Franklin Graham, a Bible grifter not known for his nuance or understanding, took to Fox Business News yesterday to warn
of an impending cliff a fork in the road: voting for Democrats will doom us because they’re going to turn us into socialism, and “socialism is godless.”
He also claimed that we’ve never had a secular government before, even though “we’ve chosen it,” and besides that, “secularism is the same as communism.”
This is pure gobbledygook. I hardly know where to start—it all goes in circles and there’s no good place to start to unravel it.
Let’s start with that epithet, “godless.” Graham uses it to be synonymous with “evil,” but that ain’t necessarily so. Is it possible to have a government without a god? Yes—in fact, it’s preferable. Is it possible to be a good human being without a god? Absolutely, and the converse is true as well: you can be a total godbotherer and a complete shit—just look at Franklin Graham.1
We’ve never had a “secular government before”? Sweet Cthulhu, that’s all we’ve ever had. Why does he say stuff like this? Why does he ignore the fact that the Constitution itself prohibits a religious test for office, and the First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a religion? Is he deluded, or lying?
Secularism = communism? What? For those of us to whom words mean real things, this makes about as much sense as saying “groundhogs are the same as the chair.” I mean, it’s a perfectly cromulent sentence if you’re teaching Chomskian structural grammar (“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”) but actual English? No. Secularism is not the same as communism.
Beside which, I’m pretty sure he’s using “communism” to mean “oppressive totalitarian dictatorship,” which to be sure is our planet’s only real experience with the theory2, but that’s not really its meaning.
So Franklin Graham’s theory is something like this:
Democratic Party = socialism = godless = secularism = communism
He wants you to think it means
liberal political party = communism = evil = demonic anti-religious forces = oppressive totalitarian dictatorship
but for those of us who use English as a real language, it means
liberal political party = economic theory promoting social welfare = without religious entanglements = the idea that we run our government and our society at large without reference to Franklin Graham’s version of the Bible = economic theory advocating the abolition of private property
and of course one those things is not like the others, is it? (Hint: it’s “communism.”)
All of this code-speak is meant to tickle the fearful brains of the faithful, and if we wanted to boil it down to a sentence in plain English, it would be
If you vote for the Democratic Party, you are voting for Satan.
In other words, Franklin Graham is campaigning for the party that thinks that promoting our social welfare is the same thing as Joseph Stalin’s oppressive totalitarian regime. (You should hear them try to conflate the socialists with the Nazis.)
I offer no solution, because there is none. Franklin Graham is talking in code to people whose brains are wired to fear the world. We cannot show them the way out, because they don’t want to go.
1 Or worse, Ted Cruz.
2 If we ignore the Christians. Which apparently Franklin Graham does, with every breath he takes.