I wasn’t born until 1952, but somehow Franklin Graham’s rhetoric struck with me when I heard him say that Washington has been “infiltrated by Muslims” and that they are “advising the White House.” Fox’s Bill O’Reilley asked him for names, and Graham replied, “I can get you those.”
My adult self is quite certain that the personal religious heritage of Americans, including Presidential advisors, is irrelevant. But both Graham and O’Reilly were channeling a different time in America when these kinds of conversations carried their own code.
So I did a little search based on a hunch. And what do you know! Here’s what I found, spoken 64 years ago this month by Sen. Joseph R McCarthy of Wisconsin:
This, ladies and gentlemen, gives you somewhat of a picture of the type of individuals who have been helping to shape our foreign policy. In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with communists.
I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy.
One thing to remember in discussing the communists in our government is that we are not dealing with spies who get 30 pieces of silver to steal the blueprints of new weapons. We are dealing with a far more sinister type of activity because it permits the enemy to guide and shape our policy.
Perhaps Graham believed his witch hunting was justified by his opening gambit – telling Muslims he loved them and inviting them to accept Jesus as their personal savior – but his professed concern for the United States is one that seeks to take us back to a time when paranoia and Christian triumphalism walked hand in hand. Lots of people were “less-than”: Godless Communists, papal loyalists, Bolshevik Jews, Negroes and, of course, Mohammedans.
I hope the President is being advised by Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and the occasional Protestant, Catholic and Jew. I just want to guard against infiltration by the likes of Franklin Graham.