Billy Graham may seem like an American icon to some, but not to Katie Couric, who scorned him during live Ford memorial service coverage on CBS Tuesday morning. She complained about him for writing a "remarkably partisan" letter comforting Gerald Ford after he lost to her hero Jimmy Carter in 1976. Who is Couric to judge "remarkably partisan," since she leans exactly the other way when it comes to her hero, President Carter? At about 10:40 am, Couric talked with liberal Carter-boosting historian Douglas Brinkley about Ford's religious faith, which brought out this exchange about Ford's relationship with the evangelist:
Brinkley: “He was a man of deep, deep religious faith. Many people associate Jimmy Carter with born-again Christianity, but he was a very churchgoing man, Gerald Ford, and he developed a great friendship with the Rev. Billy Graham. One of the interesting new documents to come to light are the correspondence between Billy Graham and Gerald Ford. In fact, when Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, Graham wrote an extraordinary letter to Gerald Ford saying that during the election, I prayed constantly for you, and for some mysterious reason, unknown to us, Mr. Carter won. And he went on to say that he just can’t figure out why God did that to us, that I wanted you, Gerry -- a very nice letter. It meant a lot to President Ford to receive that."
Couric: "Of course, Billy Graham became very close to Jimmy Carter and has been close to every president. But that was a remarkably partisan letter from someone who –" [awkward pause]
Brinkley: "Tells you how close -- "
Couric: "-- prides himself on being nonpartisan and a friend to all presidents."
By the way, Associated Press caught the culture-war segment of the eulogy from Ford's pastor in Palm Desert, California on the split between Episcopalians over gay Bishop Gene Robinson. Ford took the liberal view:
In his homily, Episcopalian minister Robert G. Certain touched on the fractious debate in the church over its growing acceptance of homosexual relationships, and said Ford did not think the issue should be splitting Episcopalians. He was Ford's pastor at St. Margaret's Church in Palm Desert, Calif.
"He asked me if we would face schism after we discussed the various issues we would consider, particularly concerns about human sexuality and the leadership of women," Certain said. "He said that he did not think they should be divisive for anyone who lived by the great commandments and the great commission to love God and to love neighbor."