Billy Graham

Billy Graham

Infobox Celebrity
name = Billy Graham
birth name = William Franklin Jr. Graham

caption = Billy Graham, April 1966.
birth name = William Franklin Graham Jr
birth_date = birth date and age|1918|11|7
birth_place = Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
nationality = American
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Evangelist

religion = Baptist
salary =
spouse = Ruth Graham (1920-2007)
networth =
website = []
footnotes =

William Franklin Graham Jr., KBE (born November 7, 1918) better known as Billy Graham, is an evangelist and an Evangelical Christian. He has been a spiritual adviser to multiple U.S. presidents [cite news|url=|title=The Transition; Billy Graham to lead Prayers|publisher="The New York Times"|date=December 9, 1992|accessdate=2007-12-24] and was number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for the 20th century. He is a Southern Baptist. [The text originally said that Graham "is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention," but individuals cannot be members of the SBC. The SBC is a convention of churches. Individuals can be members of Southern Baptist churches and can consider themselves to be Southern Baptists, but cannot be members of the Convention.]

Graham has preached in person to more people around the world than any Protestant who has ever lived.cite news |title= BILLY GRAHAM: A MAN WITH A MISSION.(SPECIAL SECTION) |url=|publisher="Cincinnati Post" |date=June 27, 2002 |accessdate=2007-08-18] As of 1993, more than 2.5 million people had stepped forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.,9171,979573,00.html "Time", "God's Billy Pulpit", November 15, 1993] As of 2002, Graham's lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped two billion.


Early life

Born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by his parents, Morrow Coffey and William Franklin Graham. In 1933, when Prohibition in the United States ended, Graham's father forced Graham and his sister Catherine to drink beer until they vomited, which created a lifelong aversion, in both of them, to alcohol and drugs. According to the Billy Graham Center, Billy Graham was converted in 1934 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte which were led by evangelist Mordecai Ham. [ [ Who led Billy Graham to Christ and was it part of a chain of conversions going back to Dwight L. Moody? ] ] However, he was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was "too worldly." He was persuaded to go see Ham at the urging of a local African-American who worked at the Graham farm.cite news |title= Billy Graham: an appreciation: wherever one travels around the world, the names of three Baptists are immediately known and appreciated--Jimmy Carter, Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. One is a politician, one an evangelist, and the other was a civil rights leader. All of them have given Baptists and the Christian faith a good reputation. (Biography) |url=|publisher="Baptist History and Heritage" |date=June 22, 2006 |accessdate=2007-08-18] After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University), then located in Cleveland, Tennessee, for one semester but found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules. At this time he was influenced and inspired by Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church. He was almost expelled, but Bob Jones, Sr. warned him not to throw his life away: "At best, all you could amount to would be a poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks... You have a voice that pulls. God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily." In 1937, Graham transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida) on the site of today's Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. In his autobiography he writes that he "received his calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club", which is immediately in front of today's Sutton Hall at Florida College in Temple Terrace. A Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park is today located on the Hillsborough River directly east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a little island in the river where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. Graham eventually graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in anthropology, in 1943. It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to take the Bible as the infallible Word of God. Henrietta Mears [ [ - The Giving Communities ] ] of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the issue, which was settled at Forest Home Christian camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.


In 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell (1920–2007), whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China, where her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon. He met Ruth at Wheaton: “I saw her walking down the road towards me and I couldn’t help but stare at her as she walked. She looked at me and our eyes met and I felt that she was definitely the woman I wanted to marry.” Ruth thought that he "wanted to please God more than any man I'd ever met." [ Billy Graham: the world is his pulpit.] ] They married two months after graduation and later lived in a log cabin designed by Ruth in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Montreat, North Carolina. Ruth died on June 14, 2007, at age 87. They have five children together: Virginia (Gigi) Graham Foreman (b. 1945); Anne Graham Lotz (b. 1948—runs AnGeL ministries); Ruth Dienert (b.1950); Franklin Graham (b.1952—administers his international relief organization called Samaritan's Purse and will be his father's successor at Billy Graham Ministries); [ [ Samaritan's Purse | International Relief ] ] and Ned Graham (b.1958— pastor who runs East Gates International, [ [ East Gates International ] ] which distributes Christian literature in China). Graham has 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.



He transferred in January of 1937 from Bob Jones College to Florida Bible Institute (now Florida College) in Temple Terrace, Florida from which he graduated in 1940 with a BTh (Bachelor of Theology degree). Florida Bible Institute later relocated and became Trinity College (Florida) in Trinity, Florida.

Graham attended Wheaton College from 1940 to 1943, when he graduated with a BA in anthropology. [The preceding is from Billy Graham Archives. [] He became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle while still a student and also had other preaching engagements.

He served briefly as pastor of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943-44. While there, a friend of Graham's, Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program "Songs in the Night" was about to be cancelled for lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his parishioners. Launching the new and revitalized radio program on January 2, 1944, still called "Songs in the Night," Graham recruited the baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945. He served as president of Northwestern College in Minnesota in 1948, and at age 30 was (and still is) the youngest person to serve as a sitting college president.

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces, but shortly after applying for a commission he came down with a severe case of mumps that ended that plan. After a period of recuperation in Florida, Graham went on to co-found Youth for Christ with evangelist Charles Templeton. He traveled throughout the United States and Europe as an evangelist. Unlike many evangelists then and now, Graham had little formal theological training; he turned down offers to attend Princeton Theological Seminary.

Hearst intervention

Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949. He erected a series of circus tents in a parking lot. The missions went on for eight weeks after being originally scheduled for only three weeks. The Los Angeles revival is considered to be the time when Graham became a national religious figure. "Time", "Billy Graham", June 14, 1999]

This is because Graham received assistance from powerful news mogul William Randolph Hearst, whose interest in Graham is a mystery; the two never met.cite news |title= When worlds collide: politics, religion, and media at the 1970 East Tennessee Billy Graham Crusade. (appearance by President Richard M. Nixon) |url=|publisher="Journal of Church and State" |date=March 22, 1997 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] Most observers believe that Hearst appreciated Graham's patriotism, appeals to youth, and thought that Graham would be helpful in promoting his conservative anti-communist views. ["In 1949, for example, William Randolph Hearst, head of one large publishing empire, and Henry Luce, chief of another, Time, Inc., were both worried about communism and the growth of liberalism in the United States." "Billy Graham, an obscure evangelist holding poorly attended tent meetings in Los Angeles. (...) Hearst and Luce interviewed the obscure preacher and decided he was worthy of their support. Billy Graham became an almost instantaneous national and, later, international figure preaching anticommunism. In late 1949, Hearst sent a telegram to all Hearst editors: "Puff Graham." The editors did - in Hearst newspapers, magazines, movies, and newsreels. Within two months Graham was preaching to crowds of 350,000." (from Ben Bagdikian, "The Media Monopoly", Boston, Mass Usa: Beacon Press, 2000 6th ed., p. 39 ff)] Hearst sent a telegram to his newspaper editors reading "Puff Graham" during Billy Graham's late 1949 Los Angeles crusade. [] The result of the increased media exposure from Hearst's newspaper chain and national magazines caused the crusade event to run for eight weeks—five weeks longer than planned. Henry Luce put him on the cover of "TIME" in 1954.

At the Los Angeles revival, a fellow evangelist accused Graham of setting religion back 100 years. Graham replied, "I did indeed want to set religion back, not just 100 years but 1,900 years, to the Book of Acts, when first century followers of Christ were accused of turning the Roman Empire upside down."

Middle years

Graham was offered a five-year, $5 million contract from NBC to appear on television opposite Arthur Godfrey, but he turned it down in favor of continuing his touring revivals. Graham had missions in London which lasted 12 weeks and a New York City mission in Madison Square Garden in 1957 which ran nightly for 16 weeks. He also led his first crusade in Australia in 1959.

Graham served as the president of Northwestern College in Minnesota from 1948 to 1952. He founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950, headquartered in Minneapolis. The association later relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. BGEA Ministries have included:
* "Hour of Decision", a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for over 50 years
* Mission television specials which are regularly broadcast in prime time in almost every market in the U.S. and Canada
* A newspaper column, "My Answer", carried by newspapers across the United States
* "Decision" magazine, the official publication of the Association
* Founded "Christianity Today" in 1956 with Carl F. H. Henry as its first editor
* [] , the teen website of the BGEA
* World Wide Pictures, which has produced and distributed over 130 productions

He opposed segregation during the 1960s and refused to speak to segregated auditoriums, once dramatically tearing down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience."New York Times", "Billy Graham Responds to Lingering Anger Over 1972 Remarks on Jews", 17 March, 2002] Graham said, "There is no scriptural basis for segregation. ... The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross." Graham paid bail money to secure the release of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from jail during the 1960s civil rights struggle; he invited King to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City in 1957. During that 16-week stint, Graham was heard by 2.3 million listeners, who gathered to hear him at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Times Square. King and Graham became friends, with Graham becoming one of the few whites allowed to call King by his birth name "Mike."

Later years

During the Cold War, Graham became the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain, addressing large crowds in countries throughout Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, calling for peace [,8599,1627139,00.html, Duffy, Michael and Gibbs, Nancy. TIME. "Billy Graham: A Spiritual Gift to All", 2007-31-05. Retrieved on 2007-24-11.] . During the Apartheid era, Graham consistently refused to visit South Africa until its government finally allowed attending audiences to sit desegregated. His first crusade there was in 1973, during which he openly denounced apartheid.

At one revival in Seoul, South Korea, Graham attracted an audience of one million to a single service. He appeared in China in 1988—for Ruth, this was a homecoming since she had been born in China to missionary parents. He appeared in North Korea in 1992.

In 1998, Graham spoke at TED (conference), in front of a crowd of scientists and philosophers.

On September 14, 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dr. Graham led a prayer and remembrance service at Washington National Cathedral attended by President George W. Bush and past and present leaders. He similarly spoke at the memorial service following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. On June 24, 2005, Billy Graham began what he has said would be his last North American crusade, at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City. But on the weekend of March 11–March 12, 2006 Billy Graham held the "Festival of Hope" with his son, Franklin Graham. The festival was held in New Orleans, which was recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Graham said that his planned retirement was because of his failing health. He has suffered from Parkinson's disease for about 15 years, has had fluid on the brain, pneumonia, broken hips, and it has been recently revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer. In August 2005, a frail Graham appeared at the groundbreaking for his library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Then 86, the Rev. Graham used a walker to assist with mobility during the ceremony. On July 9, 2006, Graham spoke at the Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival, held in Baltimore, Maryland, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

On August 18, 2007, Graham, 88, was in fair condition in Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville, North Carolina, after treatment for intestinal bleeding, but his condition was not life-threatening. "", "Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized", 19 August, 2007]

Billy Graham has preached Christianity to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings including Mission World and Global Mission. Graham has also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts. [ Billy Graham Bio]


Billy Graham has conducted over 41 evangelistic crusades since 1948. He began this form of ministry in 1947 and continued until recently. He would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, park, or street. He had a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir and then preached the gospel and invited people to come forward. These people, called inquirers, were then given the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a counselor who clarified any questions the inquirer may have had and would pray with that person. The inquirers were often given resources such as a Gospel of John or Bible study booklet. In Moscow in 1992, one-quarter of the 155,000 in his audience came forward upon his request.


Politically, Graham is and has been a registered member of the Democratic Party.cite news |title= Rev. Billy Graham on his lasting legacy |url=|publisher="Today Show" |date=June 23, 2005 |accessdate=2008-09-20 ] He leaned Republican during the presidency of his friend Richard Nixon. He has not completely allied himself with the religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party. He does not openly endorse political candidates, but he has given his support to some over the years.

He refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."

According to a 2006 "Newsweek" interview, "For Graham, politics is a secondary to the Gospel... When "Newsweek" asked Graham whether ministers — whether they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors or a bit of both — should spend time engaged with politics, he replied: 'You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things that I commented on years ago would not have been of the Lord, I'm sure, but I think you have some—like communism, or segregation, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'".cite news |title= Pilgrim's Progress, page 4 |url=|publisher="Newsweek" |date=August 14, 2006 |accessdate=2008-09-20 ]

Pastor to Presidents

Graham has had a personal audience with every sitting United States President since Harry Truman. He visited in the Oval Office with Truman in 1950, urging Truman to counter communism in North Korea. However, Graham and his accompanying pastors were not aware of Washington protocol; they appeased the press corps waiting outside with details of the visit, with the three pastors even acquiescing to the calls of the press to kneel on the White House lawn, as if praying. This led to Truman calling Graham a "counterfeit" publicity seeker, and Truman did not speak to Graham for years afterward. Graham has often told the story, usually as a warning that he would not reveal his conversations with world leaders. Graham became a regular in the Oval Office during the tenure of Dwight Eisenhower, whom he urged to intervene with federal troops in the case of the Little Rock Nine, and it was at that time, on a Washington golf course, that he met and became close friends with Vice President Richard Nixon. Eisenhower asked to see Graham on his deathbed.cite news |title= The President Preacher; In Crisis, White House Turns to Billy Graham |url=|publisher="The Washington Post" |date=January 18, 1991 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] Graham also counseled Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the Bush family.

The single notable exception among modern presidents is John F. Kennedy, with whom Graham golfed; but Kennedy was Roman Catholic;cite news |title=The Essence of Billy Graham; A Warm but Honest Biography of the Evangelist |url=|publisher="The Washington Post" |date=October 25, 1991 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] Graham enjoyed a friendship with Nixon and prominently supported him over Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. Nixon wrote to Graham after that election: "I have often told friends that when you went into the ministry, politics lost one of its potentially greatest practitioners." Graham spent the last night of Johnson's presidency in the White House, and he stayed for the first night of Nixon's.

After Nixon's victorious 1968 presidential campaign, Graham was an adviser, visiting the White House and leading some of the private church services that the President organized there. Nixon offered Graham the ambassadorship to Israel in a meeting they had with Golda Meir, but Graham turned down Nixon's offer. Nixon appeared at one of Graham's revivals in East Tennessee in 1970; the event drew one of the largest crowds to ever gather in Tennessee. Nixon became the first President to give a speech from an evangelist's platform. However, their friendship became strained when Graham rebuked Nixon for his post-Watergate behavior and the profanity heard on the Watergate tapes; they eventually reconciled after Nixon's resignation. Graham announced at that time, "I'm out of politics."

After a special law was passed on his behalf, Graham was allowed to conduct the first religious service on the steps of the Capitol building in 1952. When Graham was hospitalized briefly in 1976, three Presidents called in one day to wish him well: former President Nixon, current President Ford and President-Elect Carter.

He was one of Reagan's personal guests at his inauguration and gave the benediction at George H.W. Bush's inauguration. He stayed at the White House the night before George H.W. Bush (who called Graham "America's Pastor") launched the Persian Gulf War. Two days before the 2000 presidential election, Graham spoke at a prayer breakfast in Florida with George W. Bush in attendance but did not officially endorse him.Fact|date=June 2007 At a New York revival in 2005, Bill Clinton recalled how he had attended Graham's revival as a boy in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1959.

Graham has also spoken at one presidential funeral and one presidential burial. Graham presided over the graveside services for President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973 and took part in eulogizing the former President with former Texas Democratic Governor John Connally, an LBJ protégé and fellow Texan who was wounded in the assassination that made LBJ president. Graham also spoke at Connally's funeral and the funeral of former First Lady Pat Nixon within one week of each other in June 1993. He also spoke at the funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. Graham was unable to officiate the state funeral of Ronald Reagan on June 11, 2004, because of recent double hip replacement surgery, which former President George H.W. Bush acknowledged during his eulogy. Graham had been Reagan's first choice. Because Graham was hospitalized, the Rev. John Danforth, a Missouri Republican Senator during Reagan's tenure, officiated the funeral. Failing health prevented the Rev. Graham from officiating at the state funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford in Washington D.C., on January 2, 2007, as well as the funeral of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in July 2007.

Foreign policy views

Graham has been outspoken against communism and supportive of U.S. Cold War policy, including the Vietnam War. However, in a 1999 speech, Graham discussed his relationship with the late North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung, praising him as a "different kind of communist" and "one of the great fighters for freedom in his country against the Japanese." Graham went on to note that although he had never met Kim's son and current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, he had "exchanged gifts with him." [ Independent Article, " Preacher power: America's God squad", 25 July, 2007] Graham has given a globe surmounted with doves to the North Korean Friendship Museum.

Graham about peace and the war in the Persian Gulf

:"During a March 12th, 1991 CBS broadcast of Billy Graham's Long Island, New York crusade, Graham said in reference to the war, "As our President, President Bush, has said, it is not the people of Iraq we are at war with. It is some of the people in that regime. Pray for peace in the middle east, a just peace." [ [ Quotation of section] ]

:"In a speech January 16, 1991, Billy Graham declared: "There come times when we have to fight for peace." He went on to say that out of the present war in the Gulf may "come a new peace and, as suggested by the President, a new world order."" (March 1991 CIB Bulletin)" [ [given source: March 1991 CIB Bulletin] ]

election of burial site

Until a June 13, 2007 press release saying that he and his wife would be buried alongside each other at the Billy Graham Library in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, there had been controversy over where the burial place would be. Graham's younger son Ned had argued with older son Franklin about whether burial at a library would be appropriate. Ruth Graham had said that she wanted to be buried, not in Charlotte, but in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, where she had lived for many years; Ned supported his mother's choice.cite news |title= A Family at Cross-Purposes |url=|publisher="Washington Post" |date=December 13, 2006 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] Novelist Patricia Cornwell, a family friend, also opposed burial at the library, calling it a tourist attraction. Franklin wanted his parents to be buried at the library site. At the time of Ruth Graham's death, it was announced that they would be buried at the library site.


Anti-Semitic comments

In 1994, H.R. Haldeman's diaries revealed that Graham had taken part in conversations speaking of Jewish domination of the media. The allegations were so at odds with Graham's public image that most did not believe his account, and Jewish groups paid little attention. Graham released a statement denying that he talked "publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms." He said, "Those are not my words."

In 2002, however, newly declassified "Richard Nixon tapes" confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Nixon three decades earlier. Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. BBC, "Graham Regrets Jewish Slur", 2 March, 2002] "This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," [ Slate Article by David Greenberg, Assistant ProfessorJournalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University] said Graham, agreeing with Nixon's comments about Jews and their influence in American life. Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, including A.M. Rosenthal, saying they "swarm around me and are friendly to me." But, he tells Nixon, "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country." These remarks were considered highly controversial by some Jewish leaders such as Abraham Foxman, who characterized them as anti-Semitic.

When the tapes were publicly released, Graham apologized for his remarks, stating, " [A] lthough I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made ... They do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks," [ Eric J Greenberg, United Jewish Communities] and "If it wasn't on tape, I would not have believed it. I guess I was trying to please... I went to a meeting with Jewish leaders and I told them I would crawl to them to ask their forgiveness."cite news |title= Pilgrim's Progress, page 5 |url=|publisher="Newsweek" |date=August 14, 2006 |accessdate=2008-09-20 ] According to "Newsweek" magazine, " [T] he shock of the revelation was magnified because of Graham's longtime support of Israel and his refusal to join in calls for conversion of the Jews."

Other issues

* Malcolm Boyd expressed dismay at Graham's silence and alleged hypocrisy involving the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal. In his essay "Superchrist of a Superstate," Boyd stated: " [Graham] must surely be considered a religious leader, but it is a serious question now to what extent he has compromised his position as a moral leader."
* Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention criticized Graham for his view of baptism. He has mostly supported a believer's baptism view; however he has said in interviews that infant baptism is also an acceptable and historic practice.
* Graham has been careful to take reasonable compensation far below what other television evangelists would later receive. Graham, along with associates whom he called the "Team," created in 1948 what one of them called, "The Modesto Manifesto," because they produced it in Modesto, California. They decided among themselves to avoid certain problems that gave evangelists a bad name. The first item on the list was a matter of money, to which Graham was sensitive, because of the practices of some unscrupulous evangelists. (The "manifesto" proceeded to note the dangers of sexual immorality, criticism of local churches, and exaggerated publicity.). [ [ MinistryWatch Summary Report ] ] [ Billy Graham - AOL Research & Learn ] ] The official biography of Graham is John C. Pollock's "Billy Graham: The Authorized Biography" (1966). Other helpful biographical studies include William G. McLoughlin's "Billy Graham: Revivalist in a Secular Age" (1960), Curtis Mitchell's "Billy Graham: The Making of a Crusader" (1966), "The Reader's Companion to American History" (1997), Gospel Communications Network (GCN), "Time Daily" (Nov. 95), and "People" (1997).
*In 1993, Graham said in Columbus, Ohio, "Is AIDS a judgment of God? I could not say for sure, but I think so." After seeing letters criticizing that comment, Graham later said, "I remember saying it, and I immediately regretted it and almost went back and clarified the statement," and "To say God has judged people with AIDS would be very wrong and very cruel." [] []
*Graham once said, "I fully adhere to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith for myself... but as an American, I respect other paths to God." Fact|date=March 2008 His refusal to proselytize to Jews, in particular, differed from the Southern Baptist Convention. This was controversial since some Christians equated respecting with believingFact|date=December 2007, and inferred that Graham thought there were other ways to God than through Jesus.

Awards and honors

Graham has frequently been honored by surveys, including "Greatest Living American," and has consistently ranked among the most admired persons in the United States and the world. Between 1950 and 1990, he appeared most frequently on Gallup's list of most admired people.cite news |title= The Billy pulpit: Graham's career in the mainline. |url=|publisher="Christian Century" |date=November 15, 2003 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] The United States Postal Service has said that Graham is one of the few Americans, along with the current President, who can be delivered mail that simply reads his name and the country: "Billy Graham, America."cite news |title= The Billy pulpit: Graham's career in the mainline. |url=|publisher="Christian Century" |date=November 15, 2003 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ]

He has received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Reagan, America's highest civilian honors. President Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole awarded Graham the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 1996. cite news |title= Billy and Ruth Graham awarded Congressional Gold Medal for service. |url=|publisher="Knight-Ridder News Service" |date=May 2, 1996 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ] In December 2001, he was presented with an honorary knighthood, Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), for his international contributions to civic and religious life over 60 years.

In 1971, Graham's hometown of Charlotte held "Billy Graham Day," at which President Nixon made an appearance. On May 30, 1999, Graham was invited to give the pre-race invocation at the Indianapolis 500. On May 31, 2007, the $27 million Billy Graham Library was officially dedicated in Charlotte. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton appeared to celebrate with Graham. [ [] ] [ [ ABC News: 3 Ex-Presidents Open Graham Library ] ] A highway in Charlotte also bears Graham's name. In addition, in 1986, Graham was given North Carolina's highest honor, the North Carolina Award, for public service.cite news |title= A MAN IN FULL; EVEN THOSE FAMILIAR WITH BILLY GRAHAM'S LIFE, EXHIBIT MAY OFFER REVELATIONS.(LIFE) |url=|publisher="News and Record, Piedmont Triad, North Carolina" |date=June 3, 2001 |accessdate=2007-08-18 ]

In 2000, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan presented the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to Rev. Graham. Graham has been a friend of the Reagans for years. [ [ Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library ] ]

Graham received the Big Brother of the Year Award for his work on behalf of children. He has been cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations. He has received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion and the Sylvanus Thayer Award for his commitment to "Duty, Honor, Country." The "Billy Graham Children's Health Center" in Asheville is named after and funded by Graham.

In 1971, Graham received an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. After the Nixon tapes were released, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League called for Graham to return the award. He was honored by the American Jewish Committee with its National Interreligious Award for his efforts on behalf of Jewish-Christian relations; the committee called him one of the century's greatest Christian friends of Jews.

For providing a platform during his events for many Christian musical artists, Graham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999 by the Gospel Music Association. A professorial chair is named after him at the Southern Baptist Samford University, the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth. His alma mater Wheaton College has an archive of his papers at the Billy Graham Center. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Graham has received 20 honorary degrees and refused at least that many more.

A movie has been produced to capture the essence of Graham’s journey from a young man at the crossroads of faith and doubt to ultimately facing the moment of decision that gave way to one of history’s most influential evangelists. "Billy: The Early Years" is set to hit theaters officially on October 10, 2008 - less than a month before Graham's 90th birthday. "The Christian Post", "Billy Graham Movie Prepares for Oct. 10 Release", June 29 , 2008] Graham has yet to comment on the film but his eldest son, Franklin, released a critical statement on August 18, 2008, noting that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association "has not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie." Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, "A response from Franklin Graham", August 18, 2008] Graham's eldest daughter, Gigi, however, has praised the movie and also been hired as a consultant to help promote the film. "The Christian Post", "Franklin Graham Among 'Billy' Movie Critics ", August 26, 2008]

Books by Billy Graham

Graham has authored the following books: [Graham, Billy. "Just As I Am". New York: HarperCollins Worldwide, 1997. Copyright 1997 by the Billy Graham Evangelist Association.]

# "Calling Youth to Christ" (1947)
# "America's Hour of Decision" (1951)
# "I Saw Your Sons at War" (1953)
# "Peace with God" (1953, 1984)
# "Freedom from the Seven Deadly Sins" (1955)
# "The Secret of Happiness" (1955, 1985)
# "Billy Graham Talks to Teenagers" (1958)
# "My Answer" (1960)
# "Billy Graham Answers Your Questions" (1960)
# "World Aflame" (1965)
# "The Challenge" (1969)
# "The Jesus Generation" (1971)
# "Angels: God's Secret Agents" (1975, 1985)
# "How to Be Born Again" (1977)
# "The Holy Spirit" (1978)
# "Till Armageddon" (1981)
# "Approaching Hoofbeats" (1983)
# "A Biblical Standard for Evangelists" (1984)
# "Unto the Hills" (1986)
# "Facing Death and the Life After" (1987)
# "Answers to Life's Problems" (1988)
# "Hope for the Troubled Heart" (1991)
# "Storm Warning" (1992)
# "Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham" (1997, 2007)
# "Hope for Each Day" (2002)
# "The Key to Personal Peace" (2003)
# "Living in God's Love: The New York Crusade" (2005)
# "The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World" (2006)

Notes and references



* [ Graham apologizes for remarks concerning Jews]
* [ Biofile: Billy Graham, a biography page]
* [ Financial summary of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association]
* [ Executive salaries, Christian ministries]

External links

* [ Billy Graham Evangelical Association]
* [ Billy Graham Training Center]
* [ Streaming video clip from 1957 event in Times Square]
* [ Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Newsroom]
* [ Rev. Billy Graham Genealogy (NC & SC)]
* [ Billy Graham TED Talk on Technology, Suffering, and Human Shortcomings]

NAME= Graham, Billy
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Graham, William Franklin, Jr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Protestant Christian Evangelist
DATE OF BIRTH= November 7, 1918
PLACE OF BIRTH= Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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