MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) — In the wake of the Rev. Billy Graham’s death, religion scholars say this much is clear: There will never be another American spiritual leader with his reach and influence.
The evangelical movement that Graham helped solidify and embodied for much of the second half of the 20th century has splintered. The media he used so effectively has fragmented, too, since the days when baby boomers had a choice of only three TV stations in their living rooms. And politics has become more polarized, even toxic.
It’s hard to imagine another U.S. religious leader like Graham filling a stadium for days on end and moving so deftly through the corridors of power that he could minister to Democratic and Republican presidents alike.
“I think his legacy will be the inclusiveness of his understanding of the Gospel,” said Grant Wacker, a retired professor at Duke University’s divinity school and author of the 2014 biography “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation.” ″Bring as many people in as possible.”
Graham, who died Wednesday at 99, reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide through his preaching engagements and his pioneering use of modern mass media, especially television.
Bill Leonard, a professor at Wake Forest University Divinity School in North Carolina, said there will never be an evangelist as influential as Graham, owing partly to the fracturing of audiences and media since the pre-cable, pre-internet era in which Graham commanded his large audiences.
“The media that Graham used so well early in his crusades then became so pluralistic, so diverse, that there was no longer room for one central person who could pull together those evangelical subgroups,” Leonard said.
Even by the 1980s, Leonard said, it was clear there wouldn’t be a single evangelist after Graham who could wield such broad clout, because of the emergence of “a variety of ‘Billy Grahams’” with their own followings and because of the rise in politics of the hard-line religious right, from which Graham kept a certain distance.
“Evangelicalism itself became more polarized,” Leonard said. “Graham came of age at a more ecumenical sort of time.”
Leonard said Graham’s own son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, is representative of how the movement has changed in the past generation. The younger Graham is seen as more ideological than his father; he has criticized Islam and backed President Donald Trump’s call to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.
“Franklin’s evolution is illustration of the way in which the religious culture changed between his father and himself,” Leonard said.
Some of the biggest changes happened in the last decade or so of Graham’s life, after he had all but retired. When he held his last crusade in 2005, gay marriage was allowed in only a couple of places in America, and the rise of Trump and the corrosive political environment of recent years were still in the future.
Even Charlotte, North Carolina, the world headquarters of Graham’s evangelical empire, has moved in a more liberal direction, the result of an influx of non-Southerners. In 2016, the city passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use restrooms of their choice, triggering a fierce statewide battle.
For all his efforts to promote ecumenicism, there were, of course, limits to Graham’s inclusiveness. As the civil rights movement took shape, he did not join his fellow clergymen in taking part in marches. Later, his ministry took out full-page ads calling for a ban on gay marriage.
Still, Faisal Khan, a Muslim-American and founder of a youth advocacy and peace organization near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, credited Graham for admitting his mistakes and for making conciliatory statements about Islam.
“He was generally very receptive and forthcoming — he openly said Islam is much closer to Christianity than people think,” Khan said.
Jeremiah Chapman, a 40-year-old student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, said Graham’s legacy remains relevant — despite, or perhaps because of, the current divisions inside evangelicalism.
“He was moral guidance to generations regardless of which side. If you’re a Democrat or Republican or liberal or conservative, he was willing to step in and be … God’s voice in culture,” Chapman said.
Explosion in Austin, $100,000 reward for suspect(s)
Two men have suffered serious injuries Sunday night after an explosion was reported in Southwestern Austin, Texas, according to emergency workers.
Officials have not confirmed whether the explosion was a result of a packaged bomb but three heard blast over the past month in Austin have killed two people and critically wounded at least two women.
Tonight’s explosion occurred on Dawn Song Drive, according to Austin-Travis County EMS Twitter account. “At this incident and are prepping those patients for transport.”
Two men who are believed to be in their 20’s were injured, according to investigators adding that the injuries were not expected to be life-threatening.
Austin police said the reward for information leading to an arrest in the deadly explosions has risen by $50,000 to a new total of $100,000. More than 500 officers, including federal agents, have conducted 236 interviews following up 435 leads.
BUSTED!!! It’s A Low Down Dirty Shame, Keep It Southern Construction owner accused of scam
A dirty, low-down construction company owner is being investigated by law enforcement after he was accused of scamming over 100 people over a number of years.
YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. DIRTY AND LOW-DOWN!
Dennis Ray Rose, 39, currently of Marshallberg, NC, this according to new “business” paperwork, has allegedly had many fake unlicensed businesses, but two of them allowed for an extremely lavish life, until NOW!
Many customers of “Always A Rose Construction”, previously based out of Onslow County, which has been renamed “Keep It Southern Construction”, and is now based in Marshallberg, NC, told News In Onslow that they would pay Rose for work that he never completed. He would make excuses as to why he was unable to complete the job and when asked for a refund, he would threaten the customer with legal action claiming that the customer was in breach of contract because they failed to allow him to “perform his services” in a time frame he deemed acceptable.
After investigating this scam, News In Onslow learned that Rose would go to the “Camp Lejeune Online yard Sales!” Facebook group and advertise his business suggesting that his company offered “the lowest prices around”. This was part of his scam that was used to lure customers in and convince them that the work they needed was not as expensive as they thought. He would also advertise jobs with his company claiming that he was in need of workers that were “dependable and have knowledge of all construction.”
Once Rose found his next unsuspecting victim, he would allegedly meet with them and show them “fake papers that he was licensed” knowing full well that he was not. Customers were required to pay a 50% deposit up front for the total cost of the job, Rose would start the work but it was never finished.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Rose currently have 4 complaints filed against him, in which one complaint states: “I have a contract with this business to paint and do repairs on my house. They did bad work, never finished the job and they were paid $1,650 I have a contract with this company to paint and do repairs on my house, they did bad work and never did all repairs. I have tried several times to get them to finish their work. I keep being told they will come out and they never show up. A guy they sent to work on my house was smoking weed in my backyard. I paid them $1650 in cash and they have not been back to finish. I will have to hire another contractor to redo everything they have done. I want my $1,650 returned.”
Another complainant, according to the Better Business Bureau said that Rose company “took payment for work never completed. Took 1400 to disassemble move be reassemble a pool and install electrical line to pool equipment. Dissembles and moved pool. Has never come back. Disconnected his phone service. Won’t respond to my communication.”
You can read the other complaints at https://www.bbb.org/raleigh-durham/business-reviews/home-improvement/always-a-rose-construction-in-morehead-city-nc-90291474
News In Onslow reached out to both Rose and his girlfriend, Tammy, for a statement and they adamantly denied the allegations.
Local authorities have confirmed with News In Onslow that Rose has had numerous complaints made against him and that the case is currently in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office.
BUSTED! Local Veteran Thrift Store of America doors close following owner’s exposure of multiple SCANDALS
A man that many thought they could trust is now going down BIG TIME!
The owner of both the Veteran Thrift Store of America, located at 709 New Bridge Street in Downtown Jacksonville and the Pink Ribbon Caffe, located at 411 N Main Street, in Downtown Tarboro, Myron McCutcheon, is under fire for fraud, embezzlement, drug allegations, unpaid employees, rejected 501(c) 3 and possible tax evasion.
McCutcheon told many in the Onslow and Edgecombe communities that he had been medically discharged from the United States Marine Corps, but citizens later found out that he is dishonest and he was actually dishonorably discharged as a (Private) following drug charges.
After his dishonorable discharge, McCutcheon purported to be a Veteran of varying ranks, which ranged from Private to Gunnery Sergeant. It appeared that his rank was actually “Stolen Valor”, and according to “The Stolen Valor Act” of 2013, “it is a federal crime to fraudulently claim to be a recipient of certain military decorations or medals in order to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefits”. While it appeared to be beneficial to the community, nothing was free.
McCutcheon’s aid to the community came at the cost of inflated Facebook reviews to boost his reputation. According to the former CEO of the Veteran Thrift Store of America, this was the only circumstance in which McCutcheon would assist community members. He claimed that he wanted to create a way to give back to the veterans who served and even those that continued to serve as first responders.
The thrift store opened in March of 2017 and sources say that McCutcheon used the title of “Veteran” to obtain donations and scam people to help support his illegitimate charity. News In Onslow spoke to the landlord of 709 New Bridge Street on Friday afternoon who confirmed that McCutcheon will be served with an eviction notice in the coming weeks but what will happen to the donations remains unknown.
In April of 2017, McCutcheon registered “American Heroes of Valor Corporation” as a 501 (C) 3 with the State of North Carolina and was approved but the IRS rejected his application. During that time, he attempted to attach “Veteran Thrift Store of America” to the “American Heroes of Valor Corporation” and began accepting donations for veterans knowing that it was illegal.
After “Veteran Thrift Store of America” closed, McCutcheon took his scam to Tarboro where he launched the “Pink Ribbon Caffe”, for which he says he came up with the idea of opening because he wanted to help cancer victims who were struggling with to pay their bills. Sources tell News In Onslow, that all proceeds are not going to anyone other than McCutcheon to fund his, alleged, drug and alcohol use.
In a recently published article by the Tar River Times, they mention that the employees of the Pink Ribbon Cafe“started catching onto McCutcheon’s antics, and the multiple lies that began to surface that McCutcheon had been caught in.” Supporters of McCutcheon were astonished when they found out that he lied about the Pink Ribbon Cafe being registered as a non-profit 501(C) 3.
Sometime later, after the Pink Ribbon Cafe official launch February 23, 2017, Tarboro Police discovered that McCutcheon had a three-year-old warrant for failure to appear on a driving while license revoked charge in Onslow County. He claims that it was his attorney’s fault for not doing his job which was to take care of the charges on his behalf. After further investigation, officials stated that he was not represented by an attorney in that case.
Days later, McCutcheon was arrested again by Tarboro Police after Detective Sgt. Brandon Richardson launched an investigation and concluded that McCutcheon refused to pay his employees. He has been charged with three counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Two of McCutcheon’s former employees resigned from his companies last week in light of these new allegations and charges.
READ RESIGNATIONS BELOW:
To FOLLOW all the latest on McCutcheon, here is the Veteran Thrift Store of America Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VeteranThriftStoreofAmerica/
McCutcheon is scheduled to appear in Edgecombe County Court on the three counts of obtaining property by false pretenses March 21, 2018.