The Real Problem with America: "Professional Bearded Protesters"

On May 11, 1966, 3000 people packed into New York’s Philharmonic Hall for the 150th Annual Meeting of the American Bible Society.  Billy Graham was the speaker.  His speech was titled “Return to the Bible.”
Here is a taste:
America is facing a moral crisis that will ultimately determine the future of this nation.  The security of America is not being threatened abroad so much as it is being threatened by immorality at home. We are in the midst of a major moral revolution that is just as important for the survival of America as the revolution led by George Washington and his co-patriots nearly 200 years ago.
Most Americans hate to admit we are in a crisis, but its bitter fruits are all around us; the beatnik–the rebellious youth–the price-rigging executive–the draft card burner–the widespread cheating in schools–the professional bearded protesters–the pregnant high school girl–the dope addict–the vandal–the bribed athlete–and the criminal–and last the spreading terrorism of LSD

The suspects tend to be different in every generation, but the jeremiads generally remain the same. From the 17th century to the present, American Christians have always seen themselves as living in a state of moral decline and they have always responded with these kinds of jeremiads.
And here’s a bonus video:  Merv Griffin interviews Graham.

16 thoughts on “The Real Problem with America: "Professional Bearded Protesters"

  1. Come in, said the spider.

    Jimmy, I'm a veteran of these things; this script is so well-rehearsed. I'm declining to be sucked into a debate based on false premises. Here, I'll give you a chance to play straight. Define the terms:


    “Religious liberty.”





  2. He who controls the terms of the debate controls the debate. “Discrimination.” “Religious liberty.” “Marriage.”



    The latter two especially were trump cards to end and win any discussion: The first to intimidate, the second to [quite effectively] infantilize the issue. Only a meanie hates “love.”

    There was no principled discussion of the issue, nor will there ever be, for the terms of the debate were never neutral, the field never level. It was a contest not of principles, but control of the language employed.


  3. In your opinion you mean. Not everyone has the same definition of religious liberty as you do. Many of us call it discrimination.

    What is the reason for not allowing gay marriage? That is the actual problem.


  4. I did not have a problem voting for Democrats in the last election and I do not think I will in the upcoming one. You have your opinion and I think it is the wrong one.

    Here's the deal. At the end of the argument what is the logic behind banning gay marriage? What is the reason for not allowing it?


  5. Blogger Jimmy Dick said…
    Discrimination is illegal.

    This of course begs its own question. We “discriminate” all the time. You can't marry your mother. As for certain sexual practices or fatherless children, there's a difference between tolerating them [Lawrence v. Texas] and institutionalizing them [Obergefell v. Hodges]. [There was a difference.]

    As for churches not “serving” the needs of their people, I prefer not to discuss faith claims in unmoderated fora such as this. I hope Christians who voted for Obama wanted this, because only a fool would not have seen it coming.

    Hey, the toothpaste is out of the tube on gay marriage. Done, in all 50 states. The next battlefield is religious liberty. The Obama administration already showed its hand in Hosanna-Tabor, Hobby Lobby and The Little Sisters of the Poor, and I expect a Hillary Clinton administration will keep up the pressure against “discrimination” in religious and other private institutions.

    Christian voters should keep this in mind next year. Make sure that's what you want–you have no excuse this time.

    In future, Jimmy, I'd prefer we leave the word “you” out. It's unnecessary in stating one's opinions and ideas and renders only heat.


  6. Discrimination is illegal. What part of that do you fail to understand? Religion does not give anyone a excuse to discriminate against another person. The only thing you did, Tom, was repeat the same excuses for discrimination that have been used for decades.

    More likely than not, what you will see occurring is that more and more people will reject the religions that call for discrimination. That is ongoing right now. What will happen is religions that adjust and start paying attention to other things will begin to grow.

    The whiners will wring their hands like they have for years and disappear or adjust. Let's look at Christianity shall we? Divorce is not acceptable, but there it is. Out of marriage sexual intercourse is not acceptable, but there it is. Children born out of wedlock are not acceptable, but there they are. Churches have had to adapt or fail. When any religion fails to meet the needs of the people it purports to serve, that religion fails.

    Right now, a lot of religions are failing to meet the needs of the people they are supposed to serve.


  7. Fair enough, Tom. I was not making a moral point. I was just noting that this is the theme of virtually every jeremiad in American history.

    Perhaps the wrong week for it, John. Billy Graham was proved right. The court abolished not only theology but philosophy in this opinion, man.

    Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied.”

    The “Naked Public Square” Richard John Neuhaus warned us about is now here. We can no longer speak of “ordering society” when any principles of liberty except libertinism have been made illegal. Our children will be propagandized to believe that men and women are interchangeable, that sex is love, and the Bible is hate.

    And good luck to Messiah College, and other quasi-religious institutions.

    I hope this is what Christian Obama voters wanted, because you were the difference: Kagan and Sotomayor. We cannot pretend otherwise. And the flip side of the jeremiad coin is those who blandly–smugly–assured us that this day would never come.

    Well, it's here.

    In a recent letter to congressional leaders, officials from more than 70 schools, including Catholic high schools and evangelical colleges, said that a Supreme Court ruling approving same-sex marriage would put at risk all schools “adhering to traditional religious and moral values.”

    Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. In a 1983 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial relationships. Today, over 70 religious schools are concerned that they may be penalized similarly for opposing same-sex relationships.

    “I am concerned, and I think I’d be remiss, if not naïve, to be otherwise,” said Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, in Bartlesville. “This is not alarmist thinking. This is rational listening.”

    The spreading anxiety among conservatives — including Senator Rand Paul, who mentioned the issue in an interview on “The Daily Show” last month — hints at the potential effect of a Supreme Court decision backing the right to same-sex marriage, especially for religious institutions that forbid sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage. It also highlights the political battles likely to follow.

    Married housing is one concern identified in the letter. Dating policies prohibiting same-sex contact are another, along with questions about whether religious institutions would have to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

    Legal scholars said the scenario of schools’ and charities’ losing their tax-exempt status over their policies on these issues was unlikely — especially in the short term. But they did not rule it out, based on previous civil rights cases and an exchange during Supreme Court arguments in April on whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.

    “In the Bob Jones case,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said, referring to the 1983 Supreme Court decision, “the court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

    Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., representing the Obama administration, said that was possible. “I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics,” he said, “but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue.”


  8. That would be your opinion and nothing but your opinion, Tom. Of course you quote Rod Dreher, who is freaking out over the latest rulings. However, it does not give your opinion any credibility at all. John is correct in pointing out that Protestant Christianity has always been a doom and gloom affair in North America. We can even say that about Catholicism.

    “The world is going to end if this happens. God will do this if that happens.” It's right out of Genesis with Noah. We have not crossed the Rubicon. I agree with Gordon Wood who said that the greatest changes in American History occurred from 1787 to 1815.

    I use the Rip Van Winkle story in my class because it gets the attention of the students and shows them just how much change had occurred in that time.


  9. The suspects tend to be different in every generation, but the jeremiads generally remain the same. From the 17th century to the present, American Christians have always seen themselves as living in a state of moral decline and they have always responded with these kinds of jeremiads.

    I think that's unfairly dismissive, John. Graham was quite prescient: The changes of the past 50 years, the past decade, indeed of the past week, have no parallel in western history. A critical mass was reached; a Rubicon was crossed.

    Further, if America was never a Christian nation, it quite purposefully accommodated it; few were forced to choose between their nation and their religion. This is likely no longer the case.

    The Supreme Court Ratifies a New Civic Religion That Is Incompatible with Christianity

    So it's back to the catacombs, I reckon. It was a nice run, but all good things must end.


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