Jewish Leaders Accept Apology
Jewish leaders say they had a healing with Billy Graham, to discuss Graham's derogatory comments to Richard Nixon in 1972, during the evangelist's crusade in Cincinnati (CT, April 22, p. 15).
"He couldn't have been more humble and apologetic about it," said Neil Bortz, president of the Jewish Federation. "It was clear to me that he was troubled, and was really genuinely concerned."
Graham expressed regret during the 30-minute meeting. He also listened to the leaders' concerns about anti-Semitism and the Middle East. Rick Marshall, director of the Cincinnati outreach, told reporters it was "a private time for Mr. Graham to respond to their feelings."
"In terms of the larger question of Dr. Graham's relationship to the Jewish community, and in a broader sense, the relationship of evangelical Christianity to the Jewish community, I believe it was important to have a face-to-face meeting," said George Barnard, president of the Cincinnati Board of Rabbis. "I have no reason to doubt his sincerity or his honesty."
Michael Rapp, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Federation of Cincinnati, said the 1972 remarks were out of character for Graham. In the secretly recorded tapes released several months ago, Graham told Nixon that Jews had a stranglehold on the American media.
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Also appearing on our site today:
Graham Calls Bigotry a SinEvangelist calls for racial healing.
Previous Christianity Today coverage of the 1972 comments controversy includes:
Graham Laments '72 Comments on Jews | Jewish leaders seek meeting before June outreach. (April 3, 2002)
Nixon's GhostThe late President's tapes brought more pain—and a genuine act of repentance. (April 3, 2002)
Weblog: Was Billy Graham an Anti-Semite? The Commentaries ContinueBilly Graham's 1972 Oval Office comments about Jews have continued to draw reaction from newspapers and magazines. (March 11, 2002)
Weblog: Graham Was Seduced By Power, Say PunditsGraham's Jewish comments: the commentaries are in. (March 6, 2002)
CT Classic: On Befriending PresidentsBilly Graham's relationship with Richard Nixon was already a controversy in 1972. (March 4, 2002)
Weblog: Graham Says 1972 Oval Office Comments 'Do Not Reflect my Views, and I Sincerely Apologize'"Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made." (March 4, 2002)
Weblog: Nixon Still Haunts Billy GrahamEvangelist's 1972 comments with president called anti-Semitic. Plus many more stories from around the world. (March 1, 2002)
BillyGraham.org has press releases and audio from Graham's mission in Ohio and Graham's statement on "Intolerance and Prejudice Following Release of Nixon White House Tapes."
Beliefnet.com has the audio clips from the 1972 tapes, a timeline of Graham's relationship with Jews, an interview with Cal Thomas, and articles written by Richard Land and Graham biographer William Martin.
Article about Graham's apology in Cincinnati includes:
Billy Graham apologizes for anti-Jewish comments—The Plain Dealer, Cleveland (June 27, 2002)
Graham regrets anti-Jewish quip —The Cincinnati Post (June 21, 2002)
The Cincinnati Enquirer has posted excerpts from the Rev. Billy Graham's sermon.
Additional news coverage of the mission includes:
Graham mission breaks attendance records—WLWT, Cincinnati
Newsman now a volunteer —Jim Adams, The Cincinnati Post
Graham: 'God bless Cincinnati'—The Cincinnati Post (July 1, 2002)
Crusade reaches 96% of financial goal—The Cincinnati Post (July 1, 2002)