Billy Graham Statue Unveiled at U.S. Capitol, Inviting Visitors to the Gospel

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated May 17, 2024
Billy Graham Statue Unveiled at U.S. Capitol, Inviting Visitors to the Gospel

A statue of the late evangelist Billy Graham was unveiled at the U.S. capitol building Thursday, depicting him looking forward as he holds a copy of the Bible and invites listeners to the gospel. The seven-foot statue is part of the capitol’s historic “National Statuary Hall Collection” and was unveiled nine years after the North Carolina General Assembly voted to replace a statue of Charles Brantley Aycock, a former governor known for his white supremacist views, with one of Graham. Under an 1864 law, each state may contribute two statues of deceased individuals celebrated for their “historic renown or distinguished civic or military services.” Artist Chas Fagan sculpted it.

Graham, who died in 2018, is believed to have preached the Gospel to more people “in live audiences than anyone else in history,” nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, according to the organization he launched. The 1949 Los Angeles Crusade lasted eight weeks and placed him in the public eye, drawing national coverage. 

“My father would be a little uncomfortable with this being here,” said Franklin Graham, the evangelist’s son. “Because he would want the focus to be on the One whom he preached -- the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

billy graham frankline graham statue capitol
Photo credit: ©Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 

The base of the statue includes the text of two verses: John 3:16 and John 14:6.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me,” one panel on the base reads.

Other statues include those of George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, an outspoken Christian, expressed his admiration for Graham’s ministry.

“Millions of people will walk by and read John 14:6 and John 3:16,” Johnson said, according to coverage of the event from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “What a story to tell as we bring school kids through and university students and constituents, they’ll stop right here. And at the base of the foundation those two verses will be shared broadly.

“I think it’s the perfect placement.”

Johnson also revealed details about the statue.

“In his left hand he holds an open Bible,” Johnson said. “And with right hand, he’s inviting all those to read. It’s open to Galatians 6:14.”

That verse says in the NIV: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

North Carolina’s congressional delegation said the statue will impact countless people. Significantly, members of both parties celebrated Graham’s ministry at the ceremony.

“Let us never forget the Bible that he preached, the souls that were saved, and the lives that were transformed,” said Sen. Ted Budd, a Republican. “More people have heard the Good News of Jesus from Billy Graham than any man in our history.”

“He believed, as many of us do, that there is redemption,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. “And he gave his life delivering that message.”

The statue will be located in the crypt, one level below the rotunda.

Top photo credit: ©Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.