Billy Graham

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Barack Obama with Graham in 2010
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Christianity
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The pearly gates
They swarm around me and are friendly to me, because they know that I am friendly to Israel and so forth. But they don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country, and I have no power and no way to handle them.
—Billy Graham on the Nixon White House tapes[1]
What is the greatest surprise you have found about life?” a university student asked me several years ago. “The brevity of it,” I replied without hesitation. … Time moves so quickly, and no matter who we are or what we have done, the time will come when our lives will be over. As Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).
—Billy Graham[2]

William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. (1918–2018) was an evangelist of the Southern Baptist Convention persuasion. He first became famous in 1949 with an 8-week tent revival which caught the attention of the William Randolph Hearst newspaper chain. He later attempted to stake out a niche as a moderate, respectable evangelist, spiritual counselor to many U.S. presidents, and a media go-to person to contrast with the usually scandalous and heavily politicized world of televangelism. He scored a major coup by hiring ex-pinup girl Bettie Page on his staff full-time.

However, his apolitical reputation may be overrated as he was personally very close friends with Richard Nixon, and the Nixon tapes declassified in 2002 include a meeting between the two during which Graham and Nixon discussed a Jewish "stranglehold" on the media, and Graham gloated that the Jews had no idea how he "really felt" about them.[3] He also showed raging anti-Catholic sentiments during the 1960 Presidential Campaign. His crusades have been well-attended and often turned into local media circus events wherever he appeared. Billy Graham received the Templeton Prize in 1982.[4]

Despite Religious Right leaders' love of him, Billy Graham committed the ultimate evil: he was a registered Democrat. His son Franklin Graham, however, does not believe Obama is a Christian.[5]

Due to out-of-character statements in his later years, such as supporting North Carolina's Amendment 1 banning same sex marriage and civil unions,[6] supporting the Chick-fil-A appreciation day, and scrubbing any references his website had to Mormonism being a cult before campaigning for Mitt Romney, some concluded that Franklin Graham was making all his decisions.[7][8] And when asked whether Billy Graham would speak publicly to confirm statements in his name, Franklin Graham replied, "That ain’t gonna happen. I can promise you that."[9]

Billy Graham spoke in favor of Christian Universalism, which caused widespread outrage.[10]

In 1964 Graham spoke in favor of theistic evolution. He believed that God may have used the evolutionary process leading up to the creation of man. He also believed there’s no conflict at all between science and the Scriptures, and that the Bible should not be seen as science book but as a book about redemption. [11]

Some Christians didn't like him because of his more liberal approach toward Christianity. This has led to some humorous efforts to ruin his reputation.[12]

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