Passage: The Rev. Billy Graham

Passage: The Rev. Billy Graham

It happened this past week: the passing of evangelist Billy Graham.

Born near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918, Billy Graham found his religious calling at a revival meeting when he was just 16.

Billy Graham  Evangelist
The Rev. Billy Graham in 1996. AP

Blessed with a commanding stage presence and a powerful voice, Reverend Graham preached to more than 200 million people in 185 countries over the years.

In 1957, his fiery sermons filled New York's Madison Square Garden day after day for 16 weeks:

"We've done away with the Ten Commandments. We've done away with the Sermon on the Mount. And now we're reaping the result: dishonesty, lying, cover-up and hypocrisy.

Often called "America's Pastor," Billy Graham counseled a long line of presidents -- Republicans and Democrats alike.

But he had to apologize for disparaging remarks he had made about Jews to President Nixon after audio recordings of their conversations came to light.

Graham also went on regret that he had not taken an active part in the civil rights movement -- though he did voluntarily put an end to racial segregation at his "Crusades" early on. 

Billy Graham handed leadership of his ministry to his son Franklin in 1995 ... and in his later years he addressed the issue of his own mortality with characteristic faith:

"I look forward to death with great anticipation. I'm looking forward to seeing God face-to-face."

The Reverend Billy Graham was 99 years old.

      
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