On Sunday, the gimlet-eyed Baptist planeteers over on Religious Connections discerned the spin given to Sarah Palin’s recent audience with Billy Graham by Billy’s son and heir, Franklin. The statement issued from the mountain top was pretty much standard Billy boilerplate:
It was an honor having Governor Palin and her family in our home this
evening. I, like many people, have been impressed with her strong
commitment to her faith, to family and love of country. I appreciated
hearing her speak of her own spiritual journey and her life in Alaska.
I shared with her my own memories of preaching in the Sullivan Arena in
Anchorage in 1984. We had an opportunity to pray together. Life in the
spotlight is not easy and I pray that whatever lies ahead for this
family that their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, would remain
strong and that God would put a hedge of protection around her and all
those she holds dear. Sarah and her family will always be welcome in
the Graham home.
But Franklin has been putting it about that there was more to it than that; as in: “Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up.”
Franklin Graham, whose engagement in GOP politics harks back to his 91-year-old daddy’s younger days, has been active in the Palin neighborhood for some years. He’s got a second home in Port Alsworth, a community where fundamentalists regularly gather for retreats. He keynoted the Alaska governor’s (i.e. Palin’s) prayer breakfast in 2007 and 2008. There is speculation that he was not the least among those pushing John McCain to put Palin on his ticket. And Palin joined him as his Samaritan’s Purse organization collected food in Wasilla to distribute to needy villages last February. So it’s hardly a surprise that he should try to conjure Billy’s measured words into an endorsement.