5 Feet of Fury

Joe Bob Briggs: “Making My Peace With Billy Graham”

Joe Bob Briggs knows his evangelical preachers, having written for The Door (run by the Trinity Foundation, see below, which has its own problems), and hosted a regular comedy feature about them, “God Stuff,” on the old Daily Show

Count the number of times Billy Graham said “Jesus Christ” in any sermon, always talking more about Christ the messiah than Jesus the man. The fact that he was even allowed on network television, given the sensitivity of executives to religious partisanship, is some evidence of how powerful his pulpit presence was. There were plenty of people who didn’t like him—Harry Truman thought he was a bit of a self-promoter—but the nameless ones whose lives were changed at those rallies and crusades saw beyond the curly hair and the chiseled features and the smooth velvet tone of his voice and the “counselor to presidents” image, and just heard Billy trying to help them out. In a world where the pregame prayer at the football game had become a sort of pagan paean to Zeus, Billy Graham kept saying Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, only Jesus Christ.