According to the website of the Architect of the Capitol, the privilege of lying “in honor” or “in state” in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda has been bestowed only 32 times in our history, beginning with Henry Clay in 1852. Of those, only two such honors have been for people who have not served our nation as an elected official, a member of the military or a police officer. Those two were Pierre L’Enfant, who designed our nation’s beautiful capital city, and Rosa Parks, whose lifelong fight for equality for all speaks for itself.
The late Rev. Billy Graham is the third such person ever to be afforded this honor. Graham was an ardent enemy of marriage equality and the rights of the LGBTQ community throughout his life. To give one of our nation’s highest honors to somebody who fought against freedom and equality throughout his life is unconscionable, especially when that honor lifts him to the same level as a true hero such as Parks.
Let Graham be celebrated in his church, where he belongs. He should not be honored as an American hero.
Thomas V. Berry, Alexandria
Joe Scarborough’s assessment of the Rev. Billy Graham was too gushing [“A lesson for evangelicals,” op-ed, Feb. 23]. Even though we try not to speak ill of the departed, we should not hide from truth. Graham’s notorious hate for LGBTQ people hardly squares with Scarborough calling him a positive voice for civil rights.
Although the preacher doubtless had good intentions and inspired many to deep faith, he fell short in Christian charity. Unlike many faith leaders of the 1980s, Graham went out of his way to vilify gays and ignore AIDS. It was that decade’s equivalent of walking past the half-dead man on the side of the road.
I pray Graham finds forgiveness, and I hope Scarborough knows better next time.
Christopher J. Hoh, Arlington