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Billy Graham and the Oil Depletion Allowance

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Kent Johnson wrote on Facebook today:

Billy Graham was an essential actor in the right wing political takeover of evangelical Christianity.

From the time he met his wife Ruth Bell at Wheaton College, the career of Graham, son of a North Carolina dairy farmer, was guided by his father-in-law Lemuel Nelson Bell, MD. Dr. Bell had been a medical missionary to China, one of the many refugees from their imperial calling embittered by the Democratic Party's "loss of China".
Bell hooked Graham up with Youth for Christ, a parachurch affiliated with the Christian anti-Communist movement,progenitor of the Religious Right, and placed him under the tutelage of Pastor William Bell Riley, the raving anti-Semitic Conspiracy theorist and anti-evolutionist known as the "Grand Old Man of Fundamentalism". Pastor Riley, who believed in "an international Jewish-Bolshevik-Darwinist conspiracy to promote evolutionism in the classroom" chose Graham to succeed him as president of Northwestern Bible College in St Paul.

Red-baiting was a feature of Graham's debut on the national stage, his famous 1949 Los Angeles tent revival:

"Do you know, that the Fifth Columnists, called Communists, are more rampant in Los Angeles than any other city in America?" Communism, he said, "is a religion that is inspired, directed, and motivated by the devil himself who has declared war against Almighty God." (Christianity Today)

Business leaders of the far right immediately saw in Graham a vehicle for their goals of rolling back the New Deal and defeating organized labor, under the guise of fighting communism for Jesus. While the LA revival was still under way, publisher William Randolph Hearst wired his editors to "Puff Graham!".

Introductions to other titans of business and politics followed. South Carolinians Henry Luce, the Time-Life magnate, and financier Bernard Baruch teamed up Graham with governor Strom Thurmond for a statewide tour in March of 1950, when Strom was leader of the white nationalist Dixiecrat Party.

Later that year, Graham met the man who would become his biggest patron, right wing oilman "Mr Sid" Richardson, who would soon encourage Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president, in part by purchasing a farm for Ike and Mamie at Gettysburg, PA. Considering that that Graham and Ike were both sponsored by Richardson, Ike's sudden conversion to Christian orthodoxy by Graham between his election and inauguration looks somewhat unmiraculous.

So important was Richardson to Graham that Billy, who never lived in Texas, placed his official church membership at Richardson's First Baptist of Dallas, and kept it there throughout his life. (When Billy was at home in Montreat, the nominal Southern Baptist preacher attended the local Presbyterian church with wife Ruthand father-in-law Nelson, a leader of the effort to revive Confederate era Calvinism that resulted in the Presbyterian Church in America. PCA was founded in 1973 in Birmingham, at the height of the school busing crisis.)
When Mr Sid and other Texas oilmen were defending their Oil Depletion Allowance, a most generous federal tax break, Graham came to their aid by producing two feature films celebrating the Christian virtues of the Lone Star state petroleum fraternity.

Oilman J. Howard Pew, a John Birch Society leader, would succeed Mr Sid as Graham's biggest financial backer. He would join Nelson Bell as co- publisher of Christianity Today, which presented itself as the voice of moderate, mainstream evangelicals. ( Even while Bell was simultaneously publishing the newsletter of the Confederate Calvinism revival movement.) Together they ousted the erudite Carl FH Henry as CT editor because of his opinion piece condemning evangelicals who reflexively opposed the Civil Right movement. Repeat: The two Birchers who ran Billy Graham's magazine canned the editor who suggested that the Civil Rights movement might have some merit

To be continued

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Kent Johnson posted the following on Facebook today:

Billy Graham and Dwight D. Eisenhower were both assets of Texas oilman Sid Richardson.
In 1950 Richardson bankrolled the 32 year-old Graham's meteoric rise to worldwide fame and in 1951 recruited
Ike to run for president by purchasing a farm at Gettysburg for the retired general.
Eisenhower and Graham formed a powerful team in the Christianization of American government.
The story is told by Kevin M. Kruse in the book One Nation Under God.

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It's a shame that probably less than .01 % of our population will ever see, read or hear the real factual and documented truths about Billy Graham as described in the original post.

I remember countless national media shown prayer vigils with Billy Graham and Nixon smiling and hugging each other and Graham giving one of his American Christian sermons, all while our bombs  ( more than all of the bombs dropped by us during WWII ) were raining devastation upon our so-called unchristian enemies in Viet Nam. Millions killed.

All I ever saw Billy Graham giving Christian counseling and encouragement to were high society types.

Poor trailer trash America was not his thing. Nor ghettos.

Graham was definitely the 1%'s pastor of choice.

Let us bless the most financially blessed ...shall we?

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Billy Graham was much admired by my mother.  I remember he opened Texas Stadium in Irving before they ever had a football game there, it was a big deal in the FW/D news.  Now it seems maybe he wrote the letter that persuaded Ike to run for President (ahem) and went skinny dipping with LBJ at the Whitehouse depending on how you take his statement below.


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I'm not on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram, I don't even have a YouTube video), but I looked up Kent Johnson there, of whom there are several. Is it the Kent Johnson who is a Lutheran minister, or another one?



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