Franklin Graham Disappoints Again : 2006-12-18
How many sacrificial love offerings does it take to provide Franklin Graham with over $1,000 per day, every day of the year? Yes, he has a large organization to run, but somehow collecting $368,115 in one year to head up a charity seems a little odd. After they toss a little coin his wife's way, the Grahams are sitting pretty at just under $400 grand a year (see his 2004 salary from the Samaritan's Purse Form 990 at the end of this rant).
Apparently that isn't enough when there's a chance to cash in on dad's corpse. Bizzare? Undoubtedly. An article titled Billy Graham's family riven over burial plans
explains Franklin's scheme for a memorial "library" in Charlotte that is actually
a large barn and silo -- a reminder of Billy Graham's early childhood on a dairy farm near Charlotte. Once it's completed in the spring, visitors will pass through a 40-foot-high glass entry cut in the shape of a cross and be greeted by a mechanical talking cow. They will follow a path of straw through rooms full of exhibits. At the end of the tour, they will be pointed toward a stone walk, also in the shape of a cross, that leads to a garden where the bodies of Billy and Ruth Graham could lie.
Throughout the tour, there will be several opportunities for people to put their names on a mailing list.
This sounds more like Jim and Tammy Faye's amusement park than how America's most famous evangelist (regardless of how you feel about his ecumenical stance) should end up being remembered. His wife understands completely:
"It's a circus," Ruth Graham says at one point. "A tourist attraction."
Ruth Graham has told her children that she doesn't want to be buried in Charlotte. She has a burial spot picked out in the mountains where she raised five children, and she hopes her husband will join her there.
Let's hope that Ruth Graham's wishes are honored and Franklin sticks to profiting from poverty rather than from his parents' burial site.
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