Graham, Guns, and Common Tongue

Billy Graham could thrive at a time Americans shared a common tongue.

The Rev. Billy Graham is now with his Creator. I suspect there will be no more men who can transcend the divides of this country in the way Graham could. He was unique in his ability to share the gospel through radio, television, and even the internet. He did so with an intensity in charm that one lacking familiarity with his message could capture his point while those who were intimately familiar with the faith could fall deeply in love with it.

To the extent Graham’s death has elicited criticism and attack, much of it has to do with his common man approach. Some were left wanting. Others see a common man who garnered uncommon attention and think there must be something fraudulent about him. Elite opinion makers and leaders, often drawn to worldly comfort and not gospel suffering, have a hard time relating to Graham because they have a hard time relating to the common man.

That lack of ability to relate to common people is also one reason we see elite opinion makers in America champion Planned Parenthood, which actually does kill thousands of children each year, while savaging the National Rifle Association, which has never killed a child and whose members have actually saved others’ lives. Planned Parenthood gets a government subsidy to cover the costs of rich, white hedonism. Therefore, it must be protected at all cost. The NRA, on the other hand, likely has its sticker on the back of a gas guzzling pick up truck, and must be definitionally evil.

Into this modern America divide, it is hard to see how a new Billy Graham could take hold. The phenomenon of the Bill Graham crusade seems only possible in a post World War II world where Americans still shared a common tongue of idiomatic expressions. We have become so tribal that it is hard to imagine many people able to transcend their tribe. It is harder still to imagine anyone claiming Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life being able to transcend the divide.

American gun culture is increasingly wrapped up in that divide. There are 320 million Americans and just as many guns. There are gun owners who favor restrictions on guns, but the most ardent proponents of gun control want nothing less that a total confiscation of guns. They see an Australian gun buy back program as a model for the United States while ignoring the second amendment. They have concluded they can reshape the Supreme Court instead of amending the constitution. But that desire pushed a lot of people to vote for the present President.

Coastal elites in this country, the very ones who would have ridiculed the mass of people at a Billy Graham crusade, will also ridicule gun owners and gun rights. These opinion leaders blame the NRA for the deaths of kids in school. At the CNN forum, anti-gun zealots heckled the story of a rape victim who wished she had a gun for protection. Another told Senator Marco Rubio it was as if Rubio himself had gunned down students. Good luck trying to find common ground.

Except, the truth is guns remain one of the last shared bits of commonality in the United States. There are Democrats in places like Montana, West Virginia, Missouri, and Indiana who hunt, shoot recreationally, and have houses full of guns. The San Francisco and New York left may scoff at them, but their Democratic senators are up for re-election this year. The left’s zealous pursuit of gun control will only make it harder for these Democrats to get re-elected.

Graham, Guns, and Common Tongue
Democrats must walk a finer line on this issue legislatively than their most vocal activists would have anyone believe. In the same way, one of the keys to the National Rifle Association’s success is that it has worked hard to maintain bipartisan street credibility. One would never know it from the media or the loud voices on the left, but the bipartisan consensus in this country has been for gun rights, not gun control. That is not going to change when the loudest voices scream “murderer” at all gun owners.

Comments
No. 1-15
maxwelldonovan
maxwelldonovan

Knowledgeable people who care about the bible based doctrine more than understand the simplicity and practice of the gospel. Billy Graham's best feature was that he maintained the gospel's simplicity. The apostle Paul taught a simple gospel and spoke it in simple terms as well. Christianity REQUIRES repentance, death (crucifixion) to self will, rebirth (resurrection) into the spirit of the Lord and a life of walking in faith. It's not rocket science and exactly what Billy Graham always taught. My observation of his primary critics is that are either Godless, ignorant about Christianity or both. Billy's private life was also above reproach. Never heard of any scandals about him or his ministry. Maybe you should pick up your bible and listen to some of his preaching. Doesn't sound like you are very familiar.

Oregun
Oregun

I have waited to comment as many have an emotional attachment to Mr. Grahams movement. I do not see the critisism coming from elites but from those who care about the doctrine and practice of the gospel itself. Mr. Graham was certainly a leader in dumbing down the gospel to an easy believism found no where in scripture. A bait and switch emotional gospel without repentance or in most cases regeneration. Though it made it in modern medea and took in 100 plus million dollers per year it appears to me to have done more harm than good. More Simon Magus than Simon Peter, more John Tetsel than Martin Luther.

Bear8
Bear8

We have by example taught two generations it is not only okay to kill; it is in many cases desirable. What should we expect from such education!

IndyArcher
IndyArcher

@Xanthippe : It’s funny that you refer to ‘both’ sides calling the other ‘baby killers’ when in reality only ONE side is actually engaged isn’t the continual practice of killing babies. Weird, huh? The ‘other’ side is perfectly consistent in understanding that both opposing abortion and supporting the 2nd Amendment are designed to enable people to PROTECT life that is sacred. And in both the case of the death of kids in schools and the death of unborn in abortion clinics, the ‘thing’ doing the actual killing is the PEOPLE, not a gun or scalpel and vacuum.