Today is Melania Trump’s 49th birthday. And it allowed Franklin Graham to do some first-rate toadying to her adulterous mate. He tweeted:

Happy birthday to @FLOTUS Melania Trump—the classiest first lady our country has ever had.

This absurd assertion engendered comment — most of it pointing out that Melania Knauss was well-known for pictures with most, if not all, of her kit off. Which raises the question what does Graham consider ‘classy’? 

The most limited definition of the word is stylish and sophisticated. You could grant Melania is ‘stylish’ — but ‘sophisticated’ is a harder sell. That quality requires more than looking good in clothes. It speaks to quality education, with conversational skills, an appreciation of art, architecture, music, with a knowledge of history and literature, a refined palate and good manners.

It is hard to say how many of these boxes Melania checks, but I can’t recall her pictured at an opera or a bookstore. She is a college drop-out. And there is nothing about her Fifth Avenue home that suggests an eye for art or decor — although in fairness I’m sure Trump wouldn’t stand for anyone interfering with his Las Vegas hotel lobby taste.

Let’s take a deeper look at what Graham said in this tweet. ‘Classy’ is a low rent word. It conjures up images of a gangster’s moll. It is part of the vocabulary of the ‘Jersey Shore’ cast. It is used by people whose favorite color is ‘gilt’. It smacks of ‘new money’. It is never used by people who have class.

The most offensive part of the tweet is the suggestion that all past First Ladies are also-rans. Graham could have just called Melania ‘classy’ — but he chose to denigrate 228 years worth of previous title holders.

Do these women deserve this reduced status? Let’s look at the modern hallmark of sophisticated First Ladies — Jackie Kennedy. Not only did she dress impeccably, she inspired other women to copy her hair, hats, and clothes. 

During Jack’s first year in office, Jackie supervised the renovation of the White House – before hosting a televised tour, showing an in-depth knowledge of the building’s history and that of its fixtures, fittings, and furniture. 

When the Kennedys visited France, where she was adored, Jack Kennedy was moved to say that he would be remembered as the man who accompanied Jackie Kennedy to Paris.

But it was her stoic reaction to her husband’s assassination that showed her true mettle. She stood by LBJ’s side as he was sworn in mere hours after the killing. She organized the state funeral. And held herself erect when the national tragedy bowed so many.

Early in the Republic’s history, Dolley Madison was renowned for her grace and wit and her ability to have warring political factions lay down their rhetorical weapons at the end of the day and socialize. She was considered a great beauty. And before her husband became President, she acted as the widower Jefferson’s First Lady. As such, she assisted in furnishing the newly built White House. And she was the only First Lady ever given an honorary seat in the House of Representatives.

Edith ‘Edie’ Roosevelt grew up in an upper-class New York neighborhood. Teddy Roosevelt lived next door. As First Lady, she was highly influential on her husband. And her bearing was such that an aide remarked that she was “always the gentle, high-bred host smiling often at what went on about her, yet never critical of the ignorant and tolerant always of the little insincerities of political life.

And let’s not forget Michelle Obama. Not only is she a strikingly handsome woman, but she also has an Ivy League education and a Havard Law degree. She is one of three First Ladies with a post-graduate degree (the others being her immediate predecessors, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush). She was unflappable for eight years as racists and sexists heaped abuse on her.

Franklin Graham is a miserable suck-up who thinks nothing of spitting on a rich history of some of the finest — and classiest women — America has produced. But this lack of decency is unsurprising coming from an evangelical who has shed all traces of Christianity. He is nowt but a miserable opportunist who represents all that is wrong with America.


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Religion’s greatest trick isn’t that it wormed it’s way into the legal code of the US despite constitutional prohibitions, it is that it convinced people it was out of bounds to criticize the faithful for their beliefs. If I say hateful things, I am subject to censure. But if I intimate that my God believes hateful things and I’m […]

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Most atheists were raised in religious families. And they paid attention. The evidence indicates atheists know more than believers about religion. And they are often the most questioning of and curious about the ‘holy’ texts. So it is no surprise that Isaac Asimov said: “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”  […]

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June 23, 2018

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June 4, 2018

The scandals of the Catholic Church are well known. To this day the church is still acceding to multi-million dollar settlements  — the latest is a $210 million agreement between the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis and 450 victims of priestly abuse. But the Catholics are hardly alone either in producing abusers or in concealing their abuse. Evangelicals are their […]

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Anti-Semitism 2.0: Evangelicals Find Jews Useful Today and Disposable Tomorrow.

May 15, 2018

Pastor Robert Jeffress is a prominent evangelical. He was on hand to lead prayers at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem. His presence illustrates an intrinsic and callous sadism of evangelical philosophy. Especially when it comes to their eschatology — or their understanding of end times. Let me explain. Evangelicals believe that for the second coming of […]

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Caitlyn Jenner Lectures the British Parliament on Transgenderism. How We Got Here.

May 10, 2018

Sex, sexuality and gender identity are all matters of supreme interest and intense fear. How much of the fear is learned behavior, and how much is innate, a more knowledgeable mind than mine will have to decide. Regardless, the history of religion would be incomplete without a lot of time devoted to the subject. Sometimes, as with […]

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Evangelicals Rip Up the Bible’s Rules to Promote a Porn Star Loving President.

March 10, 2018

I was sent away to religious schools when I was young. There was some form of service every day. Divinity was a mandatory class. And during school breaks, I was deposited once weekly at the local church for a maintenance dose of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. I mention this only to establish that, while the […]

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