In May 1970...Nixon was one of 75,000 people gathered to hear evangelist Billy Graham preach in Knoxville, Tennessee. When they passed the collection plate, Nixon realized he didn’t have any money. So he borrowed some cash from a friend.I hope Graham (with whom I once covered some theological ground) gave Nixon some green. When his father, Frank, took him up to the Angelus Temple in Echo Park in Los Angeles to see the colorful Foursquare Gospel preacher Aimee Semple McPherson, they undoubtedly heard her trademark admonition that she didn't want to hear any coins clinking in the plate, just the gentle rustling of paper.
The friend? None other than Billy Graham.
“A number of presidents have looked to you for spiritual sustenance over the years,” Nixon later wrote to the famous preacher, “but I suspect I was the first to hit you up for a loan.”
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Caesar Borrowing, Then Rendering Unto Heaven
Coverage of a Billy Graham exhibition in his home town of Charlotte, North Carolina reminded me of watching Richard Nixon's last chief of staff, Kathy O'Connor, hand him a wad of cash one December (from his own account, of course) so he could go Christmas shopping for his grandchildren: