Billy Graham
Overview
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. (born November 7, 1918) is an American evangelical Christian evangelist
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 dating back to Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

, and is number seven on Gallup's
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

 list of admired people
Gallup's most admired man and woman poll
Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll is an annual poll that Gallup has conducted at the end of virtually every single year since 1948. Americans are asked, without prompting, to say what man and woman "living today in any part of the world, do [they] admire most?" The result is published as a...

 for the 20th century. He is a Southern Baptist
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

. He rose to celebrity status as his sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s were broadcast on radio and television.

Graham has preached the Gospel in person to more people than any other person in history.
Encyclopedia
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. (born November 7, 1918) is an American evangelical Christian evangelist
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 dating back to Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

, and is number seven on Gallup's
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

 list of admired people
Gallup's most admired man and woman poll
Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll is an annual poll that Gallup has conducted at the end of virtually every single year since 1948. Americans are asked, without prompting, to say what man and woman "living today in any part of the world, do [they] admire most?" The result is published as a...

 for the 20th century. He is a Southern Baptist
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

. He rose to celebrity status as his sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s were broadcast on radio and television.

Graham has preached the Gospel in person to more people than any other person in history. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to accept Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as their personal Savior, many to the altar call
Altar call
An altar call is a practice in some evangelical churches in which those who wish to make a new spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are invited to come forward publicly. It is so named because the supplicants gather at the altar located at the front of the church building. In the Old Testament, an...

 song "Just As I Am". As of 2008, Graham's lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.

Early life

He was born November 7, 1918 to William Franklin Graham I (1888–1962) and Morrow Coffey (1892–1981), on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

. Graham was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as it exists today is the remnant of a small denomination, which was formed from the Synod of the South, a division of the Associate Reformed Church...

 by his parents. In 1933, when Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 ended, Graham's father forced Graham and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they vomited, which created an aversion, in both of them, to alcohol and drugs. According to the Billy Graham Center, Graham was converted in 1934 at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte which were led by evangelist Mordecai Ham
Mordecai Ham
Mordecai Fowler Ham, Jr. , was an American Independent Baptist evangelist and temperance movement leader. He entered the ministry in 1901 and in 1936 began a radio broadcast reaching into seven southern states...

. 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 one of the employees, Albert McMakin, on the Graham farm.

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

), then located in Cleveland, Tennessee
Cleveland, Tennessee
Cleveland is a city in Bradley County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 41,285 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Bradley County...

, 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.
Bob Jones, Sr.
Robert Reynolds Jones, Sr. was an American evangelist, pioneer religious broadcaster and the founder and first president of Bob Jones University.-Early years:...

 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
Trinity College (Florida)
Trinity College is a evangelical interdenominational Bible college located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, Florida. It is a private college....

) on the site of today's Florida College
Florida College
Florida College is a small, regionally accredited, coeducational Christian college located in the City of Temple Terrace, Florida, eight miles northeast of the City of Tampa, Florida...

 in Temple Terrace, Florida
Temple Terrace, Florida
Temple Terrace is an incorporated city in northeastern Hillsborough County, Florida, USA, adjacent to Tampa. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 24,541. It is the third and smallest incorporated municipality in Hillsborough County...

. 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
Temple Terrace, Florida
Temple Terrace is an incorporated city in northeastern Hillsborough County, Florida, USA, adjacent to Tampa. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 24,541. It is the third and smallest incorporated municipality in Hillsborough County...

. 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 small island in the river, where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. Graham eventually graduated from Wheaton College
Wheaton College (Illinois)
Wheaton College is a private, evangelical Protestant liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago in the United States...

 in Wheaton, Illinois
Wheaton, Illinois
Wheaton is an affluent community located in DuPage County, Illinois, approximately west of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Wheaton is the county seat of DuPage County...

 with a degree in anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, in 1943. It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to accept the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 as the infallible
Infallibility
Infallibility, from Latin origin , is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.-In common speech:...

 word of God. Henrietta Mears
Henrietta Mears
Henrietta Cornelia Mears was a Christian educator and author who had a significant impact on evangelical Christianity in the 20th century....

 of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Hollywood, California) 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
Big Bear Lake, California
Big Bear Lake is a city in San Bernardino County, California along the south shore of Big Bear Lake, located northeast of the city of San Bernardino. The population was 5,019 at the 2010 census, down from 5,438 at the 2000 census...

 in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

. A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.

Family

On August 13, 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell
Ruth Graham
Ruth Bell Graham , wife of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, was born at Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China as Ruth McCue Bell, the second of five children. Her parents, Dr. and Mrs. L. Nelson Bell, were medical missionaries at the Presbyterian Hospital 300 miles north of Shanghai...

 (1920–2007), whose parents were Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, where her father, L. Nelson Bell
L. Nelson Bell
Lemuel Nelson Bell was a medical missionary in China and the father-in-law of famous evangelist Billy Graham. Few people had more influence on Billy Graham than Bell. -Life:Bell was born in Longdale, Virginia...

, 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." They married two months after graduation and later lived in a log cabin
Log cabin
A log cabin is a house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house. A distinction should be drawn between the traditional meanings of "log cabin" and "log house." Historically most "Log cabins" were a simple one- or 1½-story structures, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less...

 designed by Ruth in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

 in Montreat, North Carolina
Montreat, North Carolina
Montreat is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 696 in 2008. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. Ruth died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87.

They had five children together: Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham Tchividjian (b. 1945); Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz is an American Christian evangelist. She is the second daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife Ruth Graham...

 (b. 1948; runs AnGeL ministries); Ruth Graham (b. 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends); Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham
William Franklin Graham III , known publicly as Franklin Graham, is an American Christian evangelist and missionary. He is the president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse.He currently lives in Boone,...

 (b. 1952; administers an international relief organization called Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization that works worldwide to assist people in physical need alongside their Christian missionary work. The organization’s president is Franklin Graham, son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham...

 and will be his father's successor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is an organization started by Billy Graham in 1950. The main focus of the BGEA is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible...

); and Nelson "Ned" Graham (b.1958; a pastor who runs East Gates International, which distributes Christian literature in China). Graham has 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. Grandson Tullian Tchividjian
Tullian Tchividjian
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian is senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and a contributing editor to Leadership...

 is senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. It was founded in 1960 by D. James Kennedy , who served as the church's senior pastor until his death in 2007. The present church building seating 2,800 persons was...

 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...

.

As a guard against even the appearance of wrongdoing Graham had a policy that he would never be alone with a woman, other than his wife Ruth. This has come to be known as the Billy Graham Rule.

Beginning

Graham transferred in January 1937 from Bob Jones College
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

 to Florida Bible Institute
Trinity College (Florida)
Trinity College is a evangelical interdenominational Bible college located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, Florida. It is a private college....

, and then finally to Wheaton College in 1939. Graham attended Wheaton College from 1939 to 1943, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

. While attending college, he became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and also had other preaching engagements.

Graham served briefly as pastor of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois
Western Springs, Illinois
Western Springs is a suburb of Chicago located in Cook County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 12,493. It is twinned with Rugeley, United Kingdom....

, not far from Wheaton, in 1943-44. While there, his friend Torrey Johnson
Torrey Johnson
Torrey Maynard Johnson was a Chicago Protestant evangelist who is best remembered as the founder of Chicagoland Youth for Christ and Youth for Christ International in 1944...

, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, told Graham that his radio program "Songs in the Night" was about to be canceled 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 radio program on January 2, 1944, still called Songs in the Night, Graham recruited the baritone
Baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

 George Beverly Shea
George Beverly Shea
George Beverly "Bev" Shea is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian-born American gospel singer and hymn composer. Shea has often been described as "America's beloved Gospel singer" and is considered "the first international singing 'star' of the gospel world," as a consequence of his solos at Billy...

 as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945, and in 1947, at age 30, he became the youngest person to serve as a sitting college president during his tenure at Northwestern Bible College
Northwestern College (Minnesota)
Northwestern College is a private Christian college located in Roseville, Minnesota, and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Established in 1902 as Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School by Dr...

 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Graham served as the president of Northwestern Bible College from 1948 to 1952.

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 in the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, but shortly after applying for a commission contracted mumps
Mumps
Mumps is a viral disease of the human species, caused by the mumps virus. Before the development of vaccination and the introduction of a vaccine, it was a common childhood disease worldwide...

. After a period of recuperation in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Graham was hired as the first full time evangelist
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

 of the new Youth for Christ International (YFCI) which was co-founded by Torrey Johnson and Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton
Charles Templeton
Charles Bradley Templeton was a Canadian cartoonist, evangelist, agnostic, politician, newspaper editor, inventor, broadcaster and author. He was born and died in the same city, Toronto, Canada...

 and Graham traveled throughout both the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 as an YFCI evangelist. Unlike many evangelists then and now, Graham had little formal theological training; when his friend Chuck Templeton urged him to join him in applying to Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton Theological Seminary is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church located in the Borough of Princeton, New Jersey in the United States...

 for an advanced theological degree, Graham declined to apply with Princeton or any other university within the United States as he was already serving as the president of Northwestern Bible College.

Hearst intervention

Graham scheduled a series of revival meeting
Revival meeting
A revival meeting is a series of Christian religious services held in order to inspire active members of a church body, to raise funds and to gain new converts...

s in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 in 1949, for which he erected circus
Circus
A circus is commonly a travelling company of performers that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists...

 tents in a parking lot. The Los Angeles revival is considered to be the time when Graham became a national religious figure. Graham's rise to national prominence is partly because of the assistance he received from news mogul William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...

, whose interest in Graham was that he respected Graham for being his own person and following what he believed, though the two never met. Most observers believe that Hearst appreciated Graham's patriotism and appeals to youth and thought that Graham would be helpful in promoting Hearst's conservative anti-communist views. Hearst sent a telegram
Telegraphy
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

 to his newspaper editors reading "Puff Graham" during Billy Graham's late 1949 Los Angeles crusade.

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
Henry Luce
Henry Robinson Luce was an influential American publisher. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of upscale Americans...

 put him on the cover of TIME
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

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
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, when first century followers of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 were accused of turning the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 upside down."

Crusades

Billy Graham has conducted many evangelistic crusades
Revival meeting
A revival meeting is a series of Christian religious services held in order to inspire active members of a church body, to raise funds and to gain new converts...

 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 arranged a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir and then preached the gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 and invited people to come forward (a practice begun by Dwight L. Moody
Dwight L. Moody
Dwight Lyman Moody , also known as D.L. Moody, was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts , the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.-Early life:Dwight Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts to a large...

). 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 copy of the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 or a Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 study booklet. In Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 in 1992, one-quarter of the 155,000 people in his audience came forward upon his request.

Graham was offered a five-year, $5 million contract from NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 to appear on television opposite Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Godfrey
Arthur Morton Godfrey was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname, The Old Redhead...

, but he turned it down in favor of continuing his touring revivals because of his pre-arranged commitments. Graham had missions in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, which lasted 12 weeks, and a New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 mission in Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden (1925)
Madison Square Garden was an indoor arena in New York City, the third of that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan on the site of the city's trolley car barns. It was the first Garden that was not located near...

, in 1957, which ran nightly for 16 weeks. In 1959, he led his first crusade, which was in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is an organization started by Billy Graham in 1950. The main focus of the BGEA is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible...

 with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The association later relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

. BGEA Ministries have included:
  • Hour of Decision
    Hour of Decision
    Hour of Decision is a weekly radio broadcast by the Dr. Rev. Billy Graham. Graham began it with a few of his own dollars and ties with a radio station through a friend at his old church. As more and more people listened to the show, donations poured in to keep the show on the air...

    , a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for more than 50 years
  • Mission television specials that have been regularly broadcast in prime time in almost every market in the U.S. and Canada
  • A syndicated newspaper column, My Answer, carried by newspaper
    Newspaper
    A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

    s across the United States and distributed by Tribune Media Services
    Tribune Media Services
    Tribune Media Services is a syndication company owned by the Tribune Company.The company has two divisions, "News and Features" and "Entertainment Products"...

  • Decision magazine, the official publication of the Association
  • Christianity Today
    Christianity Today
    Christianity Today is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International, claiming circulation figures of 140,000 and readership of 290,000...

    was started in 1956 with Carl F. H. Henry
    Carl F. H. Henry
    Carl Ferdinand Howard Henry was an American evangelical Christian theologian who served as the first editor-in-chief of the magazine Christianity Today, established to serve as a scholarly voice for evangelical Christianity and a challenge to the liberal Christian Century.-Early Years and...

     as its first editor
  • Passageway.org, the website for a children's program created by BGEA
  • World Wide Pictures
    World Wide Pictures
    World Wide Pictures is a film distributor and production company established as a subsidiary of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1951...

    , which has produced and distributed more than 130 films

Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Segregation

Graham's stance on civil rights and segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 was inconsistent in his early years. Like many white public figures, he had shown no concern for segregation until the civil rights movement began to take off in the early 1950s, and many of his early crusades were segregated. In response to the civil rights movement, he "zig-zagged" for some years - refusing to speak to some segregated auditoriums, while speaking to others. His memoirs say that in 1953 he dramatically tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience. But he later retreated on the issue in Dallas, Texas and Asheville, North Carolina. Prior to Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

, Graham assured audiences that the Bible had nothing to say about segregation. Subsequently, he emerged as an opponent of segregation and racism, reminding audiences of Christianity's pact with the marginalised and oppressed. (Michael G Long, ed., The Legacy of Billy Graham: Critical Reflections on America's Greatest Evangelist, Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008, pp. 150–1) He also got in a fight with a southern KKK member about why integration of blacks into the Southern society was important. 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
Bail
Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail...

 money to secure the release of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

 from jail during the 1960s civil rights movement; 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
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

, Yankee Stadium, and Times Square
Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets...

. However, due to his anxieties about addressing the politics of racism and being seen to publicly cooperate with the civil rights leader, he never invited King to appear with him again. (Michael G Long, ed., The Legacy of Billy Graham: Critical Reflections on America's Greatest Evangelist, Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008, p. 150)

Later years

Graham's visibility and popularity extended into the secular world. He created his own pavilion for the 1964 New York World's Fair
1964 New York World's Fair
The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair was the third major world's fair to be held in New York City. Hailing itself as a "universal and international" exposition, the fair's theme was "Peace Through Understanding," dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe";...

. He appeared as a guest on a 1969 Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 television special, where he joined the comedian in a witty exchange on theological matters.
During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, Graham became the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

, addressing large crowds in countries throughout Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, calling for peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

. During the Apartheid era, Graham consistently refused to visit South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 until its government allowed attending audiences to sit desegregated. His first crusade there was in 1973, during which he openly denounced apartheid.

In 1984, he led a series of summer meetings in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, called Mission England, using outdoor football grounds as venues.

Graham was interested in fostering evangelism around the world. In 1983, 1986 and 2000 he sponsored, organized and paid for massive training conferences for Christian evangelists from around the world; with the largest representations of nations ever held until that time. Over 157 nations were gathered in 2000 at the RAI Convention Center
Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre
The Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre , or RAI for short, is a complex of conference and exhibition halls in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The complex gives its name to the nearby Amsterdam RAI railway station...

 in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

At one revival in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Graham attracted more than one million people to a single service. He appeared in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1988—for Ruth, this was a homecoming, since she had been born in China to missionary parents. He appeared in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 in 1992.

On September 22, 1991 Graham held the largest event he ever led in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 on The Great Lawn
Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park
The Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park, are inseparable features of New York City's Central Park.-History:The lawn and pond occupy the almost flat site of the rectangular, thirty-five-acre Lower Reservoir constructed in 1842, which was an unalterable fixture of the location of Central Park as...

 of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

. City officials estimated over 250,000 in attendance. In 1998, Graham spoke at TED (conference)
TED (conference)
TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading"....

 to a crowd of scientists and philosophers.

On September 14, 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Graham led a prayer and remembrance service at Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Of neogothic design, it is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in...

, which was attended by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 and past and present leaders. He also spoke at the memorial service following the Oklahoma City bombing
Oklahoma City bombing
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19...

 in 1995. On June 24–26, 2005, Billy Graham began what he has said would be his last North American crusade, three days at the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in New York City. But on the weekend of March 11–12, 2006, Billy Graham held the "Festival of Hope" with his son, Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham
William Franklin Graham III , known publicly as Franklin Graham, is an American Christian evangelist and missionary. He is the president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse.He currently lives in Boone,...

. The festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

 was held in New Orleans, which was recovering from Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

.

Graham said that his planned retirement
Retirement
Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.Many people choose to retire when they are eligible for private or public pension benefits, although some are forced to retire when physical conditions don't allow the person to...

 was because of his failing health. He has suffered from Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

 for about 15 years, has had hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus , also known as "water in the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head,...

, pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

, broken hips, and prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

. In August 2005, a frail Graham appeared at the groundbreaking for his library in Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

. Then 86, Reverend Graham used a walker to assist with mobility during the ceremony. On July 9, 2006, Graham spoke at the Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival
Metro Maryland Youth For Christ
Metro Maryland Youth For Christ is a religious organization for young people in Maryland, United States.- Background :Metro Maryland Youth For Christ is a local affiliate of Youth For Christ USA which was co-founded by the Reverend Billy Graham and then-evangelist Charles Templeton. Graham was...

, held in Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a Major League Baseball ballpark located in Baltimore, Maryland. Home field of the Baltimore Orioles, it is the first of the "retro" major league ballparks constructed during the 1990s and early 2000s, and remains one of the most highly praised. The park was...

.

There had been controversy over where the burial place would be until a press release on June 13, 2007, saying that he and his wife would be buried alongside each other at the Billy Graham Library
Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library is a public museum and library documenting the life and ministry of Christian evangelist Billy Graham. The complex opened to the public on June 5, 2007. The library is located on the grounds of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in...

 in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

. Graham's younger son Ned had argued with older son Franklin about whether burial at a library would be appropriate. Ruth Graham
Ruth Graham
Ruth Bell Graham , wife of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, was born at Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China as Ruth McCue Bell, the second of five children. Her parents, Dr. and Mrs. L. Nelson Bell, were medical missionaries at the Presbyterian Hospital 300 miles north of Shanghai...

 had said that she wanted to be buried not in Charlotte but in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The City is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center , which is the world's largest active...

, where she had lived for many years; Ned supported his mother's choice. Novelist Patricia Cornwell
Patricia Cornwell
Patricia Cornwell is a contemporary American crime writer. She is widely known for writing a popular series of novels featuring the heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner.-Early life:...

, 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.

On August 18, 2007, Graham, 88, was in fair condition in Mission Health & Hospitals of Asheville after undergoing treatment for intestinal bleeding
Internal bleeding
Internal bleeding is bleeding occurring inside the body. It can be a serious medical emergency depending on where it occurs , and can potentially cause death and cardiac arrest if proper medical treatment is not received quickly....

, but his condition was not life-threatening.

In April, 2010, Graham, at 91 and with substantial vision and hearing loss, made a rare public appearance at the re-dedication of the renovated Billy Graham Library. Graham's grandson, Will Graham
Will Graham (evangelist)
William Franklin Graham IV , known publicly as Will Graham, is an American Christian evangelist. He is the assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove and associate evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.Graham is the third generation of Grahams to...

 told reporters that his grandfather has "got a lot more energy and he's talking about preaching one more time," stating that it would probably be a televised event rather than a stadium crusade.

Billy Graham has preached Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission
Global Mission
Global Mission is the frontline mission arm of Adventist Mission, an office of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters. The organization sends volunteer missionaries, typically for one or two years, to reach people in areas of the world where there are no Seventh-day Adventist members...

. Graham has also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts.

On May 11, 2011, Billy Graham was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for treatment of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. He was released May 15, 2011, and returned home. Doctors said his response to treatment was excellent. According to his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz is an American Christian evangelist. She is the second daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife Ruth Graham...

, in an interview aired on NPR on October 10, 2011, Billy Graham was recently placed on oxygen therapy
Oxygen therapy
Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen as a medical intervention, which can be for a variety of purposes in both chronic and acute patient care...

.

Politics

Politically, Graham is a registered member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. He leaned Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 during the presidency of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. He did not completely ally himself with the religious right
Christian right
Christian right is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe "right-wing" Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies...

, saying that Jesus did not have a political party. He did not openly endorse political candidates, but he gave his support to some over the years.

He refused to join Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...

's Moral Majority
Moral Majority
The Moral Majority was a political organization of the United States which had an agenda of evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying...

 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
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 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
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

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
Names of God
Names of God, or Holy Names, describe a form of addressing God present in liturgy or prayer of various world religions. Prayer involving the Holy Name or the Name of God has become established as common spiritual practice in both Western and Eastern spiritual practices...

, I'm sure, but I think you have some—like communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, or segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'".

Pastor to presidents

Graham has had a personal audience with many sitting US Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 from Harry S Truman to Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. He visited in the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 with Truman in 1950, urging him to counter communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

. However, Graham and his accompanying friends 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
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 lawn, as if praying. Truman allegedly commented about Graham in Merle Miller's oral biography Plain Speaking:
But now we've got just this one evangelist, this Billy Graham, and he's gone off the beam. He's...well, I hadn’t ought to say this, but he’s one of those counterfeits I was telling you about. He claims he's a friend of all the Presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was President. I just don’t go for people like that. All he's interested in is getting his name in the paper.


Truman did not speak to Graham for years after their meeting. 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 D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, whom he urged to intervene with federal troops in the case of the Little Rock Nine
Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The ensuing Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, and then...

, and it was at that time, on a Washington golf course
Golf course
A golf course comprises a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, fairway, rough and other hazards, and a green with a flagstick and cup, all designed for the game of golf. A standard round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, thus most golf courses have this number of holes...

, that he met and became close friends with Vice President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. Graham was invited by Eisenhower to visit with him when the former president was on his death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

bed. Graham also counseled Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, and the Bush family
Bush family
The Bush family is a prominent American family. Along with many members who have been successful bankers and businessmen, across three generations the family includes two U.S. Senators, one Supreme Court Justice, two Governors, one Vice President and two Presidents...

.

The single notable exception among modern presidents is John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, with whom Graham played golf, but Kennedy was Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

; Graham enjoyed a friendship with Nixon and prominently supported him over Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

. 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
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

, 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
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in a meeting they had with Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

, but Graham turned down Nixon's offer. Nixon appeared at one of Graham's revivals in East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

 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
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 behavior and the profanity heard on the Watergate tapes
Watergate tapes
The Watergate tapes, a subset of the Nixon tapes, are a collection of recordings of conversations between Richard Nixon and his fellow conspirators plotting a break in to the Watergate Hotel. U.S. President Richard Nixon and various White House staff started communicating on February 1971 and...

; 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
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

 on the steps of the Capitol building
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 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
Inauguration
An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a leader's term of office. An example is the ceremony in which the President of the United States officially takes the oath of office....

 and gave the benediction
Benediction
A benediction is a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service.-Judaism:...

 at George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

'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
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. Two days before the 2000 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

, Graham spoke at a prayer breakfast in Florida with George W. Bush in attendance. At a New York revival in 2005, Bill Clinton recalled how he had attended Graham's revival as a boy in Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 699,757 people in the 2010 census...

, in 1959.
Graham has officiated at one presidential burial and one presidential funeral. He presided over the graveside services of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973 and took part in eulogizing the former president. Graham officiated at the funeral service of former First Lady Pat Nixon
Pat Nixon
Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon was the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and was First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. She was commonly known as Patricia or Pat Nixon.Born in Nevada, Pat Ryan grew up in Los Angeles, California...

 in 1993 and the funeral of Richard Nixon
Death and funeral of Richard Nixon
On April 22, 1994, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, died after suffering a stroke four days earlier. His public funeral followed five days later at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in his hometown of Yorba Linda, California...

 in 1994. He was unable to officiate at the state funeral of Ronald Reagan
Death and state funeral of Ronald Reagan
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade. His seven-day state funeral followed, spanning June 5–11...

 on June 11, 2004, because of recent double hip replacement
Hip replacement
Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant. Hip replacement surgery can be performed as a total replacement or a hemi replacement. Such joint replacement orthopaedic surgery generally is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or fix severe...

 surgery, which former President George H. W. Bush acknowledged during his eulogy. Graham had been Reagan's first choice. Because of Graham's hospitalization, the Reverend John Danforth
John Danforth
John Claggett "Jack" Danforth is a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and former Republican United States Senator from Missouri. He is an ordained Episcopal priest. Danforth is married to Sally D. Danforth and has five adult children.-Education and early career:Danforth was born...

, a Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 Republican Senator
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 during Reagan's tenure, and an ordained Episcopal priest, officiated at the funeral. Failing health prevented Graham from officiating at the state funeral of Gerald R. Ford
Death and state funeral of Gerald Ford
On December 26, 2006, Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at 6:45 p.m. local time . At 8:49 p.m...

 on January 2, 2007, as well as the funeral of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson
Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson was First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural resources and made that...

 in July 2007.

On April 25, 2010, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 visited Rev. Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina
Montreat, North Carolina
Montreat is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 696 in 2008. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area...

 where they “had a private prayer.”

As with other presidents in the past, Graham met with former President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 during December 2010, for a tour of his library
Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library is a public museum and library documenting the life and ministry of Christian evangelist Billy Graham. The complex opened to the public on June 5, 2007. The library is located on the grounds of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in...

.

Foreign policy views

Graham has been outspoken against communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and supportive of U.S. Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 policy, including the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. However, in a 1999 speech, Graham discussed his relationship with the late North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n dictator Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

, praising him as a "different kind of communist" and "one of the great fighters for freedom in his country against the Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

." Graham went on to note that although he had never met Kim's son and current North Korean dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

, he had "exchanged gifts with him." Graham has given a globe surmounted with doves to the North Korean Friendship Museum.

During a March 12, 1991, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 broadcast of Billy Graham's Long Island, New York
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 crusade, Graham said in reference to the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, "As our President, President Bush, has said, it is not the people of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 we are at war with. It is some of the people in that regime. Pray for peace in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, a just peace." Graham had earlier said that "there come times when we have to fight for peace." He went on to say that out of the war in the Gulf may "come a new peace and, as suggested by the President, a new world order."

Discussion of Jews with Nixon

In 2002, 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
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 control the American media
Media of the United States
Media of the United States consist of several different types of communications media: television, radio, cinema, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Web sites. The U.S...

, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. His remarks were characterized as anti-Semitic by Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman
Abraham H. Foxman is the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.-Early life:Foxman, an only son, was born in Baranovichi, just months after the USSR took the town from Poland in the Nazi-Soviet Pact and incorporated it into the BSSR. The town is now in Belarus...

 of the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 and evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 author Richard Land
Richard Land
Dr. Richard D. Land, aka Chief Red Bull, is the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission , the moral and ethics concern entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States, a post he has held since 1988...

. When the tapes became public, Graham apologized. According to Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

magazine, "[T]he shock of the revelation was magnified because of Graham's longtime support of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and his refusal to join in calls for conversion of the Jews."

In 2009, more tapes were released, in which Graham is heard in conversation with Nixon referring to Jews and "the synagogue of Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

." A spokesman for Graham said that Graham has never been an anti-Semite and that the comparison (in accord with the context of the quotation in the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

) was directed specifically at those claiming to be Jews, but not observing Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

.

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
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

's list of most admired people. The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 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."

In 1967, he was the first Protestant to receive an honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 from Belmont Abbey College
Belmont Abbey College
Belmont Abbey College is a private liberal-arts Catholic college located in Belmont, North Carolina, USA west of Uptown Charlotte. It was founded in 1876 by the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey...

, a Roman Catholic school.

In 1971, Graham received an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews
National Conference for Community and Justice
The National Conference for Community and Justice is a national, human relations, non-profit organization in the United States. Its mission is to fight bias, bigotry, and racism and promote understanding and respect through advocacy, conflict resolution, and education.The NCCJ was founded in 1927...

. After the Nixon tapes were released, Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman
Abraham H. Foxman is the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.-Early life:Foxman, an only son, was born in Baranovichi, just months after the USSR took the town from Poland in the Nazi-Soviet Pact and incorporated it into the BSSR. The town is now in Belarus...

 of the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 called for Graham to return the award. He was honored by the American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

 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. In the same year, Graham's hometown of Charlotte held "Billy Graham Day" at which President Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 made an appearance.

He has received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 from Reagan, America's highest civilian honors.

In 1986, Graham was given North Carolina's highest honor, the North Carolina Award
North Carolina Award
The North Carolina Award is the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is awarded in the four fields of science, literature, the fine arts, and public service....

, for public service.

President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Majority Leader Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

 awarded Graham the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 1996.

On May 30, 1999, Graham was invited to give the pre-race invocation at the Indianapolis 500
1999 Indianapolis 500
The 1999 Indianapolis 500 was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 30, 1999.-Recap:Robby Gordon and Team Menard take a major gamble late in the race, and try to stretch their fuel for the win. Gordon had last pit on lap 164, and attempted to run the final 36 laps on one tank...

.

In December 2001, he was presented with an honorary knighthood, Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (KBE), for his international contributions to civic and religious life over 60 years.

On May 31, 2007, the $27 million Billy Graham Library
Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library is a public museum and library documenting the life and ministry of Christian evangelist Billy Graham. The complex opened to the public on June 5, 2007. The library is located on the grounds of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in...

 was officially dedicated in Charlotte. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, and Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 appeared to celebrate with Graham. A highway in Charlotte bears Graham's name, as does I-240
Interstate 240 (North Carolina)
Interstate 240 is a long Interstate Highway loop in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It serves as an urban connector for Asheville and runs in a half-circle around the north of the city's downtown district between exits 53B and 46B of Interstate 40...

 near Graham's home in Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The City is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center , which is the world's largest active...

.

For providing a platform during his events for many Christian music
Christian music
Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world....

al artists, Graham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame
Gospel Music Hall of Fame
The Gospel Music Hall of Fame, created in 1971 by the Gospel Music Association, is a Hall of Fame dedicated exclusively to recognizing meaningful contributions by individuals and groups in all forms of gospel music.-Inductees:...

 in 1999 by the Gospel Music Association
Gospel Music Association
The Gospel Music Association was founded in 1964 for the purpose of supporting and promoting the development of all forms of Gospel music. There are currently about 4,000 members worldwide...

. Several songs by various artists have dedicated songs to or about Graham during his lifetime. Singer Michael W. Smith
Michael W. Smith
Michael Whitaker Smith is a Billboard top ten Billboard Hot 100 recording artist and Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian music. Smith also has achieved a considerable amount of...

 is active in Billy Graham Crusades as well as Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization that works worldwide to assist people in physical need alongside their Christian missionary work. The organization’s president is Franklin Graham, son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham...

.

In 2000, former First Lady
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the president of the United States, the title is most often applied to the wife of a sitting president. The current first lady is Michelle Obama.-Current:The...

 Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

 presented the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The award is given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide."...

 to Graham. Graham has been a friend of the Reagans for years.

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
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver , was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864....

 Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations. He has received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion
Templeton Prize
The Templeton Prize is an annual award presented by the Templeton Foundation. Established in 1972, it is awarded to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical...

 and the Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

 for his commitment to "Duty, Honor, Country". The "Billy Graham Children's Health Center" in Asheville is named after and funded by Graham.

A professorial chair is named after him at the Alabama Baptist-affiliated Samford University
Samford University
Samford University, founded as Howard College is a private, coeducational, Alabama Baptist Convention-affiliated university located in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, United States. It includes the , Cumberland School of Law, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Brock School of Business, Ida V....

, 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
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary , located in Louisville, Kentucky, is the oldest of the six seminaries affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention . The seminary was founded in 1859, at Greenville, South Carolina. After being closed during the Civil War, it moved in 1877 to Louisville...

 has the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Graham has received 20 honorary degrees and refused at least that many more. In San Francisco, CA, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium is a multi-purpose arena in San Francisco, California, currently named after promoter Bill Graham...

, has often erroneously been called the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium and falsely considered to be named in his honor, but is actually named after the rock & roll promoter Bill Graham
Bill Graham (promoter)
Bill Graham was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death.-Early life:...

.

The movie Billy: The Early Years
Billy: The Early Years
Billy: The Early Years is a 2008 American biographical film, directed by Robby Benson. The film recounts the story of the world renown evangelist, Billy Graham, played by Armie Hammer, creating a portrayal of Billy’s life from the mid 1930s to the late 1940s when Billy Graham finds himself speaking...

premiered in theaters officially on October 10, 2008, less than one month before Graham's 90th birthday. Graham has yet to comment on the film, but his son, Franklin released a critical statement on August 18, 2008, noting that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is an organization started by Billy Graham in 1950. The main focus of the BGEA is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible...

 "has not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie." Graham's eldest daughter Gigi, however, has praised the movie and has also been hired as a consultant to help promote the film.

In 2011, Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Graham was once president, named its newest campus building the Billy Graham Community Life Commons.

Books authored

Graham has authored the following books:

  • 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)
  • Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (2011)


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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