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.
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 ...1