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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Chain E-mail from Billy Graham Team?


Q: Did a Billy Graham team member say Obama should be defeated "to save America"?

A: No. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says a widely quoted anti-Obama screed wasn't written by anyone associated with the organization.


Can you tell me if the following e-mail is true:

Bill Brown, is a highly respected retired member of the Billy Graham


So, I take his assessment of Obama very seriously and for that reason
accept his challenge to pass this on. I share his concern about the
'rock star' image Obama has and watch with growing concern at the celebrity
status the media has foisted upon him. Here is hope this email informs
you in a wise way.

The Obama Tidal Wave

We are witnessing a political phenomenon with Barack Obama of rare

His speeches have inspired millions and yet most of his followers have
no idea of what he stands for except platitudes of 'Change' or that he says he will be a 'Uniter'.

The power of speech from a charismatic person truly can be a powerful
thing. Certainly Billy Graham had charisma and both his manner of speech and particularly the content changed millions.

On the extreme other hand, the charisma of Adolph Hitler inspired
millions and the results were catastrophic.

Barack Obama certainly is no Hitler or a Billy Graham, but for many
Americans out there feeling just like a surfer who might be ecstatic and
euphoric while riding a tidal wave, the real story is what happens when
it hits shore .

Just Some of What Defines Barack Obama:

. He voted against banning partial birth abortion.
. He voted no on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.
. Supports affirmative action in Colleges and Government.
. In 2001 he questioned harsh penalties for drug dealing.
. Says he will deal with street level drug dealing as minimum wage affair.
. Admitted marijuana and cocaine use in high school and in college.
. His religious convictions are very murky.
. He is willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jung Il and
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
. Has said that one of his first goals after being elected would be to
have a conference with all Muslim nations.
. Opposed the Patriot Act.
. First bill he signed that was passed was campaign finance reform.
. Voted No on prohibiting law suits against gun manufacturers.
. Supports universal health-care.
. Voted yes on providing habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.
. Supports granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
. Supports extending welfare to illegal immigrants.
. Voted yes on comprehensive immigration reform.
. Voted yes on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social
. Wants to make the minimum wage a 'living wage'.
. Voted with Democratic Party 96 percent of 251 votes.
. Is a big believer in the separation of church and state.
. Opposed to any efforts to Privatize Social Security and instead
supports increasing the amount of tax paid.
. He voted No on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
. He voted No on repealing the 'Death' Tax.
. He wants to raise the Capital Gains Tax.
. Has repeatedly said the surge in Iraq has not succeeded….
. He is ranked as the most liberal Senator in the Senate today and that
takes some doing.

If your political choices are consistent with Barack Obama's and you
think that his positions will bring America together or make it a better
place, then you will probably enjoy the ride and not forward this Email. If you are like most Americans that after examining what he stands for, are
truly not in line with his record, it would be prudent to get off the wave or
better yet, never get on, before it comes on shore and undermines the
very foundations of this great Country. We have limited time to save America or the Supreme Court as we know it.

Inaction is action.
If you agree this is important, pass it on. The mainstream media will not do it for you!

Bill Brown



This message, attributed to a Bill Brown of the "Billy Graham team," has prompted numerous questions from FactCheck.org readers and has been quoted in thousands of Internet postings. It suggests that Obama's charisma, like that of Adolph Hitler, could have "catastrophic" results.


But the message is a hoax.

A Bill Brown did indeed work for World Wide Pictures, the movie publishing wing of the Billy Graham organization. But he didn't write this article. We contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and spokesman Graham Clark told us:

Clark: Although Bill Brown formerly worked in World Wide Pictures (a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), and is now retired, we can assure you that after researching this matter, the e-mail in question did not originate from either Mr. Brown or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association does not hold an official position regarding any presidential candidate.

While We're At It
The piece includes a long list of claims about Obama, some of which are false or misleading:



  • It is false to say Obama "voted yes on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security." We debunked this Republican talking point during the 2006 mid-term elections. The legislation in question wouldn't have given any Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.
  • It's misleading to say Obama "wants to raise the capital gains tax" without also saying that he would do so only for those making over $250,000 in family income or $200,000 for singles.
  • Quoting Obama as saying that "one of his first goals after being elected would be to have a conference with all Muslim nations" is also misleading without mentioning why. Obama said a major purpose would be "to insist that they need to help us to defeat the terrorist threats that are there."
  • Saying that Obama "voted No on repealing the 'Death' Tax" is misleading without also making clear that his opponent, John McCain, also opposes repeal of the tax. Furthermore, Obama would not apply it to estates smaller than $3.5 million (effectively $7 million for couples).

We won't go into every claim that could be questioned in this message. Some not only are true, they are among the Democratic candidate's major campaign themes. Obama has spoken out strongly and repeatedly against "efforts to privatize Social Security" and in favor of "universal health care," for example.

The author of this message draws a conclusion that an Obama victory "undermines the very foundations of this great Country." Anybody is entitled to an opinion. But that opinion is being expressed by a fraud artist, not by a member of the Billy Graham team.

– Justin Bank


Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "A Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans," 25 Aug 2008.


"Obama shares his thoughts on politics, patriotism, priorities if elected, his upbringing and basketball; 'I think we're in a defining moment right now in our history,' says Obama."  Excerpts of Interview on Sirius radio by former Senator Bill Bradley. PR Newswire, 13 Dec. 2007.