Altar Call at Bragg Crossed the Line
I read Steve Bouser’s column (Sept. 29) on the recent “Rock the Fort” event at Fort Bragg. The event was thrown by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It definitely crossed the line of separation of church and state.
Graham has “proved” by news reports that he has done good all over the world. A large number of people answer the altar call to accept Christ. It makes many reluctant to criticize, even when it crosses the separation of church and state line.
My wholehearted agreement with Bouser is compounded by something that happened 50 years ago in the beginning of the Graham crusades.
I lived in government housing at Patrick Air Force Base. An Air Force chaplain lived across the street. He told me that he was being ordered to recruit a certain number of people who would agree to go to the altar after Graham’s sermon (other pastors were also assigned to recruit). He said that Graham wouldn’t come unless he was assured that a certain number would take the altar call. I don’t remember if he came. I just know on what basis he would agree to come.
Does the Graham organization still recruit the same way? I don’t know, but soldiers, even chaplains, obey commands. The commanding general of Fort Bragg stated in an interview that it didn’t cross the line; therefore, neither a chaplain nor a soldier can disagree.
To involve the military anytime, but especially near an election, is unfair to unwary Christians. They don’t realize that they are being used by religion to influence their vote.
By the way, when I go to the altar, it is not to answer the call of a general or Billy Graham. It is to answer the call of God.
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