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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Marshall Frady and Billy Graham

     In his prologue to his 1979 biography of Billy Graham Marshall Frady shares Billy Graham's routine of getting ready for one of his jello baths of evangelical escapes from the troubles of this world, the Revival Crusade events of the 50s 60s and 70s. Billy would seek isolation for two hours and get in the Word, polish his notes-- even Ruth was not to distrub him. And often he would slip off into a light nap before the event and have a recurring dream. He is away , out of the country somewhere, and there has been a Presidential election in America and nobody will tell him who won, and then he wakes.
     Dartmouth Religion Chair Randall Balmer had an incisive paragraph about the Presidential politics of Graham in his 2014 biography of Jimmy Carter's religious political pilgrimage, The Redeemer President. In the fall of 1980 Billy Graham placed a call to Paul Laxalt of the Reagan team wanting to help the Reagan team. Balmer picks up the story there:

     Graham's statement of "neutrality" in the 1980 campaign was at the least, disingenuous. Nor was this the first political campaign where Graham pushed the boundaries of credibility. Twenty years earlier, August, 1960,  Graham had sent a letter to JFK, pledging he would not raise the "religious Issue" in the fall l campaign. Eight days later Graham convened a a group of American Protestant ministers in Montreux Switzerland, to strategize about how they might prevent Kennedy's election in November.  {Graham also contacted Henry Luce of Time and wrote him]: " I want to help Nixon without blatantly endorsing him". Graham drafted an article praising Nixon that stopped just short of endorsing him. Luce was prepared to run it in Life Magazine but pulled it at the last minute.
    In 1960 eight days had elapsed between Graham's letter of assurance to Kennedy and the Montreux gathering. In the 1980 campaign 11 days separated Graham's phone call to Laxalt and his pledge of neutrality to a staff member (Bob Maddox) of the Carter camp. End Balmer Quote

     Grant Wacker has just published a new biography of Billy Graham the fifth major work all of them close to 400 pages or more. Steven Miller had a shorter work a couple years ago focussing on Graham's politics with Nixon and Billy's navigation of the Civil Rights era. UNC proff Molly Worthy, author of The Apostles of Reason a most insightful work on the hundred year struggle of American evangelicals  with the concept of inerrancy with a chapter on the turmoil the last quarter century in the Southern Baptist Convention; Molly has an exhaustive review of Wacker's bio in the Feb 23 issue of Nation magazine. Of Wacker's effort Worthen says: "The result is the most comprehensive and balanced analysis of Billy Graham ever published. Wacker makes a convincing case that Graham was indeed an icon of his ageā€”but he was hardly a crusader who changed history."

    Steven Miller in his book on Nixon and Graham saw the double minded ways, the duplicity in which Graham spoke; but the product of his actions as it came to be in the Bush 43 years something else entirely. While Graham decried the rhetoric of conservative Christian political preachers and activists his activity benefitted most those he decried. Miller further laments: " Most of his supporters interpretted him as an evangelist and nothing else, a reality that makes a sensitive consideration of his full political and cultural significance something of a challenge"

     But it is likely Baptist preacher's son Marshall Frady who got Billy right for all time, and did so almost 40 years ago.
    Marshall Frady was a 1963 graduate of Furman University. He died in 2004, There is a great tribute to him online,   an easy google search for the Unvanquished, Scott Sherman, author. And Hal Crowther, a frequent columnist for Oxford American Magazine had a stellar tribute when Frady died, now in a collection of Crowther's essays Gather at the River. And most recently, Miller of the Nixon/Graham book presented a paper on Marshall Frady and Billy Graham at the Worlds of Billy Graham Conference at Wheaton in the fall of 2013. Those presentations have been collected in an anthology to be published by Harvard Press in 2016.
     Jesse Jackson and Frady were lifelong friends since Frady's days at Furman when Jackson was a vendor in the stands for Furman's basketball games at the Old Greenville Auditorium downtown. They had an understanding, whoever died first the other would do a eulogy.
    At the service for Frady in the winter of 2004, Furman Chaplain Jim PItts and retired OT proff T.C. Smith were ambassadors for Will Campbell to Frady's rites and read a a commendation of Frady's life by Campbell.
     Joe Cumming was the Newsweek bureau chief in 60s Atlanta for Newsweek magazine, and Frady's first boss just two years after Furman. In the fall of 1965, just six months afther the Selma Bridge crossing, Frady was writing for Newsweek from Lowndes County Alabama on the trial for the murder of Jonathan Daniels.
    T.C. Smith had marched with King in Selma, and Furman grad Martin England, a founder of Koinonia Farms, was there with him. England had been the first courier out of the Birmingham jail of Martin Luther King's great letter.
    Cumming's son Doug currently teaches journalism at Washington and  Lee University. For the last two years he has studied Frady's papers now housed at Emory. In the fall of 2014 in the Journal of Literary Studies Cumming had a piece on Frady's ordeal with the legal team of the Billy Graham's network as Graham's people attempted to sabotage publication of his 79 Billy Graham, A Parable of American Righteousness.
     Cumming says in the portrayal  portrayal of Graham as Melville's Billy Budd Frady concluded  that Graham as the popular face of righteous America  was  an  " inocence 'distilled'  that  permitted a dangerous immaturity post war America had loosed on the world and the   Christian faith."
      There is one other book worthy of note as we go another round with Billy with the publication of Wacker's bio. That is Princeton's Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country. Thomas Powers in the October 9, New York review of books ( print issue only) does a masterful job about how rightwing Texas fundamentalists over a hundred years have created a mindset that has evolved from the Hot Hell of WA Criswell literalism to a template for the Tea Party of today. It is not surprising that Billy Graham who at key times tipped his hand to the crusade of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC--Charles Stanley election in Dallas, his closeness with Ed Young from late 60's to Young and his son Eddie's current theatrics in Houston and Dallas--would move his membership from FBC Dallas of Criswell and the Hunt Brothers, to FBC Spartanburg,S.C. the base of operations of Fox News and Tea Party darling Congressman Trey Gowdy.
    For the last several years FBC Spartanburg has hosted in conjunction with North Greenville College and other fundamentalist concerns an annual symposium featuring folks from Eric Metaxas, the man who hijacked the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to David Barton and his maligned church state and founding fathers history of America, toBen Carson and other apologists of the Tea Party right.
    In the Charles Marsh biography of Bonhoeffer he writes of the martyr's New Years's Eve 1944 concerns over what he called the "politics of stupidity". It is a lesson, an insight Marshall Frady tapped into in 1979; and much of the evangelical world and considerable portion of other bents yet fails to understand and accept in their estimation of Billy Graham.


Blogger Semper Fi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:40 PM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

My Uncle Prentice who posted this comment is a member of Aberdeen Baptist Church new Pine Hurst North Carolina. He is a former member of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church and claims friendship with David Crocker of Bread Basket and the late Carlyle Marney but has shown no evidence of justification of such worthy company in some time. For several years he has been aware of the Christian Century piece abou Erica Metaxas and his hijacking of the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.... Pre

2:10 PM  
Blogger Semper Fi said...

Some corrections follow: Aberdeen is near, not "new", Pinehurst. Dr. David Crocker is founder of Operation Inasmuch, not "Bread Basket". Eric Metaxas is a Male Theology Professor at an Ivy League University, not "Erica." His best selling book, translated into many languages has elevated the great Christian Disciple, Bonhoffer, into a Stellar Paradigm of Ethics and Augustinian Truth.

2:41 PM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

Christian Century says Erica Metaxas hijacked Bonhoeffer. Most folks at Snyder Memorial if they would read Marsh could see the difference. I doubt Crocker and Marney disagree with me and the Christain Century on this one!!!

11:14 AM  

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