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Billy Graham’s Daughter Gets to Say America Deserves Nuclear Attack

Pastor Steve Hickey brought to my attention comments made in January by Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of departed preacher Billy Graham, concerning America’s moral decay and its just desserts:

Anne Graham Lotz
A smile like the white-hot flash of a nuclear bomb…

“When you sin and you refuse to repent, God backs away,” says Anne Graham Lotz, whose book The Daniel Prayer encourages desperate, fervent prayer for personal and corporate revival. “You don’t repent and you continue to sin and you become defiant, and He backs away further until in the end, God just turns you over to yourself.

“That’s where America is today. Look at the end of Romans 1. He’s just backed away from us, turned us over to ourselves. As they say, ‘America, how’s that working for you?’”

Lotz told Decision Magazine it seems that God is trying to rouse humanity’s attention through the exhausting run of natural disasters, violence and even the natural phenomenon of the total solar eclipse last August that made a path across the entire continental United States—a phenomenon that some Jewish rabbis considered a divine warning to a secular nation.

Lotz says she believes severe judgment is coming and has partly begun. “And I’m talking about something like a nuclear strike, an earthquake that splits us in two, an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack that devastates our electrical grid. Something major that would be a game-changer for America, because we are so defiant and rebellious and idolatrous and immoral, and we know better” [Jerry Pierce, “The Shadow of Sin Is Spreading: ‘If There Is Any Hope for America, It Is with the Church’,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: Decision Magazine, 2018.01.15].

Translation: if an enemy nukes the U.S., we have brought it on ourselves. We deserve it. Pass the Bible and the potassium iodide.

Several years ago, Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, similarly suggested that America deserved God’s condemnation:

An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, screen cap from YouTube.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, screen cap from YouTube.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda’s attacks because of its own terrorism.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation [Brian Ross and Rehab El-Buri, “Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11,” ABC News, 2008.03.13].

Wright said the same thing as Lotz: America has behaved disagreeably in the eyes of the Lord, so earthly suffering wrought on America by earthly actors is divine justice.

Fifteen years ago, on the eve of the second Bush invasion of Iraq, my friend and District 8 Representative Gerald Lange offered a resolution to the South Dakota Legislature acknowledging the threat Iraq posed to world peace but urging the President and Congress to stick with containment instead of pursuing a pre-emptive strike that could provoke “increased terrorism… and long-term ‘blow-back’.” In response to a challenging hypothetical question from Rep. Larry Rhoden about whether he would go back to July 2001 and pre-emptively strike “the al-Qaeda” to prevent the September 11 terrorist attacks, Air Force veteran Rep. Lange offered a typically philosophical and Christian response:

Rep. Gerald Lange
Rep. Gerald Lange

You have to take a little history. What did we do to make the al-Qaeda? What kind of actions have led up to this?

And so to take a point in history and say what would you decide to do, you know, would you decide to drop the atomic bomb if you knew it would shorten the war, questions like that are incredibly difficult for somebody who’s been in the military and understands what happens when people take violent action against each other.

I would absorb the punishment in the true Christian fashion and then seek justice by arresting people like we arrested this Khalid the other day and going after them with an international law perspective. All of what brought this on is not just now. This is a history of antagonism toward the Muslims and our involvement in the Middle East with oil, our involvement in the Middle East defending Israel, and sometimes unfairly, and inviting the hatred of people which seems totally out of order. Why would they hate us? What have we done to offend them?

So I guess the most constructive thing to do was to sit back and say, O.K., we might have sone something wrong in the past to invite this kind of attack. If you can figure out what you did wrong to invite that kind of attack, then you have to go on from there and figure out is there a new course of action that would disarm these people voluntarily?

Now maybe there’s so much Satanism in the world that you can’t do anything but counteract the Satanism with more Satanism, in other words, violence with violence. But I can’t see that as leading to any constructive conclusion, do you? [Rep. Gerry Lange, response to question from House State Affairs, hearing on HCR 1018, 2003.03.05; transcribed from SDPB audio, timestamp ~29:30]

Lange didn’t go as far as Lotz and Wright and claim divine justice; he just spoke to the practical and moral truth, agreed to by people like Republican legislator Stace Nelson, that violence begets violence. But all three speakers offer the same fundamental warning: sometimes America takes bad actions that provoke bad consequences.

For his comments, liberal Democrat Gerry Lange incurred the wrath of South Dakota Republican propagandists who portrayed Lange’s peaceful Christian discourse on history and foreign policy as cause for nausea, shock, and horror and branded Lange “an apologist for terrorists.”

For his comments, black pastor Wright incurred the wrath of national Republicans who derided Wright as an unpatriotic radical and lured primary candidate Hillary Clinton into political haymaking. Even primary candidate Obama felt it necessary to disavow the statements and the man who officiated at his wedding and baptized his daughters.

For her comments, white favorite of the power elite Anne Graham Lotz gets no blowback and remains a welcome guest at the White House.

The prophetic voice always provokes blowback. But some prophetic voices provoke more blowback than others.

26 Comments

  1. mike from iowa 2018-03-24

    This quack pulled a similar stunt in May of 2015.

  2. Ryan 2018-03-24

    It frankly blows my mind that people can walk around and say this kind of stuff out loud without being hilariously and universally mocked. I can’t even imagine what it’s like in somebody’s brain who actually truly believes that kinda crap. And just for clarity, I only mean the god parts. I think the US has indeed done a lot of terrible stuff and may one day be on the other side of the coin.

  3. Bucko Bear 2018-03-24

    …. of course, Wright’s doG was black and Lange’s was a Democrat.

  4. Rorschach 2018-03-24

    This talk of the eclipse being a sign from God rather than a predictable astronomical occurrence is nutty. And the practice of religious leaders making end-of-the-world predictions has a long and dubious history. A stopped clock is right two times a day, and these religious soothsayers are all hoping that their prophesies, unlike everybody else’s prior prophesies, will somehow come to pass during their lifetimes. (We all know Anne Graham Lotz has longevity genes in the family). But compared to her brother Franklin, Anne is the sane one of the Graham family. At least she’s not foaming at the mouth.

    Now to the gist of her point:

    “That’s where America is today. Look at the end of Romans 1. He’s just backed away from us, turned us over to ourselves. As they say, ‘America, how’s that working for you?’”

    So … she’s saying that when God abandoned us we got Trump. And Trump is dangerous. We as Democrats should be able to go along with her at least that far, right?

  5. mike from iowa 2018-03-24

    Nice video (no sound) until kid rock and keith richards crashed the party.

    Should have been a warning in advance for us with weak stomachs.

    Dubya claimed he was chosen by gawd. Drumpf believes the same. I’m thinking gawd has a wry sense of humor or he/she/it just hates America.

  6. Kurt Evans 2018-03-24

    Cory writes:

    For his comments, liberal Democrat Gerry Lange incurred the wrath of South Dakota Republican propagandists who portrayed Lange’s peaceful Christian discourse on history and foreign policy as cause for nausea, shock, and horror and branded Lange “an apologist for terrorists.”

    President Trump’s nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, oversaw interrogation tactics so brutal that CIA personnel at one black site openly wept and requested transfers after torture sessions:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/gina-haspel-black-site-torture-cia/555539/

    When Rand Paul objected to the Haspel nomination last week, Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney accused him of “defending and sympathizing with terrorists.”

    Three points:

    (1) Jesus Christ defended and sympathized with sinners, including the ones who brutally murdered Him. That’s what he was doing when He said, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”

    (2) The torture victims in question had been arbitrarily identified as terrorists without due process, based on secret criteria established by unnamed government officials.

    (3) Even if those torture victims had been legally convicted of terrorism, the Constitution that Cheney has sworn an oath to uphold would have forbidden cruel and unusual punishments.

  7. Debbo 2018-03-24

    Really well written column Cory. One of your best IMO. Your comparisons are right on and highlight the absurdity and hypocrisy of poligelicals. Kudos.

    This column is also a good example of how they’re destroying a once viable form of conservative Christianity known first as fundamentalism, now evangelicalism. Believers with a heart, conscience and brain are dismayed and turning away from the phrase.

    Statements like this are simply lies made for political expediency:
    Anne Graham Lotz, “When you sin and you refuse to repent, God backs away.”

    Shamelessness is perfectly unChristian.

  8. grudznick 2018-03-24

    Ms. Geelsdottire, it is definitely one of Mr. H’s top 150.

  9. Kurt Evans 2018-03-24

    Deb writes:

    This column is also a good example of how they’re destroying a once viable form of conservative Christianity known first as fundamentalism, now evangelicalism.

    Those of us who believe the Bible is true have been referring to ourselves as evangelical Christians for centuries, since around 1530. The word fundamentalist, in the religious sense, originated around 1920.

  10. grudznick 2018-03-24

    Mr. Evans writes:

    Those of us who believe the Bible is true have been referring to ourselves as evangelical Christians for centuries, since around 1530. The word fundamentalist, in the religious sense, originated around 1920.

    I had no idea you had been an overgodder for so long, sir. That is a very long time to delude yourself.

  11. Jerry Hoekstra 2018-03-25

    Where did the idea of “puff Graham” come from and is it ever going to stop selling barrels of ink.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1997-06-07/local/me-1034_1_billy-graham-recalls

    In a biography of Billy Graham, America’s pastor said he got a letter from Senator Joe McCarthy. Graham said he wanted nothing to do with Joe’s antics and there was no response to the letter. I would like to see the letter someday. I suspect if Billy had given a hearing to Joe that would have been the end of all this puffing.

    thanks,
    Jerry

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-25

    I’m thinking about the end of Rohr’s line, the possibility of connecting Lotz’s warning with Il Duce’s mis-administration: it seems that Trump’s Christians forget that Trump and the Republicans are in charge. It’s as if God’s wrath is on time delay, meaning they will still blame Obama for any judgment God issues, but they are willing to give credit for any economic gains after November 8, 2016, to Trump rather than the inertia of Obama-era policies.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-25

    Thanks, Debbo! Would the correct Christian response be, “God doesn’t back away from man; man backs away from God”?

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-25

    Interesting—for the first time, Jerry H provides a link that does not lead to some racist, anti-Semitic, or paranoiac claptrap. The article notes that Graham was a product of media hype, not profound theology. Interesting.

    On Billy Graham and McCarthy:

    Politics could have been the destructive element for Graham, since he started his rise in the age of Eisenhower and for a time was a fervent red hunter, an admirer of Senator Joe McCarthy and an overall basher of the left, as here in a radio broadcast of 1953: “While nobody likes a watchdog, and for that reason many investigation committees are unpopular, I thank God for men who, in the face of public denouncement and ridicule, go loyally on in their work of exposing the pinks, the lavenders and the reds who have sought refuge beneath the wings of the American eagle and from that vantage point try in every subtle, undercover way to bring comfort, aid and help to the greatest enemy we have ever known—communism” [Harold Bloom, “Billy Graham,” Time, 2007.08.15].

    Maybe any punishment we get from God is for following Graham and his descendants.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-25

    Communism doesn’t kill people; communists kill people! :-D

    Anti-communism doesn’t put people on blacklists and violate civil rights; deluded power-grabbers masquerading under the mantle of anti-communism put people on blacklists and violate civil rights!

    Real harm done by communists does not justify real harm done by Joe McCarthy or Graham’s defense of the vile tactics McCarthy used.

    Of course, McCarthy’s and Graham’s sins do not justify killing millions of Americans in a nuclear attack.

  16. Kurt Evans 2018-03-26

    Cory writes:

    Communism doesn’t kill people; communists kill people! :-D

    Or maybe: “Communists kill people who starve to death in the prison camps; communism kills people who starve to death in the public streets.”

    (I’d say you’re mostly right about Billy’s defense of McCarthy’s tactics, and I think Billy would have admitted that in hindsight.)

  17. bearcreekbat 2018-03-26

    How about neither communism nor communists kill people, rather killers of all persuasions kill people.

  18. mike from iowa 2018-03-26

    Billy Graham would have crawled under as woodpile with a poisonous snake if it would have advanced Billy Graham worth mention.

  19. Kurt Evans 2018-03-26

    “bearcreekbat” writes:

    How about neither communism nor communists kill people, rather killers of all persuasions kill people.

    An apologist defending and sympathizing with communists. I guess that brings this discussion around full circle. :-)

  20. bearcreekbat 2018-03-27

    Kurt, you are generally quite strict about using language correctly. I fail to see how you have concluded that my statement makes me an apologist for anything, including communists or communism. As I understand communism it is an economic theory, not a theory requiring killing of others.

    Some people who adopt that economic theory certainly kill others, just as some people who adopt capitalism as an economic theory kill others. Some people who choose eggs for breakfast kill others, while some people who prefer biscuits and gravy hair kill others. To suggest that choice of economic system makes killers is as absurd as suggesting one’s breakfast choice makes killers.

  21. Kurt Evans 2018-03-27

    “bearcreekbat” writes:

    Kurt, you are generally quite strict about using language correctly. I fail to see how you have concluded that my statement makes me an apologist for anything, including communists or communism.

    An apologist is just someone who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something. You’re clearly defending communists against any suggestion “that choice of economic system makes killers.” That’s fine. My remark about bringing the discussion around full circle was intended in a lighthearted way.

  22. bearcreekbat 2018-03-27

    Pointing out an incorrect statement about an economic system doesn’t constitute defending that economic system. For example, if you claimed Stalin never caused the death of anyone and I pointed out that such a statement is incorrect because, in actual fact, he caused the slaughter of innocent people, I don’t think you could call me an apologist for Stalin.

  23. Kurt Evans 2018-03-27

    … if you claimed Stalin never caused the death of anyone and I pointed out that such a statement is incorrect because, in actual fact, he caused the slaughter of innocent people, I don’t think you could call me an apologist for Stalin.

    True. If you write in defense of the view that 20th-century communists weren’t guilty of causing the deaths of innocent people, then you’re an apologist for communists. If you write in defense of the view that Stalin was guilty of causing the deaths of innocent people, then you’re an apologist against Stalin.

  24. Alan Finch 2018-07-25

    America has many serious sins for which it will experience a number of judgments, but will not experience the judgment of a nuclear attack upon it’s own soil, because America has been a friend to Israel.

    If it were not for America, the enemies of Israel would have already attacked Israel with great force. Therefore, God will honor our friendship with Israel, and spare America from being attacked on it’s own soil by nuclear weapons.

    Also, the smaller nations would not dare attack America with nuclear weapons on it’s own soil, because they know that it would be complete suicide for their nation. The much larger nations would not attack America on it’s own soil, because they are not interested in crossing that line, which would be a point of no return.

    The enemies of Israel are really only interested in destroying the nation of Israel. The nations such as Russian and China, who America perceives to be it’s biggest threats, are more concerned about gaining control of the oil in their part of the world, than anything else.

    Make no mistake, America will not escape a number of other judgments for it’s serious sins.

    One of the great judgments of God upon America, will be a financial collapse of such magnitude that it will bring America to it’s knees. This financial collapse is going to cause great upheaval in America. America thinks of itself as a Godly Christian nation, but this great shaking of America by God, will reveal the true Spiritual condition of the Church in America.

    Yes, the moral decay of America continues to worsen more and more, but the Spiritual condition of the Church in America is also in great decay.

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