A Father’s Legacy

His name is Franklin Graham.

He is the eldest son and heir to the kingdom of Billy Graham.

He shares his father’s religion and worldview. What he does not share is his father’s ability to finesse things so that nobody realizes what total assholes these people are.

Franklin (who is actually his dad’s namesake—Dad is “Jr” and Franklin is “III”) was something of a prodigal son.  He spent his youth in, as the Bible puts it, riotous living, and had his miraculous conversion experience when he was in his early twenties.

This coincided nicely with Franklin’s realization that he was all through with school paid for by Daddy and that he was going to have to earn a living.  He found such a living running a charity, Samaritan’s Purse.  Franklin earned a hefty salary doing that, and has lived well (net worth something like 25 million dollars).

He now heads up Daddy’s organization and has become a big-mouth on television, much more so than his father ever did, busy offering his oft-controversial, always entertaining opinions on political figures, world events and the larger culture.

I hope you’re figuring out that I cannot abide Franklin Graham.  I have never had much use for his father, but Franklin is way, way worse.

Take this example of his lunacy dating back to 2010.  The president he’s talking about is, of course, Barack Obama.

ABC News

The truth, of course, is that all of us are born atheists. We have to be taught to embrace mythology as if it’s true.

He’s a turd.

He popped up yesterday to offer his excuses for why it’s okay for Trump to have paid off a porn star.

You guessed it.  Trump is a prodigal, and evangelicals love prodigals.

Just to be very fair, and  so we can all laugh out loud, here’s Franklin in a much more friendly setting (Fox News) explaining how wonderful Trump is and how fabulous the economy is (I thought that the love of money was the root of all evil?) and then he slides in “Jesus died for your sins” as they always have to do, like none of us ever heard anything like that before.

But thank you, Franklin, you dumbass, for proving my point about evangelicals and their love of prodigals.


Samuel Shaffer Update

The original story is here.

There’s followup here.

In this update, I’m going to assume that you’ve read the original, so if you haven’t and find this not making any sense, go read it.

Salt Lake Tribune

So, the two guys who took their children (without custody) out to their apocalyptic “prepper” stronghold, it turns out, had a little double marriage ceremony of sorts.

Did this make your blood run sort of cold to read it?

It did mine.

Joe Naugler has as Facebook friends about 10 percent of the people who are listed as Samuel Shaffer’s friends.  That’s a significant percentage. I did a little looking to see how many people on my Facebook friend list have that sort of percentage of friends with me.

The answer is family and very close personal friends.  They are all people with whom I share lots of personal interests.

I assume this is true of  you and Samuel Shaffer and Joe Naugler.

That’s from the article cited above. These men were endeavoring to spread the word about their goofy (and now we know, very dangerous) religious ideas via social media.

One of the mutual friends of Sam Shaffer and Joe Naugler is Mark Lichtenwalter.  The interesting thing about Mark is that he has two different profiles (like Nicole and Joe do) and Joe is friends with one of them while Mark is friends with the other.  This means that Joe didn’t see Mark commenting on Sam’s page and then shoot Mark a friend request based on that.  Joe friended him someplace else.

Here’s Mark, in his own words.

The biblical material quoted goes on and on, so I cut off much of it because how much of that crap can you stand, but when I first read this, I tried to give Mark the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe he was saying that “God” was speaking in a sort of general way about him.

But no.

Mark thinks he is a (THE?) Messiah.

Like, you know, the Second Coming of Jesus.  Or something.  Well, it seems he’s actually the Second Coming of Lucifer.

But “God” apparently didn’t bother to make sure his voice knew how to write correctly or spell words or use punctuation or capital letters. “God” prepared Mark all his life for his supposed role, but education wasn’t high on the list.

After Samuel was arrested, Mark went into damage-control mode and made a little video proclaiming his non-involvement.  If you find all this shit fascinating, give it a view.

So we have Samuel, who diddles little girls because he thinks he’s supposed to because somehow God wants that, and Mark, who thinks that it’s probably okay to diddle little girls, but assures us that he never, ever, has never, ever done any such thing, and Joe, who thinks. . . what?

It’s sort of interesting to me that this story has been in the news now since December 5.  Joe and Nicole love to pontificate on Facebook. They give their opinion out on every subject you can imagine, as long as it’s mostly cops (don’t like them), the state (don’t like that either), circumcision (agin’ it), guns (love ’em) or memes explaining how superior they are to everyone else.

Yet, neither of them has had a single word to say about Samuel Shaffer. Dead silence.

And they both know about the story. They know because I wrote about it and they read every word I write.

I find myself wondering why while the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.



Say Nothing

How many of us were taught by our parents that “if  you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing”?

I bet most of us were.

This is not exactly a universal truism.  It’s okay, and even a duty, for example, to speak up if you don’t like what a politician who represents you is doing.  It’s also okay with regard to very prominent, influential people.  I’m thinking here of Jerry Falwell.  When he died, Chris Hitchens famously said, “If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”

Hitch had a right to have an opinion about Falwell and to voice it. Falwell lived for controversy, reveled in it, created it, and was especially nasty when it came to atheism.

But, mostly, and especially when it comes to a funeral, it’s a pretty good idea to just shut the fuck up if you can’t say something nice.

Several years ago, a man died.  He was somebody I knew well, and had known for many years. I couldn’t stand him.  I’d never liked him.  He’d never liked me.  I doubt he ever had a good word to say about me.  The last time I spoke with him (on the phone), he hung up on me. I called him back and hung up on him.  Childish, I know, but golly I despised him.

He died.  He died younger than he should have died.

I didn’t care that he died, frankly.  I didn’t even feel badly for his family because I believe they are all much better off without him.

But you know what?  I never said so publicly.  I said so to Dave, and that is it.  Even now, I’m not going to identify him.  It’s just not useful to say something like that.  There were a few people who didn’t like our son, and there was one guy who expressed that in public, in an online forum, in the days immediately after his death.  I read it. I know how it feels to read something like that, and I don’t want to cause anyone to feel that sort of pain, so I refrain.

If I don’t like the person who has died, and if they weren’t particularly prominent, or someone who was influential in my own life and/or the lives of people close to me directly on a large scale, the proper behavior for me is to say nothing at all.

Let’s go back to Jerry Falwell.  Hitchens said what he said in order to minimize the adulation that would occur with Falwell’s legacy.  He wanted to lessen Falwell’s posthumous impact, with good reason. He wasn’t saying something nasty just to be nasty.  He had a purpose in mind, a positive outcome he was reaching for.

What purpose could it have served if I said publicly I didn’t like the person that I knew that died?  What good could have come of that?


And I knew it, so I said. . . nothing.

The president of the Mormon church died.

Nicole is not a member of the Mormon church, by her own words. She left the Mormon church.

She did not know this man personally.  He didn’t affect her life directly, because to my knowledge, he didn’t change the policies or tone of the Mormon church in any way that led to her exodus.

So why does she need to say this?  Why even post it?  The only reason for sharing that link was to give herself a platform to say that she didn’t like him.

She doesn’t tell us why.  We come away with no more information than we had before we started. She just didn’t like him. [This, of course, opens up the way to a question: Does Nicole like anyone?]

Some people are going to judge you and they’ve never even met you.

Maybe Nicole ought to read the shit she posts.