Tuesday, February 6, 2024

America's Church: The Invention Of The Evangelical Christian Movement, by Eric Striker - The Unz Review

(This is how DaSynagogue of Satan gained control of the American Evangelical movement.......if you dare to read it. - CL)

One of the most sociologically unique aspects of the United States is the everlasting prominence of Evangelical, or Born-Again, Christians. The group is known for its literal interpretation of the Bible, espousal of Whig individualism on both spiritual and economic matters, and their rabid Zionist posture on foreign policy matters, often rationalized through end-of-the-world prophecies and a largely one-way devotion to the interests of modern day Jews and the Jewish state.

The heyday of Evangelicals appears to be behind them, but they remain the largest Christian sect in all of America (24%), only being narrowly edged out in 2022 by those who checked the generic no religion box. The main institution where their influence can be seen is the Republican Party, where they form an important constituency and play the role of zealous activists.

But Christian Zionist dominance and the contemporary religious right are relatively new. Prior to the Second World War, Evangelicals were a small, poorly received sect operating on the fringes of the American Protestant landscape. Despite lacking theology respected among rival Protestants of their time and being widely perceived as con artists and gladhanders, Evangelicals were able to triumph over their competitors and critics to become contenders for the title of America’s church.

Dwight Eisenhower’s “Judeo-Christian” Nation

In 1952, Allied General Dwight Eisenhower won a landslide victory over Democrat Adlai Stevenson on a platform promising to halt the expansion of the Soviet Union and the spread of its ideas.

Jews had traditionally been most influential within the Democratic party, but Ike was different. He was able to distinguish himself from old money WASP oriented Republican primary challengers by forming politically and financially profitable alliances with prominent Jewish figures who would later play important roles in his two administrations, such as political power broker Jacob Javits, Standard Oil oligarch Jacob Blaustein (a known Democrat), Maxwell Rabb (Eisenhower’s top advisor), and Simon Sobeloff (the Solicitor General who played a central role in overturning segregated schools in the Brown v. Board case, as well as protecting Jews during the “red scare”). These contacts, established over promises to advance the interests of American Jewry and support the recently created state of Israel, gave Eisenhower a formidable edge in press coverage and big business support during the ‘52 trouncing of Stevenson.

Mobilizing the American people in support of new foreign interventions (such as the Korean War) so soon after a massive war was a top priority for the Eisenhower administration. The problem for policy makers at the time was that America did not have a cogent state ideology capable of sustaining the planned global democracy crusade. The Eisenhower government was acutely aware of this vulnerability, since the American state, through structures such as the Dickstein Committee (later the House Un-American Activities), spent much of the first half of the 20th century desperately trying to contain what they perceived as domestic threats: communists, socialists, isolationists, nativists, and even an incident where a German immigrant held a Third Reich-style mass rally in Madison Square Garden.

The vacuum created by the lack of an official, well-articulated counter to communism during the Great Depression was filled by the rise of anti-Jewish and anti-establishment populism, which thrived in both urban and heartland America thanks to figures such as Henry Ford, Gerald LK Smith, the America First movement, Huey Long, Father Charles C. Coughlin, and even an explicitly Fascist shirt movement led by William Dudley Pelley. Many of these figures looked to Mussolini and Hitler for answers, which horrified the FDR administration and spurred it into frenzied political crackdowns. A number of these anti-communist dissidents and populist firebrands even put aside their religious differences to promote the broadly secular, socialistic and nationalist Share Our Wealth movement (led by Long, Smith and Coughlin), which then transformed into a campaign against FDR’s plan to enter World War II. These powerful orators and skilled organizers found many supporters through easily understood and intuitive arguments emphasizing the lack of an American interest in a new European conflict, while also making the case that the US government’s support for the Soviet Union against Germany and Italy was evidence that Washington was compromised by Judeo-communist sympathizers and spies. Pre-war anti-communism in America was rife with authoritarian, collectivist, anti-interventionist, anti-Jewish and at times racialist ideas that figures such as Eisenhower and Javits saw as national security threats.

For Eisenhower the values and discourse of Long, Coughlin, Smith and so on were unacceptable and anti-American, not to mention frightening to his Jewish associates. Eisenhower, with strong input from representatives of organized Jewry, would go on to author a new response to the Soviet Union’s promise of heaven on earth, one that championed a vision of a racially egalitarian, individualistic, militarily aggressive, and most importantly, Jewish-friendly but loudly Christian United States.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president to refer to America as a “Judeo-Christian” nation, at times in a defensive tone when responding to “anti-Semitic” critics, but the strange and ahistorical portmanteau only became common parlance during the Eisenhower years.

A month before his inauguration in December 1952, Eisenhower outlined the worldview America would take into the Cold War:

“And this is how they [the Founding Fathers] explained those: “we hold that all men are endowed by their Creator…” not by the accident of their birth, not by the color of their skins or by anything else, but “all men are endowed by their Creator”. In other words, our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is. Of course, it is the Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion with all men being created equal.”

The main barrier for implementing this doctrine was that Americans were not particularly religious. In 1945, only around 65% of Americans self-identified with a church denomination, a figure that’s lower than present-day religiosity.

As the 1950s progressed, the US government and its private sector allies began propagating the new Judeo-Christian doctrine, saturating the radio airwaves with ideological programming, inserting “Under God” in the pledge of allegiance, establishing the National Prayer Breakfast, and creating organizations with the task of re-orienting American civic life around churches. Individuals such as conservative businessman and FBI asset J. Howard Pew bankrolled influential Judeo-Christian Evangelical publications, such as Christianity Today, where he would feed J. Edgar Hoover editorials to the American tabula rasa.

One thing that was retained from pre-war America was the psychological marketing logic behind the concept of the celebrity. The elite needed a Judeo-Christian superstar.

Billy Graham, The Father of Evangelical Christianity

As millions of Americans embraced the television medium, the potential for influencing public opinion enjoyed a massive growth spurt. Suddenly, the Jewish owners of the three major broadcasting companies — ABC (Leonard Goldenson), CBS (William Samuel Paley) and NBC (David Sarnoff) — found themselves in possession of a monopoly over the American people’s mind.

These men would go on to manufacture the Pope of Judeo-Christianity: Billy Graham. By the end of his storied career, Graham was indeed only second to the Pope in terms of his influence on 20th century world Christendom.

Billy Graham was an obscure preacher operating in the Carolinas prior to being discovered by William Randolph Hearst. Hearst, a lapsed Catholic, witnessed Graham attract a crowd in Los Angeles during a 1949 circus tent revival, where the young Southern man with Matinee idol looks burned through fiery sermons damning communists to hell while carefully avoiding racial or anti-Jewish inferences.

Understanding his potential to aid the mission of President Eisenhower —Hearst’s personal friend — the media mogul began furnishing Graham with favorable coverage, calling on his editors to “puff Graham!” Graham would go on to claim that he never met Hearst, but he quickly noticed the attention the publisher was generating for him and began politically calibrating the content of his sermons to maximize positive press.

A year later, the Jewish controlled (Adolph Zukor and Barney Balaban) film studio Paramount invited Graham for a meeting, offering him a role in the Judeo-centric, Zionist remake of the 1923 Christian silent film, The Ten Commandments. Graham turned down the film role, but it was at this luncheon that he was persuaded by ABC’s Jewish head Leonard Goldenson to pursue a different type of stardom.

Thus, incubated in the mind of Jewish atheist Goldenson, the first ever “Televangelist” program was born: The Hour Of Decision, starring the thespian and energetic Carolina Son. In 1951, the show premiered on ABC, and Graham’s addresses, which combined Judeo-Christian Revivalist theology and pro-Eisenhower propaganda within the structure of a variety show, were beamed into the homes of millions of Americans.

In the 1991 book Beating the Odds: The Untold Story Behind the Rise of ABC, a collection of anecdotes dedicated to Goldenson, Graham described the genesis of The Hour of Decision,

“Shortly after Leonard bought ABC, he asked me to go on television every Sunday night at 8. I did that for two years, either having a little religious skit or interviewing important leaders like senators and congressmen. I believe we were the first religious program on national television.”

By 1954, ABC was forced to cancel the Hour of Decision due to its abysmal ratings, but neither Graham or his Jewish sponsors gave up on spreading Evangelical Christianity. Graham’s new strategy would be to turn his live broadcasted “crusades” into high energy, entertaining mass gatherings as a draw to Hour of Decision listeners by holding them in major American venues with celebrity guests, including then Vice President Richard Nixon and later British pop sensation Cliff Richard. Graham’s staff was able to astroturf the crowds that filled stadiums to the brim by working with churches to organize buses of small-town parishioners — many of them not Evangelicals or interested in converting — to visit famous landmarks like the Hollywood Bowl, Yankee Stadium, and Madison Square Garden free of charge.

According to Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, his 1954 network television setback was balanced out by syndication of his crusades and a less glamorous version of his show sent across the country over the radio airwaves. The Hour of Decision continued to be broadcast nationally through his association with Jewish businessman Jack Lewis, who introduced him to NBC’s David Sarnoff in 1953,

“NBC had a policy against selling time for religious broadcasting, but the network made an exception through the personal interest of NBC’s founder and president, General David Sarnoff.

When we were on the ship returning us from Japan and Korea in early 1953, we met a Jewish businessman named Jack Lewis. He invited us to a party he was giving, during which a woman performed a hula dance. […] General Sarnoff and his wife were there, and afterward they offered to take me back to the hotel. On the way, the general asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Yes, sir.” I could tell he was surprised by my quick answer. “I’d like to go on NBC with my radio program.”

I’ll see what I can do,” he said.

Apparently true to his word, we soon were on NBC every Sunday evening.

Often we broadcasted live from various places where we were holding Crusades, from the frontlines during the Korean War to the Hollywood Bowl.”

In 1957, Graham finally managed to breakthrough with his blockbuster Madison Square Garden Crusade, which his old boss at ABC, Goldenson, contracted him to broadcast on live television. There was one condition, the Jews offering Graham this massive platform wanted Martin Luther King to open the event in prayer.

Graham had already began drawing the ire of Southern Baptists and his overwhelmingly white fanbase, but this was a new pinnacle. At the time of Graham presenting King at the New York City crusade as America’s moral authority, King had been organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was instigating racial chaos in Alabama. The purpose of this spectacle was not to win over blacks, which Graham never was able to do despite his contentions. The real motive, at least from the point of view of Graham’s ABC sponsors, appears to have been the utilization of a conservative seeming preacher by giving him the social proof (through being on TV) to morally undermine white Southerners resisting the forced integration project.

In 1950s America, white parents feared that sending their children to school with blacks would put them at risk of interracial violence and lower general academic standards. Following the landmark 1954 decision, Brown v. Board, which outlawed racially separate schools based on dubious social science financed by the American Jewish Committee, the Eisenhower government decided that Southern schools were not integrating fast enough.

Three months after Graham’s televised crusade, Eisenhower deployed the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, Arkansas, where shocking images of US soldiers marching white teenagers to black schools at bayonet point stirred anger and anti-government resentment throughout the South.

Graham and King were strange bedfellows — an alliance of convenience. Graham supported King’s racial politics throughout his activist career and both of them were fiercely pro-Israel, but aside from these superficial similarities, the two men promoted diametrically opposed political and religious programs on everything else. In King’s theology, Social Gospel, Christian fulfillment was to be obtained through socio-political activism, while Graham promoted to whites the primacy of individual salvation. Graham was a fanatical supporter of the Vietnam war and an ally of big business, while King opposed the war and promoted left-wing economic policies. Both figures encountered immense controversy among their respective audiences for collaborating, especially Graham whose increasingly inflammatory anti-white sermons caused Southern Governors like George Bell Timmerman to ban his crusades through the strategic use of laws separating church and state. The only connective tissue uniting King and Graham, who saw the Civil Rights movement through for its entire duration together, was New York Jewish media and money.

By 1965, Graham intensified his campaign to support King’s project, even cancelling a tour in Europe to target Alabama. There, he implored to his white followers to embrace the Civil Rights Act and racially integrate with grace. This seldom translated into formal action from Graham’s fans in support of the Civil Rights movement, but it did sharply weaken their will to fight back.

Israel’s Attack Dog

By the mid to late 1960s, Billy Graham was a household name, having used his fame and elite backing to take over the Southern Baptist Convention and frequently being promoted as a guest on television programs as far out as The Woody Allen show. He took his patented crusades spreading the Judeo-Christian dogma all over the world, usually with ample financial and media support from the CIA, the Israeli state, and the organized Jewish community in America. Every continent now had Evangelical missionaries that not only sought to convert natives, but also who served the American and Israeli intelligence services as covert spies and subversives, especially throughout Latin America and the Middle East.

On the home front, recruitment to the new marketing-driven fandom-cum-church was booming. From 1965 to 1975, Evangelicals were always on offer on the television and radio, allowing the movement to gain waves of followers and become the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

As Arab-Israeli wars broke out throughout the 1960s and 70s, both the Israeli government and American Jews began relying heavily on Graham to promote the Zionist cause to America’s Christians. At the time of these conflicts, American Protestants were heavily polarized on the question, with a significant number of clergy members expressing solidarity for the Arabs — who counted many fellow Christians among them — over the atheist Jews they saw persecuting them.

Important Christian bodies that had previously worked with Jews on other political projects, such as the National Council of Churches, adamantly refused to take a position on the ‘67 war. A prominent “interfaith” coordinator at the time, Rabbi Balfour Brickner, even remarked on “the spectacle of nearly total absence of visible support for the State of Israel during her hour of need.”

That is when Billy Graham came to push Christians off the fence. Graham’s response to the ethical problems many Christians saw in supporting Israel’s violent expulsions of Arabs and expansionism was to warn his followers that the Bible proclaimed Jews God’s Chosen People, and thus those who criticized the Zionist project were damned to fry in hell.

Graham’s 1970 movie, His Land, a Zionist propaganda musical featuring over-the-hill British pop sensation Cliff Richards’ (whose record label was owned by Leonard Goldenson) religious odyssey through Israel was a landmark event in fighting Christian reluctance. Both Graham and the American Jewish Committee sponsored screenings of the film throughout houses of worship in all 50 states as part of a broader multimedia push that included Zionist Dispensionalist Hal Lindsey’s bestselling pro-Israel doomsday book The Late Great Planet Earth (related is the fact that Lindsey’s consulting firm was staffed with Israeli military officials) to change the American people’s minds on how the country should approach the Middle East.

The tension between Graham’s Jewish handlers and the very theology he preached came to a collision at the ‘73 Key campaign. Graham’s rank-and-file supporters were highly motivated by the prospect of saving non-Christians with the word of Jesus Christ, especially the Jews who they believed they had to convert to hasten Christ’s return. This concerned Graham’s Jewish associates, leading to him, in full violation of his own teachings, to issue a decree to an exasperated and dismayed audience that they were now strictly prohibited from trying to Evangelize any Jews. Clearly, the salvation of individual souls was not Graham’s only concern.

Graham continued to play the role of the Jewish community’s shepherd of Christians all the way to his death in 2018. Throughout his life, he was repaid with money, awards, protection from bad press, access to both Democrat and Republican presidents, and even a tacky star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Graham would go on to spawn countless imitators searching for fame and gold, such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Pastor John Hagee.

What motivated one of the most pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist Christian figures to have ever lived?

We have evidence that questions the sincerity of his public persona thanks to the 1972 Nixon tapes.

Recorded at the height of Billy Graham’s pro-Jewish and pro-Israel activism, the private oval office conversation between America’s most powerful Christian leader and the President of the United States reveals two seemingly impotent, embittered and Janus-faced men.

In the secretly recorded conversation, Nixon and Graham both identify America’s Jewish community as a corrosive and dangerous force, “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.” Graham follows up his declaration by outright referring to Jews as “The Synagogue of Satan.”

In one remarkable segment, Graham even tells Nixon he wishes he could fight the Jews,

”I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal (A.M. Rosenthal) at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know. And all — I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.”

Upon hearing this sentiment, a panicked Nixon responds, “You must not let them know!”

The most confounding aspect of the Nixon-Graham tapes is that just one year later during the Yom Kippur war, Nixon dynamited the American economy and caused his public support to erode after unilaterally deciding to organize the largest airlift in US history just to save the Israeli military from defeat. Billy Graham? He spent the conflict acting on orders from Tel Aviv to bring calm to white Christians infuriated about the fact that their government’s support for Israel caused there to be no gas at the gas station.

We can only speculate whether Graham was gathering intelligence on his old friend Dick on behalf of organized Jewry, or if he was confiding his deeply held beliefs.

Either way, one can soundly conclude that the founding father of Evangelical Christianity was a high-functioning and cynical sociopath, just like the Christian Zionist leaders who followed in his footsteps.