G. K. Chesterton once called the U.S. the “nation with the soul of a church.” The Pakistanis now find us the nation with the soul of a Predator drone. The French and Germans called; they just want their privacy back. Meanwhile, Americans don’t know what or whom to believe about their country’s misconduct in the world.
Billy Graham’s 95th birthday party last week was a heartwarming event—and a media spectacle. Most accounts of the celebration emphasized the star-studded guest list. Even in his golden years, Graham has not lost his golden touch: an aura of wholesome Christian patriotism that appeals to entertainers looking to transcend showbiz as well as to culture warriors on the make.
The reporters who covered the party provided a window into Graham’s lasting power as a cultural icon, but they largely missed his significance to American Christianity.