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Opinion: Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history

Racial tensions are rising, the earth is warming, and evangelicals are doing little to help. That may be Graham’s most significant, and saddest, legacy.

By Matthew Avery Sutton, Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of History

Matthew Avery Sutton

When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies.

Graham was on the wrong side of history.

The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world.

For Graham, the Bible had a clear message for Christians living in what he believed were humans’ last days on earth. Individuals alone can achieve salvation; governments cannot. Conversions change behaviors; federal policies do not.

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The Guardian

Series to explore growth of Clark County through residents’ personal tales

“How We Came to this Place,” a series of community conversations will explore how residents of Clark County, Wash., got there as individuals and as a community.

The Clark County Stories Project, beginning January 27, is a partnership of the Clark County Historical Museum, Washington State University Vancouver and Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. It aims to inspire and train community members to collect the oral histories of residents who have witnessed the changes of the last 30 to 50 years.

Sue Peabody“Each of us has a story about how we came here,” said WSU Vancouver history professor Sue Peabody, one of the project founders who also is a Clark County Historical Society trustee. “Each of us can see the rapid development and changes in our communities.”

The population of Clark County has more than doubled over the last 30 years to almost 500,000. More than half — 54 percent — of its residents were born in another state; 10 percent were born in another country.

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The Columbian

Camas Post Record

Jerusalem: Trump’s gift to evangelicals

Trump has made clear that he is listening to a powerful group of people eager to set the stage for Armageddon and the Second Coming.

By Matthew Avery Sutton, Edward R. Meyer distinguished professor of history

Matthew Avery Sutton

Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has set in motion events that evangelicals have long predicted. Or so it seems to the president’s most faithful supporters.

The president’s latest foreign policy decision is a gift to the evangelicals who have long supported him, those who advise him and those who fill his cabinet.

American evangelicals believe that Jesus is going to return to earth soon. But for that to happen, most of these Christians believe, Jerusalem has to become the capital of Israel.

With Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, evangelicals are eagerly anticipating what might come next—perhaps the rebuilding of the temple, the rapture of all true Christians from earth, then, for the rest of us left behind, tribulation, war and the battle of Armageddon.

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Seattle Times

Opinion: Trump Wrecks U.S. Foreign Policy to Get Christian Zionist Votes in Alabama

The Trump administration’s controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is an appeal to Alabama evangelicals who largely support embattled U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, says radio host Ian Masters.

Matthew Avery Sutton

Masters discusses the role of evangelicalism in U.S. politics and history with Matthew Sutton, Edward R. Meyer distinguished professor of history at WSU.

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Background Briefing

History project examining key role of Washington’s 161st Infantry Regiment finds rare WWII footage

Sometimes you just get lucky.

Orlan Svingen
Orlan Svingen

Washington State University graduate students Laura Briere and Jared Chastain, along with their faculty adviser, historian Orlan Svingen, were in College Park, Maryland last spring looking for information about the storied 161st Infantry Regiment when they stepped off the elevator on the wrong floor.

It turned out to be a fortunate mistake.

They’d hoped to find old photographs and other paper documents from the Washington National Guard regiment’s World War II deployment but stumbled onto something even more dramatic. Specifically, an old film reel containing never-before-publicly viewed footage of the unit’s fierce, island-by-island march across the Pacific.

“I wasn’t expecting any video clips,” says Briere, a school teacher from Richmond, Virginia working on a history master’s at WSU in Pullman. “We had gone there hoping to find documents, paperwork and maybe some pictures.”

They came away with so much more.

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WSU Insider