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“”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|
“”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).
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. 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.
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, 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. 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."
Billy Graham spoke in favor of Christian Universalism, which caused widespread outrage.
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. 
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.
Billy Graham rule
He is also known for this eponymous principle of conduct, according to which a man especially a Protestant leader should not spend time alone in the company of a woman who is not his wife. It was formulated by Graham and some of his associates in 1948, as part of the "Modesto Manifesto", a set of principles that also included a commitment to financial integrity and rules about making false claims in publicity and keeping good relations with other churches. The rule about not spending time alone with a woman was aimed at avoiding the frequent allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against evangelical preachers even back in the 1940s; such men were often away from their homes on tours preaching and performing missionary work, and wanted to avoid temptation.
More recently the rule has been associated with US vice president Mike Pence, who apparently still follows it in the 2010s. This has divided opinion, with some people seeing it as misogynistic and as perpetuating inequality against women, who may be professionally disadvantaged and unable to work for Pence; it also perpetuates the idea that every relationship between men and women is about sex. But other people see it as an important way of defending his marriage.
- Billy Graham Apologizes to Jews For His Remarks on Nixon Tapes. New York Times, 3 March 2002.
- Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham by Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows
- Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, When Billy Graham Urged Nixon to Kill a Million People. counterpunch.org, November 1, 2013.
- Previous Prize Winners
- Watch Franklin Graham Question President Obama's Faith, Explain Why Mormons Aren’t Christian On Morning Joe
- Ed Kilgore, Billy Graham and Amendment One. washingtonmonthly.com, May 9, 2012.
- Franklin Graham's fire sale at Montreat, Slacktivist
- Billy Graham is not an anti-gay bigot, Steve Knight, Huffington Post
- Billy Graham didn't go to Chick-Fil-A and he didn't tell you to go there either, Slacktivist
- Billy Graham Universalist on YouTube
- Like calling him a Freemason?
- See the Wikipedia article on Billy Graham rule.
- What is the Billy Graham rule?, The Independent (UK), 21 Feb 2018
- How Mike Pence's Marriage Became Fodder for the Culture Wars, Emma Green, The Atlantic, March 2017