In early August 1969, an elderly Reinhold Niebuhr found himself in one last intellectual dogfight. In an article for Christianity and Crisis, "The King's Chapel and the King's Court," he blasted President Richard Nixon for holding Sunday morning worship services in the White House, services that were led by Billy Graham and other clergy loyal to the Nixon administration.
Niebuhr described Graham as "a domesticated and tailored leftover from the wild and woolly frontier evangelistic campaigns" and accused Nixon of circumventing the disestablishment clause of the Bill of Rights and, in its place, establishing "a conforming religion by semiofficially inviting representatives of all the disestablished religions." The presiding clergy were pandering to Nixon instead of challenging him, Niebuhr chided. "It is wonderful what a simple White House invitation will do to dull the critical faculties."