Can church ever be separate from state at a Franklin Graham rally?

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Rev. Billy Graham became less a counselor of presidents and more a political player, particularly in the unfortunate case of Richard Nixon, he learned a lesson. The Rev. Franklin Graham, heir to his father’s legacy, has chosen a different path, arguably becoming as well known for his politics as for his role as a spiritual leader.

Considering his remarks as he brought his “Decision America” tour to his hometown this past weekend, it’s a box Graham the younger is not exactly comfortable being placed in. But for the preacher who credited the “God factor,” in part, for Donald Trump’s 2016 win, that narrative is set. Vocal support of the president pre- and post-election exists right alongside his philanthropic and mission outreach — such as recent efforts in the Bahamas — through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

Before he took the stage, and as Christian musician Jeremy Camp warmed up the crowd, I asked Graham about where he stands and about the qualities he admires in Trump, who is making his own news as he battles an impeachment inquiry with increasingly rough and divisive language, on Twitter and at rallies, which is anything but Christian.

POLITICAL WRAP: Democratic Debate Preview; Franklin Graham in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis joins WCCB NEWS @ 6:30 to preview Tuesday night’s democratic presidential debate and talk about her interview with Franklin Graham, who visited Charlotte as part of his Decision America tour on Saturda

An American credo: Justice for some, especially the four-legged

Derby on May 4. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

OPINION — From the current administration’s indifference to congressional requests for information on the Mueller report to its hardening policies restricting those seeking asylum from violent homelands, one would think Donald Trump and company cared little for justice. But the president did manage to speak out recently in support of one particular victim he felt was wronged.

In a signature tweet, he said: “The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one.” (He has since corrected the spelling to “Kentucky.”) “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby — not even close!”

Yes, Donald Trump reacted in outrage, in defense of a horse.

Opinion: After Billy Graham, the Deluge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s difficult to ever imagine another faith leader being dubbed “America’s Pastor.” That’s because of the person Billy Graham was and the current political, social and cultural divisions in our country. And there is also the question of whether pluralistic America wants, needs or should have a pastor — now, then or ever.

Graham was never the universally revered and uncontroversial figure that many of those who now praise him remember. But in reviewing the legacy of a man who lived through much of a century that defined American change and who died at the age of 99 on Wednesday in his home in the North Carolina mountains, it is important to give him his singular, flawed due.

Obama and Trump: Two Presidents, Same God

If Franklin Graham did not actually endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, he stepped right up to the line — the one separating church and state. Graham was absolutely giddy post-election, when he gave credit to a force greater than the electorate. The evangelist and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse credited the “God factor” for Trump’s poll-defying win.

You might be seeing a lot of Graham, starting at Friday’s inauguration where he is one of the faith leaders invited to offer a prayer for America’s new president. It marks a resurgence of a familiar name when it comes to mingling politics and religion, and a continuation of a tradition in a country that doesn’t have an official faith but celebrates a National Day of Prayer and seems most comfortable with leaders who praise a higher power.

 

Christ Is Risen, But Campaign Discourse About Faith Has Fallen

Fewer Americans are flocking to religion, but you wouldn’t know that from the current presidential election cycle.

The politics of Washington are on pause for Easter break, but the campaign trail does not relent. And despite our separation of church and state, religion has been front-and-center this election season, often in ways that emphasize division rather than reconciliation.

 

Why Sarah Palin is here to stay

CHARLOTTE – Merry Christmas spoken here.

That could have been the slogan at Sarah Palin’s book-signing on Friday at the Billy Graham Library. As she greeted admirers, surrounded by the lights, trees and decorations, her message came across loud and clear.

“She’s gorgeous,” someone said, after she appeared to loud applause from the crowd. And she was, dressed in black pants and a black patterned lace top – glasses on, hair up and pen ready.

Many of those waiting in line wore a pin that read “It’s OK to Wish Me a Merry Christmas,” carrying through the theme of Palin’s book “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” which sees the freedom to express the Christian values of the season under siege.

Billy Graham’s legacy and the thin line between church and state

CHARLOTTE — Visitors to Charlotte often travel from the airport to the city center via the Billy Graham Parkway. It can startle the first time, seeing a public roadway named for a major religious figure. But you get used to it once you’ve lived here awhile. You realize how much the region takes pride in its native son, though the life and history of the man called “America’s Pastor” illustrates — in even his own judgment – how tough it can be to maintain a separation of church and state. Should America have a pastor at all?