Celebrities Recall Brushes with Graham in Billy & Me
- Wednesday, February 13, 2013
To me, that showed who he was.
Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.)
I gave him a small Bible once. It was very small, one you could put in your pocket. I saw him many years later toward the end of his career of actively holding crusades around the country. It was during a crusade at the big Coliseum in Atlanta, and I was up on the stage with him and six or eight other people. I said "hello" but hadn't yet had a chance to talk to him.
But he pulled that Bible out in front of thousands and thousands of people and said that he had gotten it as a gift from me, and he'd had it with him in his pocket ever since. That was an amazing memory, especially since I'd given him the Bible at least five or six years before. His authenticity and sincerity shines through. People realize it instinctively. That distinguished him from any preacher I know of in that generation who was in the public limelight.
CNN's HLN News Anchor Kyra Phillips
I looked at this legendary man of unwavering faith and said, "Reverend Graham, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. It took so much to get here. I didn't think you would grant me this interview. I was told it wasn't going to happen. Then, I was told it was on. I'm not quite sure which way is up and which way is down at the moment. Could we just pray?" He looked at me like a caring father. This man, who over six decades counseled presidents and gave millions of Americans hope for a better life through faith, smiled at me and simply said, "Well, of course."
Then he held my hand and we bowed our heads. We prayed for a few minutes, then opened our eyes. I sat back. I felt so at peace, so calm, and so relaxed. I never once looked down at my notes. We had an amazing conversation, one of the most memorable and beautiful moments I have had in my career.
Former CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather
I put it to him that the Soviet Union was a godless country; the godless government permeated society all the way down from top to bottom. "To whom are you going to preach?" I asked. I had been to the Soviet Union many times, and I was trying somewhat aggressively to point out to the Reverend Graham that in the Soviet Union the only people who went to church were very old women in their late eighties or their nineties. The reason was that there were communist government apparatchiks standing in the church taking down the names of people who went, so nobody would go to church because they didn't want their names on a list. After I made this point, Billy Graham replied, "What you don't understand is that below the surface, there are a lot of religious people, and they are afraid to come out, they won't risk coming out, but in effect, Dan, there are many, many, quiet, secret Christians, far more than you can imagine."
I didn't believe this at the time of the interview. But Billy Graham went ahead and visited Russia in 1982, and then again in 1984 and 1988, and on each occasion he preached to overflowing crowds. It turned out that he had been right all along, and I was wrong. He understood the basic religiosity of people even when their religious instincts had long been repressed.
Christian Broadcasting Network Founder Pat Robertson
I've been with him on a group prayer retreat. He's just a humble man under God. He puts on no airs or pretense, none of the "flash and dash." He lives very simply. He once told me he had been offered an airplane -- someone wanted to give him one, but he wouldn't accept it.
He felt that he should not have luxury for himself. People in his kind of position are offered everything, and he said no.
Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait
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