There’s a petition stampeding through cyberspace calling for a national holiday in honor of Billy Graham. One person can and should put a stop to it.
Charlotte’s most famous Favorite Son died Feb. 21. He was celebrated for nine days like no American I’ve seen celebrated, but for the occasional late president.
There was massive media coverage of virtually every happening or aspect of Graham’s passing – in Charlotte, of course, but nationally as well. Thousands paid their respects in person along the procession from Montreat to the Billy Graham Library, where he lay in honor. In Washington, thousands more visited as Graham lay in repose in the Capitol Rotunda. Graham was only the fourth private citizen accorded this honor.
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He was visited after his passing by former U.S. presidents and the current one, just as he visited and in some way ministered to every president back to Harry Truman. He was unquestionably Christian conservative; still, his praise was sung across party lines.
There was grumbling from some about all the recognition for the Reverend, and the blurring of lines between church and state. But the celebration of Billy Graham was entirely justified by the scope of his impact on Americans and America over a span of generations, and the certain yet compassionate manner in which he carried himself and his message.
The U.S. government’s role in the farewell for Reverend Graham faded as Air Force One flew off from Charlotte Douglas, and that’s where it should end altogether, though not strictly because of the church-state conflict.
Government’s recognition of Billy Graham the celebrated reverend should cease because Billy Graham the humble follower of Christ knew the last thing Jesus himself cared about was official recognition from GuvCo.
Attempts at securing a calendar day for Billy Graham should be stopped because Billy Graham, child of God, knew there was only One Favorite Son, and it was toward Him that Graham always directed the attention. In fact, when there came a time that Graham himself became too closely aligned with some in government, he admitted it was a mistake and backed off.
No one would know better than Graham’s own reverend son Franklin how the senior reverend would have felt about all the ceremony the past 10 days. Franklin allowed last week that Billy Graham would be embarrassed by all the focus on him, tweeting specifically that his father “would not be comfortable with all of the attention in the Rotunda.”
No man who would choose a plain pine box made by prison inmates as his final earthly resting place, who would choose a simple field stone for his grave marker and the words, “Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ” - could possibly want to see his followers fawning over him as fans, petitioning government for a holiday in his name.
The man whom I’m sure would put a stop to all this holiday talk is, unfortunately, the man whom all this holiday talk is about.
But Franklin, a few words from you could put this petition business into perspective, and to rest, right now.