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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Billy Graham & biblical values: polygamy, genocide and neglecting the poor?

Billy Graham & biblical values: polygamy, genocide and neglecting the poor?

... because nothing says 'traditional' like polygamy!

If legalising same-sex marriage could result in legalising polygamy, then why is acclaimed evangelist Billy Graham, backing Mitt Romney who is of a religion that actively practices polygamy? Why oppose abortion, and then oppose policies that protect the child once born? Why declare that your worshiop the God of love and justice and then back the genocidal policies of Israel?

The Arch-Bishop of Evangelism, Billy Graham, has publicly endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America, urging all Christians to base their electoral decision on 'biblical values and support for the nation of Israel'.

A copy of the advertisement can be seen at the bottom of this page.

The advertisement focuses on three things:
  • traditional marriage (aka opposition to same-sex marriage);
  • sanctity of life (aka opposition to abortion);
  • support for Israel (aka opposition to Palestine, Iran or any nation that criticises Israel).
These are hardly riveting policies on which the potential Leader of the Free World should base his campaign.

Firstly, it is interesting that Billy Graham has publicly endorsed Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon. Not that Mormons shouldn't participate in all aspects of society, but up until Thursday (18 October 2012), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website stated that Mormons belong to a cult. This was removed by the time Billy Graham announced, later that day, that Christians should support the biblical values of Mitt Romney, a Mormon. I guess that 'cult' thing is not as important as stopping a Democrat who is interested in providing health care to the poor.

On to the three policies that underpin the Billy Graham endorsement.

Billy Graham policy # 1: Traditional marriage

Billy Graham and his right-wing followers claim to support traditional marriage.  Which means that they strongly oppose same-sex marriage.

Much of the fear-mongering from the religious right regarding same sex marriage includes such bold statements as 'legalising same sex marriage will result in legalising of polygamy' (or bestiality or marriage with plushies ... or any number of things).

Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which is an actively polygamist religion, and Romney grew up in a polygamist community. His grandparents were polygamists who fled the United States because of its persecution of polygamy.

So, if there is genuine concern that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, why is it acceptable to endorse a member of a polygamist religion. Surely, there would be concern that he would legalise polygamy? Imagine if a Muslim was running for President. Critics would fear the introduction of polygamy, after all, Shi'ite men can marry up to four women. Or imagine if a Mormon was running for the Democrats. Would right-wing Christians be quite as welcoming? Would they make an issue of polygamy as they do when criticising same-sex marriage?

Graham calls for support of 'traditional marriage'. Nothing says 'traditional' like polygamy, after all, it has been a tradition for thousands of years, particularly in patriarchal societies.

Graham urges Christians to 'support the biblical definition of a man and a woman'. Like 'tradition', nothing says biblical like polygamy. After all, King Solomon, the wisest man in the biblical world, had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Billy Graham policy # 2: Sanctity of life

Billy Graham urges Christians to vote to 'protect the sanctity of life' (of course this is only while that life is in the womb). Once born it is on its own and there is no way that any politician who supports welfare and compassion for those who are born poor could possibly be supporting biblical values. I think that's what they are saying. Romney's policies negatively impact the poor and favour the rich. He will roll back Obamacare and give greater tax breaks to the rich than to those earning minimum wage.

Billy Graham policy # 3: Israel

Graham also urges Christians to vote to 'support the nation of Israel'. Yet, Israel has been the subject of hundreds of United Nations resolutions which condemn its treatment of Palestinians and its unwarranted use of force and military weapons on civilian populations. Israel has used depleted uranium and white phospherous in built-up civilian areas, and forcibly imprisoned almost the entire population through illegal 'security' barriers. Israel's agression and treatment of Palestinians over decades is tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Yet, Graham and other right-wing Christians never speak up about this; they fail to defend the victims of Israel's ethnic cleansing policies. Their God is supposed to be one of love and justice. Their God never gave Israel carte blanche authority to exterminate another people group.

Separation of church and state

Right-wing Christians criticise government intervention and push for smaller government. Yet, they are the ones who intervene in government matters. They are the ones who want government to pass  fascist laws to control society in the manner that suits their twisted interpretation of the bible.

Churches and religious organisations obtain massive financial benefits from the government in the form of low or no tax, yet want to greatly reduce the power of government and implement archaic policies in the name of 'morality' or 'biblical values'.

For a nation to be truly free and to represent the best interests of all members of its society, there must be separation of church and state. There must not be one interest group, (religious, business or other) which is favoured over another.

The reasons that Billy Graham gives for supporting Mitt Romney are weak, hypocritical and have nothing to do with running a presidential campaign or governing a nation. The endorsement is purely based on Romney being a Republican, a member of the right-wing, not on his 'biblical values'.

Graham should not be encouraging the easily-influenced and gullible on how to vote. It is not the role of the church or influential preachers to intervene in the leadership of government or in the democratic process.

If preachers are going to preach politics then they and their churches should pay taxes.

Billy Graham's ad calling for Christians to vote for Mitt Romney.

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