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Interview with Ellen Little

Interviewee: 
Little, Ellen
Interviewer: 
Johnson, Jean
Date of Interview: 
1996-04-26
Identifier: 
MULI0009
Subjects: 
Billy Graham crusade, Charlotte, NC; Presbyterian Church; Evangelistic work; Women and religion; Religion; Racism; Teenagers; Providence Presbyterian Church; Rocky River Church; Providence Presbyterian Church; Covenant Presbyterian Church; Belk Department Store; Myers Park High School; South Park Mall; Pro-life movement; Patriarchy; Brooklyn neighborhood; King, Martin Luther - Assasination; Race relations; Baptist Church; Clergy; Revivals;
Abstract: 
Ellen Little discusses her experience of attending a Billy Graham crusade in Charlotte, NC, in 1972 and the impact it had on her spiritual development. A teenager at the time of the revival, Little describes the points of Graham's message that resonated with her and shaped her personal beliefs, most importantly the notion of acceptance in religion for all people, regardless or race or gender. Little also talks about the positive impression that the organization of the crusade, itself, and the ministry's subsequent contacts made upon her. While Little credits Graham for planting the seeds of equality in her religious ideology, she contends that she may have tweaked Graham's philosophy beyond its original intent. She discusses the divergence of her ideology with what she calls more "judgmental" and "male-dominated" Christian ideology. To Little, evangelism is based on daily life practices rather than proselytizing. Moreover, Little addresses the issue of race-both in terms of Graham's stance on race relations and the contemporary events occurring in Charlotte regarding public school integration.
Coverage: 
1960-1996
Interview Setting: 
Interviewed at the Levine Musuem of the New South
Collection: 
Levine Museum of the New South, Billy Graham Series
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
JJ (Jean Johnson): We're talking with Ellen Little on April 26th, with her comments on the Billy Graham Crusade of 1972, which she attended. So tell me about the crusade. What was it like?
EL (Ellen Little): Well, in 1972 I was fifteen,
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: And I went with three friends of mine. And they all were sixteen, so it was big deal to go out of the house and go somewhere on our own. It was an adventure just going to the Coliseum. I think it was probably one of the very first times I'd been to the Coliseum without parents, so that was exciting. At the age of fifteen, I think you're really very impressionable spiritually. You're...you haven't developed hard, fast ideas of what God is and what God isn't, and so for me, that was very good. I walked into it with a relatively opened mind. After the excitement of being there wore off and the crusade activities progressed, what surprised me was that the three people I was with were really paying attention. A lot of this was not unfamiliar to me. I was raised in a Presbyterian family. My paternal grandmother's family were a long line of missionaries and ministers in the Presbyterian Church, and so a lot of what I was hearing was very familiar and comforting. For them, my partners, it, it was obviously new to them, and so that intrigued me to see how they reacted. I think the feeling, the overwhelming theme that I felt when I left there was that this. The message was a feeling of hope and acceptance. And I don't remember exact words or exact activities very well, it's been long enough ago that my mind, memory's faded, [Laughter] but I remember feeling as though that the things that Billy Graham said were that all people, men or women, which was a new idea to me, had a place in this religion of his, his God. And I thought, well, this is OK. Hope and acceptance and a very positive experience. There was not a single thing that was intimidating, and you know as a fifteen year old or a sixteen year old could be easily intimidated by a lot of adults. The other thing that I was impressed by was at the end of big activities, the singing and his message, he invited people down to the floor to meet with the counselors. And it was an invitation, really. It wasn't a message of either you come or you're condemned. If you don't come down here now, you're not a part of us. That wasn't what I heard at all. It was very warm invitation. And, to my surprise, my three partners stood up and started to walk down there, and I thought, wow, well this is an experience. I had enough religious training behind me that I could go either way with it, but the fact that they got up and were walking down, I thought, well OK. We walked down there and there was young man, I would guess probably a college student that was working with the crusade. And he came right up to us, and he wasn't bold and he didn't say I have something to sell you. He said, "What would you like to talk to me about?" The three of them started talking, and I was listening. And when he turned to me, he said, "Have you accepted Christ into your life?" And at that point of my life I really truly believed that I had. I think at the age of fifteen it's very hard to have any real significant spiritual experience other than what you've gathered from your family. But I had. And he gave us all four some literature and he took our names and our address and our phone number. And for sometime afterward, I received at my parent's address information about the Billy Graham Crusade. And what made me feel good about that information, it never asked for a donation. It always was just information about what they were doing, where they were going. If you have an opportunity to come see us again, do it. And I think that the non-pushy nature of their crusade was very inviting to people, and anybody who was hunger, hungry for spiritual growth would feel comfortable. I can't say that it significantly changed anything about my spiritual life. I think I had a lot of bedrock on which to grow, but it was a part of it because I had never heard in any of the churches I had gone to that men and women both fit into this picture. I don't think for a minute that Billy Graham is a women's-libber. He's very traditional in his views, I think. But I think that his wife, having read a little about him since, really influenced him in the respect that women do have a part in this Christianity of his. And that he couldn't ignore it. And, for a fifteen year old who was brought up in very traditional and patriarchal family, this was a new message. And I liked it. [Laughter] I took it with me, and I've never been a women's libber. I've never took up a cause, but I'm extremely sensitive to the way men treat women. For fourteen years I flew for Piedmont Airlines, US Air and then the last year I flew, I flew for British Airways, and I've seen the way the way women and men interact all over the country and even, you know, in Great Britain. And sometimes what helped me hold my tongue against people who were very judgmental or ardent in their beliefs was knowing that I was OK with my beliefs. And, I, I would, I would say that his crusade reinforced that idea. It didn't give me an overwhelming new message. It didn't rock my world. It didn't make me go home and change everything that I was doing. I certainly did my share of getting into trouble and trying new things later on in life, but there was always that thought in my mind- that there is hope and there is acceptance in this world that I had heard about. And it fit into my spiritual life, always.
JJ: Do you think you would have gone down to the altar call by yourself?
EL: Possibly. I think if I had been there. [Pause] Yeah, I think I would. I, I don't know if who was with me would have made a big difference. I think I would have. An awful lot of people did go down. It surprised me how many people did. They had people waiting in line to talk to counselors, and my friends and I were some of the very first ones down there, so as we turned around to leave, here were lines and lines of people. And, you know, you never know what moves you to do something, a gut feeling, but I think, I think I probably would have. I was surprised by their getting up.
JJ: Um-huh.
EL: Because I didn't suspect it.
JJ: Of course, teenagers never did anything alone any way.
EL: Oh no.
JJ: They tend to go en masse. [Laughter]
EL: Yeah. Yeah. You have to be part of the crowd.
JJ: Yeah, yeah. So you. What I'm hearing is that the altar call really didn't make that much difference to you one way or the other, but it was just the total experience?
EL: Right. Right. And hearing this big man with this big voice. He, he talked about his God being all merciful, and I started working that idea in my head that, OK, if this God is all merciful then he accepts everybody. And by the time I left that day, I thought this is new stuff, this is new information for me. And, of course, as a fifteen year old, you just try to assimilate some of that information into your world, which is very small at that point and leave the rest behind. However, later in life, I, I think I drew upon that experience and other experiences, but certainly that, too.
JJ: What school were you in then? What high school?
EL: I was in between school, ninth grade at Quail Hollow Junior High
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: and tenth grade at South Mecklenburg.
JJ: And what was the busing situation and integration?
EL: When I was in seventh grade, I had gone to Smith Junior High. I was. Our house was located approximately halfway between.
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: And we'd already established our friends, and it really. It was a significant impact on all of our lives. It shook our foundation.
JJ: Was, was busing enforced then?
EL: Yes.
JJ: And did, did Billy Graham talk about racism?
EL: Yes.
JJ: Do you remember?
EL: Yes, he did. He addressed the black and white issue, and [Pause] that message of acceptance when he talked, he didn't. I didn't feel that he dwelled too much on the black and white issue, but he said all people. And if that meant white people, that certainly meant black people.
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: For me, the message was men and women. But certainly anyone who had a problem with that issue at the time, they knew how he felt. He was very clear.
JJ: I don't know if you followed his theories from back when you first started, but he's always spoken in favor of racism, even though he was from the South and was pretty much of a segregationist, by the time he got through seminary school he. And that was in the late 40s. Which is pretty unusual, I think, for a Southerner to come out against racism.
EL: Against racism.
JJ: Yeah, yeah.
EL: Very bold for him in this area, I think.
JJ: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
EL: It was a very upsetting time in Charlotte. It was extremely significant. I can remember certain patches of things that happened. Martin Luther King being killed and Robert Kennedy and, with our own situation here in Charlotte, there was an overwhelming feeling that people outside of the South had imposed a rule on us. And I don't think it, I think in a lot of minds it wasn't a racial thing, it was, "We're being told to do something that we don't see being done everywhere else," so are we the guinea pig? And I think certainly a lot of people felt like they were guinea pigs.
JJ: So how was your high school experience then?
EL: Oh, it was very good. I think after, once I had reached high school, things had settled down somewhat although you still had certain fights at school. Even my senior year in high school, they had called out the police to be at South Mecklenburg one day. And I don't remember what started it, but what occurs to me that it wasn't so much racially motivated as a group of kids. And I don't know whether they were black or white, wanted to start something, like a rumble, from, you know, you would call it in the 50s. Well in the 70s, it was just starting a fight to get you out of class. I don't think it was so much that. I don't think it was racially motivated. I think it was kids, teenagers being teenagers more than anything. But our high school, it was a good experience. I graduated in '75, and I don't--. We didn't have an overwhelming feeling of racial problems, I don't think. I really don't.
JJ: What else do you remember about Charlotte at that time? What kind of things did you do for fun, or what?
EL: Oh, Lord. [Laughter] It was much different, especially out in the southern part of the county. I grew up, well obviously if I went to South Mecklenburg, that's the area that's the area I grew up in. South Mecklenburg was really on a farm, and Quail Hollow was on a farm. And kids that went to Myers Park called us farmers, [Laughter] and, and legitimately so. And a good part of southeast Charlotte was farmland. In fact, certainly the property that Park Road Shopping Center is built on used to be Billy Graham's family farm. And his house was still on Park Road up until the 80s, I believe. I--. And I remember my mother pointing that out to me. We--. Certainly by the time I was in high school, there were drugs, but it was not an overwhelming thing, I don't think. I don't--. I think more than anything kids went out, and they would go to a football game and afterwards go to the Pizza Hut. Some kids might drink beer, but most of us didn't. We weren't interested in [Clears throat] getting in trouble. At that point, we just wanted to go out and have a good time. Going to South 21 Drive In and eating burgers, [Laughter] milkshakes. And I could eat french fries and milkshakes then and not gain weight. [Laughter] That's what I remember about that time. I'm trying to think what other things. There was a small little country store on Park Road just north of Sharon Road West, at that time, and it's been torn down since. And that little country store sold sodas and candy and bubble gum and, you know, the beef sticks, [Laughter] and things like that. And we all would all go there after school. And the big thing at that time was that all the football games were at Myers Park, generally. Myers Park or--. There were not too many schools that had stadiums. We would play at Memorial Stadium. I can remember going to the game that Phil Hughston was paralyzed. And that was very, very sad and very--. That was '72 also, I think. And so that was a big thing to be sitting in the stands with friends and see something like that happen. And then find out later that he died.
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: I think Charlotte was a real small town at that time. We thought of ourselves as being a big city, but we weren't. If we wanted to go to Belk`s, we went downtown and parked and went into the Belk`s and had our little egg salad sandwich at the counter with our Coca Cola and, you know--. That's where you bought your prom dress. South Park opened up when I was in probably ninth or tenth grade. I can't remember exactly. So we hung out at South Park. But, it was a big deal to go downtown in Charlotte. South Park became a hangout even then for junior high kids. We'd go and see other people and, "Meet you at the fountain." But I don't think that the store owners were so concerned about us at that time, because our numbers were small. We didn't rove around in gangs so much. So--.
JJ: My children went to South Park, too.
EL: Yeah.
JJ: Did your parents go to the Billy Graham crusade in '72?
EL: I don't believe they did, no.
JJ: How did you get there?
EL: I rode with one of the kids that had their driver's license. It was a big adventure. [Laughter]
JJ: But this was an OK place for you to go apparently?
EL: Absolutely. I think it--. My parents knew I was going. They knew what to--. They felt OK about it, and they were pretty strict about where they would let me go. Of course they put a guideline on when I was going to be home. But this was OK.
JJ: Was this a special crusade for the youth? Because he sometimes divides them up. Or were there a lot of teenagers there?
EL: It seems to me there was a real broad cross section of ages. I don't, I don't remember it as being geared toward youth. It may have been, but I can't remember it as so.
JJ: Were there black people there?
EL: Yes. Yes. And not in huge numbers, I wouldn't say. Of course, Charlotte was seventy-thirty at the time. That was the statistics that they gave the school board to meet. I would say, if you had to put a percentage on it, they were probably fifteen to twenty percent black people. And they were mostly older. They were women mostly, older. [Pause] But I don't remember. It's, it's pretty vague at this point. [Laughter]
JJ: Um-hum. Um-hum. Billy Graham is sometimes criticized for his sort of slick approach, and it's, it's a big business, of course.
EL: Um-hum.
JJ: And do you--? How do you feel about his approach to evangelism?
EL: Well, I think it has changed since--. Not going to the other pole, but I would say it has changed since that time. I think in '72 he certainly was very good at what he had done. He was traveling all over the world; he was very busy. It didn't feel like I was being conned. It didn't feel slick. But, as a fifteen year old, you're not quite aware of those things yet. You're still quite naive about that. These days, I don't think that I would go to one of the crusades. I, I won't go to the one this fall, I don't think. Not because I have a problem with his religion. That's not it. Crowds. The crowds would bother me now. But my spiritual path has gone off in a different direction than his at this point. My belief--. His--. The message I got of acceptance perhaps I took it and ran with it and developed it to an extreme, because my personal feelings are that--. And I think it grew out of these ideas. My personal feelings are that as long as someone embraces the ideas of the golden rule, love thy neighbor as you love themself, yourself, that's embracing God's ideas. And it doesn't really matter what label you put on it. So I think that anyone--. I haven't heard him speak lately, but anyone who might say Christianity is the only way to be saved- that wouldn't sit well with me. That wouldn't fit into my spiritual path, but they have a right to believe it and, by golly, they can believe it as long as they live. I figure we'll all figure it out when we die. [Laughter] We'll know the truth then.
JJ: Do you belong to a church now or--?
EL: I belong to Providence Presbyterian Church. My parents belong there. I don't go regularly. I have a women's group that I meet with that we discuss spiritual things. We do a book study. And, my, my spiritual path has taken on a whole new idea. It doesn't fit in--. Now this is going to sound really sexist on my part. It doesn't fit into a man's-dominated religion. And having grown up in the Presbyterian faith, it is a male-dominated world. And that's OK for whoever feels comfortable with it. My mother certainly feels comfortable with it, and, and that's great. But that's not my path.
JJ: And you feel like maybe Billy Graham was sort of a turning point for that with this message, or that he wasn't a dominating male? Or how did--?
EL: He may be. I'm not sure. He doesn't feel like the other evangelists at all. Whenever I talk about evangelists, I find myself saying, but of course not Billy Graham, because most evangelists when you say that word, you think of someone who's going to come over and heal you, slap you on the head and say, "be healed," and, or going to try to be very charismatic or dynamic. And I don't see him that way. Of course, I, I spent quite a few summers going up to Montreat, and my parents went to conferences there. And he has a home there. And he didn't actively participate in those conferences, however, his present was felt, I think. People knew when he was in town. Made a real effort not to let people come and bother him. And he seems more content with his own, secure in the knowledge of his own spiritual faith that he doesn't have to force it on someone else. And I--. That's very attractive to me, because people who want to tell you that you're condemned to hell if you don't believe what they believe. That is a huge turn off for me. I won't listen to it.
JJ: Do you think his religious views have changed? Do you watch him on TV or anything or do you think--?
EL: I can't say that I've seen him on TV lately. The last time I saw him it was a broadcast from overseas, and I can't even remember where. It was a huge crowd. And a lot of what he said was very familiar. I can't really offer an educated opinion on whether his views have changed. I think that he is open minded to the extent that as the world changes, he tries to fit in. I know that, it seems that after Richard Nixon was pushed out of office, he--. They had a special relationship, and that it seems that he came out publicly at some point and said, "we all make mistakes" in other words. And that just because this person has made a mistake doesn't mean that I don't have him as a friend. And so, you know, I think you have to--. If you're a public figure, you have to go where the breeze goes. You know, you have to kind of go along with the changing times because you never know what truth might be revealed around the corner, you know. So, I'd have to say that his views probably have changed some, but I think that his faith, his faith in God and the Christian belief being the way to God--. I don't really believe that that's changed at all.
JJ: Did you ever, growing up, go to any other revivals? Did you hear any other evangelists? Did your parents do that sort of thing? I can't imagine your mother doing that.
EL: No. [Laughter] They didn't take me to anything other than--. I went to a lot of Presbyterian homecomings, at lots of different churches because my father's mother's father was a Lapsley, and he was a minister that was with a lot of churches throughout North Carolina and Virginia and West Virginia. And so when we would go to a homecoming, people would see my grandmother and they'd go, "Oh, there's the Lapsley girl." And so I was accepted at a lot of these different things, and they were not evangelical. You know, certainly, the minister would get up and have a sermon that day that would try to include everyone, but these were real homecomings. These were real people bringing the brownies and the fried chicken and the ham biscuits, and this is very Southern, very Southern, indeed.
JJ: I don't know that I've heard the word homecoming. What do you, what do you call a homecoming?
EL: A homecoming in the Presbyterian church is usually held in May, as I remember, and it is announced months in advance. And families are expected to let everybody know far and wide, all their relatives who have moved off to, you know, either the big city-Atlanta being the big city- and let them know to come home that weekend. And they have a big huge long tables filled with covered dishes, and everybody is expected to bring enough for their family plus one. And, boy, I loved those ham biscuits and brownies. I ate my share of them. And after the church service, everybody would sit out on the lawn, usually at a church that had been there a long time, and so you'd have huge trees as a canopy. You weren't sitting in the sun if you didn't want to and eat. And there would be fellowship, but there would also at some point the minister, prior to everybody eating, would have a prayer over the food, and then the talk of religion usually stopped and everybody started talking about where everybody's been since last homecoming. But Rocky River Church, certainly Providence Presbyterian. I was raised at Covenant Presbyterian Church, so--.
JJ: I didn't know that, because that's where I go now.
EL: Yeah, yeah.
JJ: I remember your mother's funeral.
EL: They didn't have homecomings. They, they would have cover dish suppers, but they didn't have homecomings because usually the folks at Covenant were already there.
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: They didn't have any need to leave.
JJ: Um-hum.
EL: But no, I hadn't been to any other revivals. I will say that I experienced quite a number of different churches in my teenage years. I visited a holy rollers church once. That was quite an experience; scared me to death. And I left when they got the snakes out. I experienced a very revivalist Baptist Church, and I want to say it was down in Plaza Midwood. I can't remember what the name of the church is, but I went with one--. As a matter of fact, I went with one of the girls that I went to the crusade with, and it was her family's church. And the minister was quite charismatic, and I sat--. I must have sat there with my eyes wide open and my mouth hanging open, because no Presbyterian minister I'd ever seen had been that loud and that verbose and called for people "To come on down and witness to us." [Laughter] I didn't--. I thought, Oh my. This is very different. Are these people Christian? [Laughter] And then I--. The nice thing about Covenant Presbyterian was that they had a Sunday where they would take the junior high kids and they would visit the temple across the street. Of course, it's not there anymore, but--. And their kids would come over and visit us. So, that was a good experience in that it broadened my horizons. Made me realize that there might be other ways to get to God.
JJ: What do you--? We at--. Here in the staff, half of us are Jewish, and we have interesting discussions about evangelism. What is evangelism.
EL: Right.
JJ: What is evangelism with a capital "E." What's evangelism--.
EL: Yeah
JJ: with a small "E." How would you define evangelism when you used the word a while back?
EL: When I use it in the popular, in my popular definition of it, I talk about evangelism, and I think of people going door to door, or crusades, or, you know, Ernest Angsley getting on T.V. However, on a personal level, my evangelism is I live the way I think my God wants me to live. And if I show--. I speak my belief, my faith through my actions. If someone admires it and says, "How do you come to be serene? How's your--. How do you have this serenity in your life?" then I'll be willing to tell them but only in the context that this is how it works for me. This certainly may not work for you. I believe there are many roads on that spiritual path. And I think sometimes we cross each other, and I think sometimes we're parallel. I don't think that anybody can intelligently rule out any religion that embraces love as a con--, as a primary concept. If they do, I feel they are being very narrow minded and ignorant.
JJ: Do you think evangelism is part of being a Protestant? That in a way all Protestants are evangelical and--?
EL: Yes to the extent that I've, have seen think that my parents [RECORDING INTERRPUTED] [RECORDING RESUMED]
JJ: OK. We are set.
EL: OK. I think that my parents are evangelical in the fact that they live their religion. [Clears throat] My dad was raised in the South, and a good number of his family members, if they weren't missionaries or ministers, they were farmers. And they had black people who lived on the farm with them and were a part of their life but were certainly not subservient to them. These were people who were part of their life who benefited in the same way that they benefited from getting the crops in, canning. These women all did it together. They canned all their food together so they could make it through the winter. And his family tended to be [Pause]--. I won't say poor because I don't think that's applicable. They were rich in their education through the church, but they didn't have a lot of material possessions. And I, as a child, saw my father treat black men older than himself or his age with utmost respect and would say, "Yes, sir" and "Thank you, sir." And that made a huge impression on me. I thought this is the way I should treat people. And my mother was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey. And her father was an executive with AT and T in Manhattan and would ride the train in everyday. And her experience meeting my father was at the University of West Virginia, so coming to Charlotte was a culture shock for her having been raised in the North. I have always seen my mother as being colorblind. She--. An illustrative point: she worked in the clothing closet at Covenant Presbyterian Church when I was a child, and one of the custodians at the church was this big, tall, black man. Impressive because I know he was close to seven feet if anything, and he was a gentleman in every sense of the word. And one day she was working in the clothing closet and there was a call in from someone that a woman down in, I want to say in Brooklyn part of Charlotte, had had a baby and did not have a crib. And so Mom had a station wagon, a big old black station wagon, and she said, "Well we have a crib here. I'll bring it on down. Give me your address." And she got the crib and put it in the back of the station wagon, and he came out and helped her put it in. He said, "Where are you going?" And she said "Down to this address." And he showed it to her, and he said, "Ma'am I don't think you ought to go down to that part of town right now." And she said, "Why?" And he says, "Haven't you heard the news?" And she said, "No." He says, "Martin Luther King has been shot, and I don't think it's going to be real safe for you to go down there." And my mother was very stubborn in that she said, "No, this woman needs this crib. I need to do this and I've already said that I would, and I don't have her phone number to call her back." He said, "Well, ma'am, I'd better go with you." And he did. And they delivered the crib, and there was not an incident except for when my mother got home that day and told Dad what she had done. He about fainted. He said, "Don't you realize? You may have endangered him." Although I don't think seriously that anybody would threaten him, he was too big. But she didn't even think that this might be a problem. She just knew there was a need. And through living her religion, she shows other people what she believes. So she's evangelical, and he is. And that's the way I want to be. I don't want to be shouting on the street that you must believe what I believe or else you can't make it.
JJ: That type of evangelism is, is very popular in the South.
EL: Uh huh.
JJ: Why do you think that is? Is it something about Southerners?
EL: Well, it's partially southern, I think, because the South has been a male-dominated region of America. I have a cousin, a first cousin, who is one of the bigwigs in the anti-abortion movement, and he's offensive to me in his manner in that he takes his own children out there and puts them on the front line in these protests. And my--. I can feel anger welling up in me right now. My feelings about that are so strong that that is infringing upon the rights of other people to have an opinion, and that's not what America is all about, that our families don't allow us to be in the same city at the same time right now. Fortunately, on the times when he's come to Charlotte and spoken--. And he even had a write-up in the paper, and it really made me sick. I wanted to call the Observer and object. But I can't be around him because I'm afraid I'd be too cruel in what I had to say, and I don't think that's what God wants me to do. If Billy Graham taught hope and acceptance, then I need to accept that that's where that guy is even if he is wrong. [Laughter] I think it's offensive to be judgmental of other people's religions, and evangelism has tended to be that way. It tends to say, me and my group are right; you're different, and so you are wrong. And I can't abide by that. I can't accept that as part of my life because that--. I don't think that's what Jesus Christ taught. That's, that's excluding huge groups of people and certainly that kind of a person wouldn't allow Mary Magdalene into their sphere of social acceptance, but Jesus Christ did. So they seem to be hypocritical to me, and that's an opinion.
JJ: Why would that be more popular in the South? I mean--.
EL: Because men tend to be the evangelist. And I think--. Now here's my personal insecurities coming out. I think that very strict traditional Christian belief can be very controlling of women. Keep them in their place. There are parts of the Bible that say that a woman's place is to obey her husband, and they want to push that as far as they can. And I think that evangelism can push that and also puts down other groups of people, black people. You know, a Southern, white, evangelist might very well say that, you know, those of Anglo-Saxon origin are the chosen people, and the Jews aren't and the blacks aren't, and the Muslims--. Oh my God, I can't believe they're coming into our country. How narrow minded could that be. And I think that with all public views that tend to be offensive it teaches those of us who don't believe it to be leery of people like that.
JJ: Yeah, I agree with that. Probably right. I guess I'm about out of questions. Can you think of anything else about the crusade or anything?
EL: No. It was an experience that really--. It, it did affect me. I do have some vivid flashes of memory about it. He impressed me as a very large man in all senses, not just physically. But he had a big voice, and he had a big message to send. And certainly there's a place for that. I think that any of us who are spiritually hungry, when we hear new ideas we take what we need and we leave the rest behind. And I think I did that. I took away hope and acceptance, and somebody else might have gotten a completely different message that day, and that certainly would be OK for them.
JJ: OK.
EL: Great.
JJ: Thank you very much.
EL: Thank you.
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