Baptist preacher.The genetic makeup of the GOP is one chromosome away from Graham’s DNA. Today’s Republican Party is a neo-Confederate pro-corporation movement, thanks to the supposed life-long Democrat (when he wasn’t endorsing Mitt Romney)—the Reverend Billy Graham. A close friend of Richard Nixon's, it was Graham who helped the disgraced president articulate the “Southern Strategy,” which won Nixon the White House in 1968.
He's been called the father of American evangelicalism, which is stretching a point greatly (Charles FInney and perhaps Dwight Moody have better claims), but he was certainly the father of what we think of as evangelicalism today...With help from the likes of Pat Robertson and a coalition of anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, and anti-ACLU networks, the Moral Majority became the Christian Right. While Graham publicly distanced himself from the Moral Majority, this was done purely for political optics. The media’s gullibility in falling for the “genteel, bipartisan, apolitical preacher” narrative gave Graham’s voice even more political clout.
And his influence continues --Today, evangelism is synonymous with sacrificing the poor on the altar of big-business’ interests, and in becoming the most reliable and agitated voting bloc of the Republican Party since the election of Reagan, we can rightfully accuse the Christian Right in ushering in three decades of failed trickle down economics. The price we've paid for this approach is that America is now one of the most wealth-disparate of the developed countries. It’s the political descendants of Graham who shut down the government with their radical Jesus said replace every government-funded service with a for-profit corporation ideology.
That's hard to doubt. But it leaves a question: just how much of the responsibility for all this lies at his feet? Or, to put it another way, how evil was he?Come the 2016 campaign season, when the likes of Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum talk about how “Christianity is under attack” and how the “takers” are destroying America, it will be Billy Graham’s shadow you have to blame for that.