"America's Pastor" Billy Graham Has Died At 99

Allan Goodman
February 22, 2018

Former President George H.W. Bush released a statement about his "good friend", recounting how the pair would go boating in ME together.

"This is where he got a taste of glory, a taste of fame and the gratification that comes from speaking to huge crowds", said Grant Wacker, the author of "America's Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation", a biography of the national icon. "And standing there was precious Mrs. Ruth Graham, and the Lord Jesus himself saying, 'Billy, well done, good and faithful servant. He had a powerful, captivating presence and a keen mind", Bush said in a statement.

And many other lawmakers from around the country have chimed in, referring to Graham as one of the "greatest spiritual and moral leaders in America's history".

Famed evangelical Christian pastor Billy Graham, a charismatic figure for decades in the United States and counsellor to Presidents, died on Wednesday at the age of 99.

When Billy Graham graduated from Wheaton College and stepped into his first pulpit in suburban Western Springs, he preached with the volume and timbre of an evangelist out to save souls.

"And Rev. Graham said, 'Ron you and I have been friends for a long time, but if I do that I will be getting into partisan politics and that will hurt my ministry and I think you'll understand, ' which Reagan did".

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In a career spanning more than 60 years, he is believed to have preached to tens of millions of people in what he called his "crusades". "This morning, as he arrived at the heavenly shores, I'm sure he heard, 'Welcome home, Billy'". He also served as a counselor or minister to a dozen USA presidents. "I wish I had had the privilege of knowing him and talking with him".

"Christianity is not a white man's religion and don't let anyone tell you it's white or black", he told an audience in South Africa in 1973. And President Trump has been defending Christians, "Franklin Graham said during a recent interview".

In March 2002, tapes were released of private conversations between President Nixon and Graham in 1973, in which Graham joins Nixon in making anti-Semitic remarks. "I'm for whoever the best candidate is", he said.

One of the more intriguing episodes of Graham's life saw him befriend Los Angeles gangland boss Mickey Cohen.

"His lapel microphone, which gives added volume to his deep cavernous voice, allows him to pace the platform as he talks, rising to his toes to drive home a point, clenching his fists, stabbing his finger in the sky", Time magazine wrote of Graham in 1949. Through his Crusades, he introduced Jesus Christ to vast numbers of people who otherwise would have no knowledge of the Christian faith.

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