Archives for : Billy Graham

Three Who Kept the Communists at Bay in Popular Culture

Three Who Kept the Communists at Bay in Popular Culture
By Susan D. Harris

2/7/1986 President Reagan with William F Buckley in the White House Residence during Private birthday party in honor of President Reagan’s 75th Birthday.

When I was young, there were three people of import who held me spellbound when they spoke:  William F. Buckley Jr., Reverend Billy Graham, and Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Each one of them seemed to hold within themselves a palpable, direct line to God.  Each one taught lessons that left you leaning back in your chair contemplating some great life-changing concept that often evoked an epiphany.  To top things off, each one spoke with such authority, held such charisma, and exuded such a vibrant personality that nary anyone that drew breath could ignore them.

Recently I had occasion to recall Bishop Sheen with my friend Sr. Mary.  Though I grew up Protestant, (and still am), there was always silence in my house when Sheen’s television show, “Life is Worth Living,” came on.  It is estimated his show, which originally ran opposite Milton Berle (then known as Mr. Television” because of his enormous popularity) on Tuesday nights in the 1950’s, drew as many as 10 million viewers.  Later he had another program, “The Fulton Sheen Program.”  (To be clear, I was born well after Sheen’s original shows, and only saw them in reruns which continued on broadcast stations through the 1990’s.  Later they were shown on EWTN, the Global Catholic Network.)

What was particularly striking was that although Sheen’s shows were taped years before, they always seemed applicable to current events.  His subjects were deep and diverse; I can name no one else, for instance, that was talking about Fyodor Dostoyevsky on television in 1956.  Sheen taught his audience thus:

In (Dostoyevsky’s) works he describes Communism that is to come. He describes it…in “Crime and Punishment.”  For one of the characters is Raskolnikov, the individual Communist. Raskolnikov does not believe in a distinction between right and wrong; good and bad.  But he’s interested in the masses.  He’s concerned about the poor.  He wants to build up a social system.  He’s concerned with the proletariat.  And this new social system that loves the masses must be built up; but it in order to build it up…you have to have money.  So he kills an…old woman pawnbroker to get money to establish his Socialistic state.  And he argues, ‘She was vermin anyway.’  You see the system?  You kill one; you aid a thousand of the masses.  That’s simple arithmetic; and that’s Communism.  No concern whatever for the individual person.  All that matters is the Party-state.  The totalitarian structure…and as for individuals wherever they be…let them be wiped out.  All that matters is the regime that professes to love the poor and tramples them.

More than ever in its history, America needs to hear Sheen’s words – and others.

They need to hear Billy Graham’s Crusades like this one where he educated his audience on the Red Guard Revolution in China telling them, “You’ll find a lot of the sayings of Mao Zedong have been taken right out of the Bible and applied to Communism…or to his brand of Communism.” (Reverend Graham is 98 years old; his son Franklin has taken over his ministry).

(Photo Above: Sept. 8, 1963 Billy Graham set the all-time record attendance for the L.A. Coliseum: 134,254)

They need to watch William F. Buckley Jr. as he explains the House Un-American Activities Committee routing out Communists in post-WWII Hollywood:

You can’t just say ‘oops I’m sorry that I was supporting Stalin during the period when he killed 15 million people,’ you’ve got to say ‘I am sorry and I want to prove that I’m sorry by cooperating…and the most concrete way to do that is to show that you are willing to identify…(for instance) the other Ku Klux members, the other members of the Nazi movement, the other members of the Communist party.

The topics these men covered and the lessons they shared are more important to the welfare of America now than when they were originally spoken.  They were all standard-bearers of their time, a time that seems long ago, but is still oh so relevant today.

All three men helped educate a generation and drove back the invading Communist-Socialist-Fascist all-consuming blob that eventually became today’s Democratic Party.

An old George Jones song lamented the loss of so many great country stars.  It was titled, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?”  It also seems an appropriate question when remembering these intellectual and spiritual titans…these three men I admire most…a terrestrial trinity of thinkers that kept the barbarians at bay, at least for a while.

(Note: Sheen passed away in 1979; Buckley in 2008)
Published on American Thinker at:

Upstate New York students debate exterminating Jews

By Susan D. Harris

Upstate New York students debate exterminating Jews

The New York Education Commissioner defended a local teacher’s assignment asking students to argue in favor of exterminating Jews.  It sounds incomprehensible, but MaryEllen Elia, speaking in Syracuse NY (Onondaga County) this past Thursday morning, did just that.  It seems especially hideous, contemporarily, since that city’s Jewish Community Center has been under lockdown three times this year:  Twice for bomb threats and most recently for a vaguely described “threat of violence.”

The education commissioner was addressing an assignment given by a teacher in neighboring Oswego County this past February.  The teacher, Michael DeNobile, gave the assignment as part of the Oswego County CiTi / BOCES New Vision program.  According to local reporter Julie McMahon, the students were asked to “put themselves in a Nazi leaders’ shoes and argue for or against the “Final Solution” to exterminate Jewish people.”

It seems that only two students were disturbed by this request. Jordan April and Archer Shurtliff (neither are Jewish) are both seniors at Oswego County high schools participating in the New Vision program.  The program allows students to take college-level classes on the SUNY Oswego campus.  April and Shurtliff brought their concerns directly to DeNobile, higher administrators, and even the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  The two girls’ goal was “to make sure no other student would be asked to argue in favor of killing Jews again.”  They also asked for the New Vision program to retract the assignment completely.  They were unsuccessful.  In exchange for their complaints however, the entire class was given the opportunity to choose their own alternative project.  Only three students took advantage of that, including April and Shurtliff.

Education Commissioner Elia held strong to her support of the assignment, citing critical thinking as the supposed learning tool saying, “I think it’s certainly a question where you want students to think on both sides and analyze … which position a person is taking.”  Student Archer Shurtliff, in a separate interview, stated conversely that, “It’s settled opinion…you can’t say that Jews deserve to die.  It should be a settled thing.”

Dogged local reporter McMahon posted the actual homework assignment on Syracuse’s online news website.  Eerily, it was stamped “Top Secret” in red at the top.  McMahon writes:

The assignment itself notes that the point is “not for you to be sympathetic to the Nazi point of view…Ultimately, this is an exercise on expanding your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to logistically find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe,” the assignment says.

(Ironically, Oswego County is home to “Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum,” which commemorates America’s only refugee camp for victims of WWII.  In 1944, nearly 1000 refugees were housed in the army barracks there as “guests” of President Roosevelt.  According to previous newspaper reports, approximately 900 of them were Jewish.  Strangely, the words “Jew” and “Jewish” are apparently only mentioned once on the museum’s website.)

ADL Education Director Beth Martinez said the whole thing was “deeply troubling” adding that students should never be given an assignment “that even hints at their [sic] being ‘two sides’ to the ‘Final Solution’ / Holocaust.”  Martinez said she was notified by Roseann Bayne, the assistant superintendent for the CiTi program, that the assignment was still being offered along with an alternative.

Martinez cited Common Core as a catalyst for pushing students to argue from a perspective from which they do not agree.  This sounds rather benign at first glance – until you see an example like this where a student is asked to justify mass murder as part of a learning experience.  One can only hope that such a thing would be outside of most people’s “comfort zone;” and remain there.

The fight is definitely not over for two 17-year-old girls who had the guts to take on a monumental task:  Teaching some seriously misguided adults that “critical thinking” does not mean abandoning all human decency at the schoolhouse door.

Appearing in American Thinker at:

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Below: The Wave – Take 45 Minutes to Watch This (give the picture time to clear up. Even if it’s a little fuzzy, it’s worth it.)