There’s church, there’s state and there’s Billy Graham

On this day in 1971: H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, chief of staff for President Nixon (referred to as “the P”), writes in his diary about evangelist Billy Graham:

“This afternoon the P got into a little harangue on IRS investigations, saying that he had been told by Billy Graham that the IRS is currently investigating him. . . . The P wants now to be sure that we get the names of the big Democratic contributors and get them investigated. Also the Democratic celebrities and so forth.”

The entry is one of many that portray Graham, longtime counselor of presidents, in a more political than spiritual light. Haldeman also reports Graham’s being used as an emissary to potential rival George Wallace and former President Lyndon Johnson and discussing with Nixon “the terrible problem arising from the total Jewish domination of the media.”