A Great deal has been written over the years about Billy Graham. He is perennially on “most admired” lists and among the most talked about religious figures of this generation. Not everyone likes Mr. Graham, of course. Some have erroneously imputed to him just about every base motive or action imaginable. Such changes usually have done no permanent damage, because a careful check showed the falsity of the allegations—or simple common sense dismissed them all as nonsense growing out of bad taste. Not that Mr. Graham is perfect. He would be the first one to admit that he is a sinner and has his faults.
So why the fuss about the recent biography by Marshall Frady, Billy Graham: A Parable of American Righteousness? It’s difficult to say precisely why this book has stirred so much interest, because in many respects it is the same old story simply retold in American Gothic prose. It can’t be just the style that attracts so much attention. Its attraction to some comes rather from its attempt to find a scapegoat for what is perceived as America’s moral malaise. That American leadership has lost its moral strength is a commonplace belief. But who is to blame? Failing to find the roots of this in liberal theology and situation ethics, Frady turns instead to the theological right and fixes the blame on the chief spokesman of evangelicalism. The result is a badly twisted picture of why things are so bad in America today.
So, Frady’s book is being read and being given maximum exposure in the secular press because it meets a basic need of today’s secular and liberal religious establishment: to fix the blame for the unfortunate results of their own presuppositions and ideology on someone else. CHRISTIANITY TODAY feels it necessary to speak ...1
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