Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Dear Franklin Graham: If The Washington Times is going to pay you to write a critical op-ed about the Tucson memorial service, do you think you could at least muster a minimal level of professionalism and watch the entire thing? It wasn't all that long. It's on the C-SPAN Web site. And before that it was on live TV, on multiple cable channels. Too much trouble? Really?

Or maybe you did watch the whole thing and you (and your editors) simply assume that no other WashTimes readers did, so you can get away with saying things that are just spectacularly, demonstrably untrue.

Graham's op-ed, up to a point, is fairly predictable. After an egomaniacal opening (the first five sentences begin with "I"), Graham praises Obama's speech (as most right-wingers have), objects to the "pep rally" tone of the event and the distribution of T-shirts in the auditorium, and grumbles about the invocation by Carlos Gonzales, a Pascua Yaqui Indian (although he's probably the only commentator yet who's said that the invocation "more resembled an Academy Award acceptance speech than a prayer or a blessing"). But then we get this:

For the sake of these innocent people and for Americans everywhere, I wish someone could have prayed to the One who created all of us, Almighty God. The president quoted from the great textbook of grief, the Old Testament book of Job -- always fitting words in times like these. Perhaps the Yaqui tribe representative, the president of the university -- someone -- could have echoed the words of the Psalmist: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

What a shame that the University of Arizona didn't have enough sensitivity to suffering families and a watching nation to invoke the name of the God who is "Father to the fatherless and protector of widows." In fact, any of the 150 chapters of Psalms picked at random would have offered more comfort than the mystical rambling delivered from the stage.

Um, Frank? Did you fall asleep when Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder read lengthy Bible passages rather than delivering speeches? (The opening of Napolitano's passsage, from Isaiah: "'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!' says your God.")

And did you -- presumably a guy who's intimately familiar with the Bible -- overlook the fact that President Obama quoted Psalm 46 ("There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day")?

Cynical? Or just incompetent and lazy? Hard to tell, really.


UPDATE: Media Matters has more.

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