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Obama visits evangelist Billy Graham

Posted April 25, 2010

Evangelist Billy Graham

— Barack Obama on Sunday became the eleventh American president to seek counsel from Billy Graham, a North Carolina evangelist who another president once dubbed "America's pastor."

Obama was "extraordinarily gratified" that Billy Graham took the time to meet with him for the first time at Graham's mountainside home in Montreat early Sunday afternoon, the president's Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told the pool of reporters.

"Rev. Graham has obviously been an important spiritual leader for past president and for the American presidents for decades," Burton said. "He's a real treasure for our country. The president appreciates the opportunity to visit him at his home."

The men talked and prayed together in private, along with Graham's son Franklin.

"I am pleased to have had President Obama in my home this afternoon," Graham said in a statement. "I want to encourage Christians everywhere to pray for our president and for all those in positions of authority and especially for the men and women serving in our military."

Graham has counseled and advised every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. President George H.W. Bush once called Graham "America's pastor."

People lined the route to Graham's house and waved as the president came and went. He was next headed to West Virginia to speak at a memorial for 29 coal miners killed in an April 5 explosion.

Obama visited Graham after vacationing at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville this weekend. The White House requested the meeting several days ago, but it had been tentative, given the president's schedule and Billy Graham's unpredictable health, Burton said.

"He's got some of the creaks that come with advancing age, but he's still as sharp as ever," Burton said.

He said that Obama spoke with Graham by phone on his 91st birthday in November, and the two agreed to meet as soon as possible. Obama had tried to see Graham when he was in North Carolina for a presidential campaign debate in 2008, but the timing didn't work out.

Graham's health has declined in recent years, and he spends much of his time secluded at his Montreat home. Ruth Graham, his wife of more than 60 years, passed away in June 2007.

Graham made a rare public appearance last Wednesday to see renovations to his library in his hometown of Charlotte.

Between a series of revivals in Los Angeles in 1949 and his last official revival in New York in 2005, Graham preached in person to about 215 million people in 185 countries and territories worldwide.


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  • wildcat Apr 26, 2010

    What a lovely picture of two out-standing men? We are blessed to have them.

  • iworkandpaytaxes Apr 26, 2010

    You religous fanatics are the problem. $10,000 REWARD for any proof Jesus had anything to do with who or what created us. Im waiting. A book written by who knows who is not proof. $10,000 REWARD waiting.

  • teachonereachone Apr 26, 2010

    I thank God for Rev Graham and saying what the bible says. For some of us the rules to game changes. It's so funny we can recognize traits in someone else and can't see them in ourself. The mote and the beam. And how amazing it is that we can talk about what is in someone else heart and don't even see when we are overtaken in that fault ourself or worst. One thing about God he is no respect of person.

  • cwood3 Apr 26, 2010

    I have prayed for president Obama since that fateful November Day when he was elected. I will continue to pray for him until he leaves office. However, I have scee little to agree with. He seems to go the oposite of what I think on every issue. However, I will continue to pray for the man and his family.

    I suspect that President Obama is a very strange Christian if he's one at all. I heard an aweful lot of hate(and very little Jesus) coming from Rev. Wright. And in spite of President Obama's leaving that church, 20 years of attendance takes a while to wipe off.

    Finally, of course Rev. Graham met with President Obama. He has more class and respect from the American people than Obama could dream of having. So President Obama comes out looking like a winner. And he's all about appearances-big on appearance -little on good for America.

    I will continue to pray for him every day.

  • SemperFi... Always Apr 26, 2010

    Why??? Because it was just a publicity stunt by Obama to smooth over the fact that Franklin was disinvited to speak at the pentagon Day of Prayer celebration. I am not anti-Obama. I am not one of those people who are gonna disagree with everything his says or does, but it is very clear why he went for a visit. Billy Graham is a kind man and will always turn the other cheek. He would have never said no. And Obama knew that. Billy Graham isn't going to speak harsh about any president. Obama knew that. So, Obama used it as an opportunity to appear to be sympathetic towards the prayer day issue with Franklin without coming right out and saying it.

    Wow - you know a WHOLE lot about what Obama & Billy Graham think huh? It's not like this is the first President Billy Graham has ever met with - there's been quite a few. Again - unless we heard Obama & Billy's conversation - I'm not sure we're in a position to know exactly why either of them did what they did & it's just a visit go

  • soyousay Apr 26, 2010

    "By their fruits you will know them."

    and thi sis precisely the problem--when people set themselves to discern and judge others belief systems by matching it up their ouwn personal sect.

  • SemperFi... Always Apr 26, 2010

    Rev. Graham should have declined meeting with Obama. It is time for Christians in this country to stand up for what they believe. We seem to take our religious freedom for granted.

    Ummmmm and why should he have declined meeting with our President? I would think prayer is just as good for our President as it is for anyone else, no? As well as guidance or maybe just to say hello... We, as Christians, perhaps should not be so quick to judge lest we be judged... Isn't that how the saying goes? Or maybe it's the "to the least of these"... Etc & so forth... He is, afterall, like it or not, the President of the country in which we live. We don't like it? Canada & Mexico are really really close...

  • csplantlover Apr 26, 2010

    I am glad that Obama had the common sense to meet with Graham. Am thinking he might be the last President to have the privilege. I dont know what the motive behind the meeting was, other than to assuage the Republicans, but I hope he got something out of it and can bring something back to Washington with him that might help our country. We are fading fast and we need a president that takes God into consideration in his decision-making process, not that I believe for one minute that will be the case, but it's a nice thought!

  • lauraleigh Apr 26, 2010

    Ken, Sean -
    Communist regimes have targeted Christians from their inceptions. Christianity defies the state gods of atheism and communism. Look at the numbers of Christian martyrs in communist countries - from the former USSR to China and Korea. There have been more Christian martyrs since the beginning of the 20th century have been greater in number than the centuries preceding.

    And Mr. Obama a Christiam? I could dance down the streets of Raleigh calling myself a Rastafarian, but no one with a lick of sense would believe me. "By their fruits you will know them."

  • OGE Apr 26, 2010

    I am sure the two bibles given to OUR PRESIDENT had to be the all knowing KJV! LOL