A Statement by Evangelist Billy Graham on Intolerance and Prejudice Following Release of Nixon White House Tapes

Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn
Saturday, 16 March 2002

The National Archives recently released several hundred hours of tapes from Oval Office conversations during the Nixon Administration. One of those recordings included a conversation that I had with President Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, more than 30 years ago.

I had scores of conversations with Mr. Nixon in which we discussed every conceivable subject. However, I cannot imagine what caused me to make those comments, which I totally repudiate. Whatever the reason, I was wrong for not disagreeing with the President, and I sincerely apologize to anyone I have offended.

I don't ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now. My remarks did not reflect my love for the Jewish people. I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.

In the Bible we read, "Above all else, guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips" (Proverbs 4:22, 23). That is true for me as much as anyone else. Every day I have to renew my heart before God, and ask for His grace and strength.

I am now an old man of eighty-three suffering from several ailments. As I reflect back, I realize that much of my life has been a pilgrimage -- constantly learning, changing, growing and maturing. I have come to see in deeper ways some of the implications of my faith and message, not the least of which is in the area of human rights and racial and ethnic understanding.

Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart. I urge everyone to examine themselves and renew their own hearts before God. Only the supernatural love of God through changed lives can solve the problems that we face in our world.

Of greater import or concern than any tapes made in the White House, each of us must face the fact that God has "tapes" that record not only our actions but also our thoughts and our intent. Every moral choice we have ever made is on His "computer." On the appointed day of God's judgment there will be nothing in any of our hearts that will not be disclosed. That is why we all need God's forgiveness.

I take daily comfort in the Psalmist's words in the Old Testament: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy" (Psalm 103:8). Every year during their High Holy Days, the Jewish community reminds us all of our need for repentance and forgiveness. God's mercy and grace give me hope -- for myself, and for our world.

For more information, or to contact Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn, see their website at: www.billygraham.org

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