Here's an article on the Billy Graham phenomenon and the desire of Graham's son to continue bilking simpletons out of their cash,

Just like many family-owned businesses, Junior wants to continue milking the cash cow dad raised. This is a pretty obvious case where we can see that religion is just a variation in the entertainment spectrum.

The more you look at them the more you realize that organized nonsense like Graham's is more akin to a theme park than to any serious philosophy or attempt to understand the nature of reality.

Most amusement park rides have the thrill of simulated danger successfully survived and we can surmise that this same amusement park psychology is being employed to amuse the addled at so-called religious-revivals. They are presented with an imaginary danger and then successfully survive it through yet another act of imagination.

At least with a roller-coaster you get a real ride and there is a modest amount of real danger due to a mechanical failure. At a revival meeting you get all imagination and nothing real whatsoever.


Billy Graham's Son Carries Message
.c The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - In many ways it's a typical, old-fashioned revival, with talk of heaven and hell, saints and sinners and a chance to be saved after the sermon.

This isn't Billy Graham. The preacher is more likely to be dressed in jeans and cowboy boots and the choir sounds more like ZZ Top, the hard-rocking trio from Texas.

``We're not having a church meeting here; I want to put on a show that people will enjoy,'' said Franklin Graham, 45, son of one of America's most admired evangelists.

Thousands of people were expected to watch today as the younger Graham opened New Mexico Festival '98, an upbeat version of his father's celebrated revivals.

Billy Graham is expected to attend the festival this weekend to speak to the crowds. Father and son have spoken at each other's crusades in recent years, and preached together in Canada in 1995, but this will be their first joint crusade in the United States.

The elder Graham, 79, has struggled with Parkinson's disease and has trimmed down his schedule in recent years. Some reports have speculated that the Albuquerque event is a passing of the Graham torch.

``I don't think that's the case,'' Franklin Graham said Tuesday. ``He is slowing down, but it gives us a chance to do more meetings together. ... He has no intention of quitting.''

In fact, he said, his father's health has improved and lately feels better than he has in years.

But sooner or later, the older Graham will have to surrender the stage. And Franklin, who was named two years ago as senior vice president of his father's evangelistic organization, is prepared to carry on.

``My message is going to be the same as what my father has preached, it's God's message,'' Franklin said.

It's also a message delivered with a little more glitter and little less of the fire-and-brimstone that has made his father famous around the world.

High-energy music and short sermons are more Franklin's style. He brings in magicians, ventriloquists and even karate experts to help deliver his message to children.

``It's something that people who are not church people will enjoy coming to. I want to draw the people who have never stepped foot in a church,'' he said.

Franklin makes no effort to hide his status as a reformed rebel. His own press packet boasts the tale of an adolescence marked by drinking, smoking and a disdain for school.

Despite his casual appearance, Franklin said he's still delivering a serious message to fill the public's spiritual void.

``People don't take sin seriously, they don't realize they can be separated from God for their sins,'' he said.

And at the end of each festival, Franklin - like his father - invites people up to the stage to make a commitment to Christ.

``Religion cannot save you - you must confess your sins and turn and leave your sin. You have to believe that Jesus died for your sins,'' he said. ``That's the only way God will save you.''

AP-NY-05-06-98 0929EDT


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