Monday, May 31, 2010

Quote of the Day



Picture of the Day

Young village boy in Chongwe Village, Zambia. He's likely bringing home some supper. It appears the missionaries have been around.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Picture of the Day

For a baseball fan, there are few places like Wigley Field in Chicago. Built in 1914, it is playing host to major league baseball for the 97th season in 2010. Pictured here is a great shot from the right field bullpen of San Diego Padre pitcher Chris Young. Visible in the background, in addition to the ivy covered outfield wall, is one of the gems of Wigley Field, the old-fashion centerfield scoreboard. I am fortunate to have spent a number of pleasant afternoons at Wigley Field.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

George Herman "Babe" Ruth

A 1920 autographed photo of baseball great and American popular culture icon George Herman "Babe" Ruth (1895-1948). The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to the Babe's hitting prowess, which lead to home run totals which excited fans and brought them out to the ballpark. At the turn of the century, "Babe" was voted the second best athlete of the twentieth century by ESPN, behind only the great Michael Jordan.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Picture of the Day

John Atzerodt conspired with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Atzerodt had also planned to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson on April 14, 1865. He got as far as the hotel where Johnson was staying, entered the hotel bar, and spent the evening drinking instead attempting the assassination. He was arrested on April 20 and was executed by hanging along with three other co-conspirators.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Big Horn

Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota Chief and Holy Man. He is notable in American and Native American History largely due to his major victory at the Battle of The Little Big Horn against General George C. Custer's 7th U. S. Calvary in 1876. Sioux and Cheyenne Indians defiantly left their reservations, outraged at the continued intrusions of whites into their sacred lands in the Black Hills of the South Dakota. They gathered in Montana with the great warrior Sitting Bull to fight for their lands. In the battle, numerous 7th U. S. Calvary troops were lost, including General Custer himself. Little Big Horn is often referred to as "Custer's Last Stand".

Little Big Horn was the pinnacle of American Indian power. Outraged over the loss of a popular Civil War hero on the eve of the nation's Centennial, the nation demanded and received harsh retribution. The Black Hills dispute was quickly settled by redrawing the boundary lines placing the Black Hills outside of the reservation and open to white settlement. Little Big Horn was an important chapter in the plight of the Native American.

Sitting Bull, years later, toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Defiant to the end, it is said that he frequently cursed audiences in his native tongue as they applauded him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

President of the United States Harry S. Truman

"The Haberdasher" from Independence, Missouri, Harry S. Truman in his World War I uniform. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, oversaw a very eventful era. His administration ended World War II by using atomic weapons against Japan, and he issued executive orders to desegregate the military. His adminstration founded the United Nations, created the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, created the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, and oversaw the Berlin Airlift. In addition, they oversaw the creation of NATO, and fought the Korean War. Truman was a folksy, unassuming president, and his legendary upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 is routinely evoked by underdog candidates at all levels of politics.

The Big Island of Hawaii

A beautiful cliff on the Island of Hawaii, also know as The Big Island. A volcanic island, The Big Island was formed from five separate volcanoes that erupted somewhat sequentially, one overlapping the other. Because two are still active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, the island is still growing. Sugarcane is the backbone of the island's economy, and the largest cattle ranches in the United States are there including Parker Ranch, which sits on 175,000 acres.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Louis Brandeis in 1916, the year he was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Woodrow Wilson. Brandeis wrote the landmark Brandeis Brief, which was the first legal brief in U. S. history to incorporate analysis of factual data, rather than simply arguing legal theory. He would become one of the most influential and respected Supreme Court Justices in U. S. history.

Brandeis' votes and opinions envisioned greater protections for individual rights and greater flexibility for government in economic regulation that would prevail in later courts. Brandeis was succeeded on the court by William O. Douglas, who called Brandeis, "a crusader for social justice."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The GOP Needs To Pull Itself Together

It is pretty astounding when a former GOP Speaker of the House says, "the President's secular-socialist political machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union once did." Then, a couple of days later a GOP candidate for the U. S. Senate (Rand Paul of Kentucky) is forced to say, "I don't think it will be necessary to repeal the Civil Rights Acts of 1964." Oh, thanks Rand.

In the case of Newt Gingrich, this is just embarrassingly, shocking hyperbole. In the case of Rand Paul, he opposes, and has stated such on a number of occasions, provisions of the Civil Rights Act dealing with private establishments, believing that these businesses have the right to discriminate against people of the bases of race, religion, or sexual orientation. To hell with the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, I suppose he is thinking. The thoughts represented by both Gingrich and Paul's comments are a radical departure from mainstream thought in America. Yet these are visible, high-level representatives in the Republican Party.

Where is the leadership of the GOP? Does House Minority Leader Eric Cantor think it is ok for a restaurant to bar him from eating there because he is a Jew? Does he agree with Gingrich's comparison of President Obama to Hitler and Stalin, two of the worst anti-semites of the 20th century?

A friend told me recently he feels some people are confusing the radical right and the mainstream GOP. Well, where is the leadership of the mainstream GOP? Where is Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, John Thume, or Michael Steele? Colin Powell once said when he hears outrageous statements by Lambaugh, he responds to them, and he would like to see others do the same.

Unfortunately, I think mainstream GOP leaders are afraid of the power and the numbers represented by the radical right. They know they need them at election time. This is a sad state of affairs for America and for the Grand Ole Party. America needs a strong, credible, two-party system. There is no room for fear-mongering, hate, or talk of a return to "Jim Crow" in either party. The real issues are too important and the stakes are too high. Come on GOP, pull yourself together. America needs you as a legitimate player.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Picture of the Day

A Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) in mid-flight. This species of whistling duck breeds in the southernmost United States and tropical Central and South America. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear whistling call.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Picture of the Day

The Matterhorn is located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, towering over the Swiss town of Zermat. It was the last major mountain of the Alps to be climbed, not merely because of its technical difficulty, but because of the fear it inspired in early mountaineers.

Baptimergent Thought

My friend and former Associate Pastor Zach Roberts writes about a critical and interesting theological concept, that of Christian Emergence, and more specifically Baptist Emergence. He has written a book entitled Baptimergent: Baptist Stories From the Emergent Frontier. It is important to have people writing and imagining new ways the church can have relevance and meaning in the 21st century.

Zach talks of the church and Western Christainity as an ecosystem, a living system where change evolves, and adaption is normal and expected. He writes of how the story of the Western church of the last century was thought of as complete or finished. He points out, "where the modern church put a period, the emergent movement has erased it and put a comma. The story of the church was not finished during the modern era." Emergents are eager to continue thinking and writing and developing something out of God's church that is their own, something that has relevance and impact on THEIR world.

Zach goes on,"Emergent Baptists are those who believe there is more to God, Jesus, and God's kingdom than modern Christianity and its denominational categories have been able to define. Emergent Baptists believe the story is still unfinished, and it is incumbent upon us to participate in, and write, the narrative for our time and place. We recognize that much of the former narrative, written by those in the last century, does not interface well with those new century and present cultural milieu. Like generations before us, we hope to take what our forefathers and mothers gave us and fashion some format that is our own. "

This is exciting theology for the 21st century. It envisions the church as dynamic, organic, evolving, responding to the human condition in which it finds itself. I pray I get more caught up in this critical approach to faith and theology. We can't keep doing church the way we did it 75 years ago. Among other things, we have to BE the church outside of the bricks and mortar.

We need to be helpful and prayerful for the Emergents and those who would commit to the future of a relevant church. If we do not, the church will be co-opted by those only concerned with power, or worse, it will die. I am thankful for Zach Roberts and those who would search for continued meaning for the Body of Christ, The Church.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"There Are Places I Remember...."

"There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better,
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends,
I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life I've loved them all."

(Lennon & McCarthy)

Quote of the Day

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and strong. Because someday in life we will have been all of these."

Dr. George Washington Carver
First Chair of the Department of Agriculture
Tuskegee Institute
(He achieved international fame as a scientist, botanist, and educator).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Picture of the Day

The Bald Eagle is indigenous to North America and is the national symbol of the United States of America. It represents the boundless spirit of freedom. The species was on the brink of extinction in the late 20th century but has largely recovered and now has a stable population. Another of God's amazing and exquisite creations.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Picture of the Day

Havasu Falls, one of the four waterfalls of the Havasupia Indian Reservation, is located near the village of Supia, Arizona. It empties into the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. The water of the Havasu Creek has a bluish green tint due to the heavy lime content in the water. Arizona has an abundance of natural beauty. In addition, my beautiful daughter lives in Arizona presently.

Quote for the Day

Walden Pond near Concord, Mass.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away."

Henry David Thoreau

Friday, May 14, 2010

Memories of General Lucius D. Clay

One of the great joys of my youth (ages 19 and 20) was to spend two summers working on the Cape Cod estate of General and Mrs. Lucius D. Clay. The estate, "Square Top", was in Chatham, Mass., a beautiful town on the sea, out on the "elbow" of The Cape. I was on Cape Cod to play baseball in the Cape Cod League, a great summer collegiate baseball league.

I got to know General Clay rather well. Although he spent the weekdays in New York City (he was a founding partner of Lehman Brothers) he flew to The Cape on the weekends to play golf and relax. The estate was very large and included several buildings, a boat house, and a two hundred year-old house in which they lived. It had 6 gardens and a peach orchard. General Clay was from Georgia and the peach orchard was very important to him.

General Clay, a direct descendent of Henry Clay of Kentucky, was a 4-Star Army General and was General Eisenhower's number two man in Europe during World War II. He was post-war Governor General of Germany. He coordinated the "Berlin Airlift" after the war. This was a critical airlift of supplies into West Berlin, which was "free" but was surrounded by communist East Germany.

General Clay was one of the old traditional Eastern Republicans and was a Rockefeller supporter in 1968, one of the summers I was on The Cape. He was an officer on the National Republican Committee. Although he opposed Nixon in 1968 in favor of Rockefeller, he was invited to the White House in the summer of 1969 (the other summer I was there) when his friend German Chancellor Willy Brandt was there for a State Dinner.

The above picture is of General Clay and President Harry Truman. President Truman is awarding him the Distinguished Service Medal for his role in the Berlin Airlift. General Clay died at Square Top in Chatham, Mass. at the age of 80 in 1978. I am pleased to recall with great fondness my summers on beautiful Cape Cod on the estate of General Lucius D. Clay.

(I would refer you to a related January 2010 blog, "I Don't Think This Is Kansas...Todo").

Pete Seeger Is Still Around

Pete Seeger is an American folk singer and iconic figure in the mid-20th century American Folk music revival. In the '60s, he was a much beloved prominent figure composing protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, and for environmental causes. He co-authored such songs as "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?", "If I Had a Hammer", and "This Land is Your Land". He was closely associated with Woody and Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, and others.

Always a controversial figure because of his very supportive positions on civil rights and peace, Pete's perfomances ranged from entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt at a racially integrated Valentine's Party in segregated Washington DC in 1944, to appearing in 2009 (shown above) at Barack Obama's Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial with Bruce Springsteen, performing "This Land Is Your Land."

At the age of 91, Seeger remains politically active and resides in the Hudson Valley area of New York. God bless Pete Seeger.

(Don't click on any "click here" items in video piece).

"I Choose Ed".....(Ed Walsh)

Ed Walsh (1881-1959) was a major league baseball pitcher with the Chicago White Sox. His career ERA of 1.82 is the lowest ever recorded. From 1906 to 1912, Walsh averaged 24 wins, 220 strikeouts, and posted an ERA of below 2.00 five times. His finest season was 1908 when he went 40-15 with 269 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.42. He was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1946.

Ed looks the part. Baseball players, especially in those days, were tough and crusty. I would want Ed on my side.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Picture of the Day

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, Germany .....circa June, 1940.

Compelling Civil Rights History

Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama, June 11, 1963, attempting to block integration of the University of Alabama and the enrollment of two black students. He stands defiantly in the doorway while confronted by Deputy US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, who had been sent to Tuscaloosa by President Kennedy to confront Wallace.

As a 15 year old, I recall so vividly being glued to The Evening News as the events unfolded. The struggle for the civil rights of black Amercians was a compelling time in our history and this critical event happened during the peak of the struggle. There is no more fascinating and no more important part of our history as a nation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"If, by a 'Liberal'.....

" If, by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties - someone who thinks we can breakthrough the stalemates and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by liberal, then I'm proud to say I'm a 'Liberal'."

John F. Kennedy - From "Profiles in Courage"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Picture of the Day

The Painted Bunting, belongs to the Passerina group of birds in the Cardinal family. They are sometimes known as North American buntings. They have short tails and short slim legs. The colors are exquisite. (Photo Credit: U. S. National Park Service)

Political Button Collecting

This is a small assortment of buttons from my collection. I have buttons back to the McKinley - Bryan election of 1896. I collect Presidential and local buttons. It is a most enjoyable hobby. I have met many nice people and gone to many interesting places in search of buttons and to view collections. Hobbies are important and fun.

"Living With Risk Is The Cost of Freedom"

"Living With Risk Is the Cost of Freedom" is the title of Leonard Pitts excellent piece today on the dozens of episodes of terrorist incidents in America since 1910. (LA Times building bombed in 1910 - 20 killed, Milwaukee police station bombed in 1917 - 10 killed, bombing on Wall Street in 1920 where 38 were killed, bombing of Sixteenth St. Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 where four little girls were killed, World Trade Center in 1993, Oklahoma City in 1995, 9/11, and dozens of others).

Speaking specifically about the Times Square failed incident last week, Pitts says, ".....So no matter how you tweak the system, we will always be vulnerable. Indeed, more so because we are free, and no system consistent with that freedom could have stopped a fanatic from driving a bomb into Times Square. .....So what can you do? The answer is that you do the best you can, take what precautions you can, and then you get on with it, learn to live with the risk freedom entails. You accept that risk because freedom is worth it."

Quote For the Day

"I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians. They're not very much like your Christ."

Mahatma Ghandi

Sunday, May 9, 2010

RIP - Harrison M. Symmes

We received the sad news today, via email, from Aunt Joan Symmes that Bunny's Uncle Harrison M. Symmes passed away yesterday. (Interesting that I just blogged about funerals today). Bunny and I are so happy to have had a wonderful visit with him and Joan just last Spring at their home in Winchester, Virginia.

Harry was a most interesting and delighful person. He lived a full and intriguing life. In addition to his wonderful family, Harry was involved with a full life of learning, academic pursuit, and service to his country. Among many involvements, Harry served as United States Ambassador to Jordan, Under Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, Curator of Mount Vernon, and as a college President. At UNC, he was co-editor of the Daily Tar Heel, along with  pollster Lou Harris, in 1939. He was close personal friends with Jordan's King Hussein.

Harry was a great American Liberal. I relished and cherished my limited time and conversation spent with him. The last book he recommended to me, one he had just finished, was Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment: FDR's First 100 Days". It was a joy.

As is his brother (my father-in-law), Harry was always such delight to be around, his mind so keen and engaging, his conversation so enjoyable. I will cherish the times I had the pleasure of his company. Harry was a rare, kind, high quality individual, a great example of an exemplary life of service.

RIP Uncle Harrison M. Symmes

(Above is a picture of he and George Romney, Mitt's Dad and then Michigan governor and Presidential candidate, taken in 1967 when Harry was Ambassador to Jordan).
Below is the obituary which appeared in the Washington Post

Thought For A Sunday

The Funeral as Poetry

"A poem is an effort to say something by organizing the images and the icons and the symbols and the acoustics of language. It is an effort to say something about what we reckon is unspeakable - great history, great love, great hope, great hate."

"Certainly a funeral is an effort at the same thing. It's the same enterprise, to organize some response to what is the unspeakable - unspeakable heartache, unspeakable helplessness, unspeakable despair, unspeakable gratitude, unspeakable faith. Funerals operate in the same way poems do. They operate by metaphor and icon and liturgy and symbol."

"We need a way to say unspeakable things and funerals do. So do poems."

Thomas Lynch -
Funeral Director, Essayist, Poet

Two Old Soldiers....One Blue and One Gray

This is a great photo of two old veteran Civil War soldiers shaking hands, one blue and one gray. The photo was taken at Gettysburg, in 1913, during the 50th Reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg. Looks like there may still be some animosity between the two.

Picture of the Day

This is gorgeous Kaanapali Beach on Maui, Hawaii. Bunny and I are fortunate to have been here, among other Hawaiian islands, three times, the last time for our 25th wedding anniversary (and Bunny's 50th birthday, which coincided) in the year 2000.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

President William McKinley - Buffalo, New York

William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, giving his last public address at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, standing under the gazebo, hatless, wearing a tuxedo and holding his speech in his hand, one day before he was shot on September 6, 1901. One bullet was extracted, but the second was not, and McKinley eventually died of gangrene from his wound, eight days later. (Photo Credit: Charles Dudley Arnold)

London...circa 1949

Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus, in the West End of London, c. 1949. The Circus, a famous traffic intersection and public area in the City of Westminster, was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street to the major shopping street of Piccadilly. It's status as a major traffic intersection has made it busy meeting place and tourist attraction in it's own right. (Photo credit: Chalmers Butterfield).

New York City ...circa 1900

A photochrome of Mulberry Street in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, from the year 1900. Mulberry Street is the center of New York's Little Italy and goes into Chinatown. (Detroit Photographic Co.)

Picture of the Day

A lithograph of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which took place on April 15, 1896, when the President was attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. From left to right: Major Henry Rathbone, Rathbone's fiancee, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln, and the assassin John Wilkes Booth. (Currier and Ives)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Curiously Embracing Big Government When We Need It....Trashing It Otherwise

As my friend Rick Lippin said recently, "our relationship with big government is like that of a teenager with their parents....we hate them until we need them." For the past couple of years we have heard Republicans and Tea Party-types allege of how government is destroying American freedom and liberty. We've heard talk of how the Recovery Act, for example, which appears to be having very positive affect on the American economy, is unconstitutional and attacks states rights and individual liberty.

It has always been curious to watch "the Right" run down big government.....except for those times and those programs from which they may benefit. Farmers don't generally have a problem with farm price supports, nor the small business person with the SBA subsidized loan, nor the age 65+ with medicare, nor the business which benefits from the tax credit, nor the parent who needs the college loan, on and on.

It seems we have the ultimate embrace of big government this week as the Governors of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, all run by small government Republicans, demand full support of the federal government as they deal with the BP oil spill tragedy. Bobby Jidal, who once joked about federal spending for volcano monitoring and tried to stop any Recovery Act money from entering Louisiana, issued a statement demanding "critical" federal government resources.

In his commencement address at the University of Michigan in front of 92,000 people last week, President Obama said, "there are some things we can only do together, as one what we should be asking is not whether we need a 'big federal government,' but how we can create a smarter, better government."

Perhaps big government naysayers will begin to realize that we live in a time of unprecedented national crises..... natural disasters, terrorist threats, soaring health care costs, immigration challenges, etc., and that such problems require a greater sense of national "community" accompanied by federal government resources and coordination.

Ronald Reagan had some great attributes, but the greatest damage he did was to demonize government, a hypocritical attitude many on "the Right" continue to embrace. Let's hope for better. I see signs.

Picture of the Day

An African American child at a "Colored" water fountain on a courthouse lawn in North Carolina in 1938. Segregated water fountains were commonplace in the days of "Jim Crow".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teddy Roosevelt

For a political memorabilia collector, Teddy Roosevelt is an attractive and ideal subject. I certainly do not specialize in TR collecting, but I am pleased to have a quite few nice TR pieces in my collection.

Teddy was a great progressive Republican. He served as New York City Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, Vice President under William McKinley, he helped found the "Bull Moose" party in 1912, and he became President upon the assassination of President McKinley.

One of his more colorful roles was that of head of the "Rough Riders" during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The "Rough Riders" were the 1st U.S. Voluntary Calvary unit. They were raised in 1898 to fight in the Spanish-American War. Their most famous battle was the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba.

The Spanish-American war was a conflict between Spain and the United States fought in Cuba. In 1898, Americans grew angry at the reports of Spanish atrocities in Cuba, and after the mysterious sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, President McKinley intervened. Unfortunately, the war began a policy of American foreign intervention which has lasted to the present.

Above is a great photo of TR in his "Rough Rider" attire.

Picture of the Day

Mandarin Ducks - National Geographic

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Picture of the Day

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, and the President of India, Prathibha Devi Singh Patil inspecting Irish guards in Windsor, England. Ms. Patil is the first Indian woman elected to the ceremonial role as President of India. (Steve Parsons / Getty Images)

Important Poem From 20th Century History

First, they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out -- because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out -- because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out -- because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me.......and there was noone to speak out.

Popular poem about the inactivity of German intellectuals in the 193os

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Picture of the Day

A session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev is marked by fist fights and a host of thrown eggs. Talk about consequences for an unpopular


" The Power of Acceptance and our willingness to consciously activate it's power in every aspect of our lives is the often overlooked key to experiencing a quality of life that surpasses common human logic."

"Acceptance is the process of acknowledging certain aspects of life without attempting to change, fight against, or hide them. Most of our discomfort in life emerges out of our inability to accept things as they are. When we accept things as they are, the challenges of our lives tend to soften. We become more compassionate and understanding of ourselves, as well as others. It is here we begin to create the space for more love, peace and happiness to enter our lives."

Dr. Michal Irvin
Counseling Psychologist

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Great Billy Graham....America's Pastor

Well, I was brought up to revere Billy Graham, and to this day, while priding myself as a person with an open and free mind, I am so very proud to say that I still enthusiastically revere everything about him.

Like me, Billy is a native North Carolinian and a moderate Baptist. Refusing to join Jerry Farwell's so called "moral majority," Billy said, "I'm for morality but morality goes far beyond sex and politics to human freedom and social justice. We in the clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the issues of the day. Evangelist can't be closely associated with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle to preach to all people, on the left and right." Newsweek said in a 2006 article, "For Graham, politics is secondary to the Gospel."

Billy has had a personal audience with, and has prayed with, Presidents of the United States since Harry Truman. That's 12 American Presidents. President Obama just visited with him for private prayer in Montreat, NC last month. Billy was named #7 on the Gallup Poll of the most admired people of the 20th Century. It is amazing that Billy has, considering the news environment in which we live, managed to steer clear of virtually any controversy. Billy has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He has been named the "Greatest Living American" on several Gallup surveys.

Billy opposed segregation in the 1960s and refused to speak in segregated auditoriums. It was reported that he provided bail money to secure Martin Luther King's release from jail more than once in the '60s.

There will likely never be another Billy Graham. I once attended a funeral he did at First Baptist Church - Greensboro, and I felt like I'd been to a great religious revival. At age 93 now, in some ways it will be a sad day when Billy passes away. But without question, Billy will want us to celebrate his homecoming on that day, and to celebrate the hundreds of thousand of lives he touched and uplifted, and as us Baptist proudly say, and the souls he has saved. God Bless Billy Graham.

A Nice Collectible......and Rare

I enjoy collecting political buttons. I have buttons back to the McKinley-Bryan race in 1896.

The button above is one of my favorite newer era buttons. In the hobby, we refer to this type of button as a trigate-coattail button. It is a 3.5 inch Kerry for President, Illinois coattail piece. As you see, it has a young Barack Obama running for US Senate and a younger Jesse Jackson Jr. running for Congress, both riding the coattails of the top of the Democratic ticket.

It is a rare, attractive piece, with three, obviously high profile, Democrats on the button. It is also considered an "early Obama" button, making it a very nice collectible.

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