Sunday, August 28, 2011

What about a statue of Billy Graham in Washington?

It's been noted that the new statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the first on the National Mall honoring a non-U.S. president and the first honoring an African American.

I would add that it's also the first time a religious figure -- a man of the cloth -- has been so honored.

And that got me thinking: Should Billy Graham get a statue in Washington, too?

Not now. Graham, who will turn 93 in November, is still very much with us.

But someday, I think a statue of this Charlotte-born evangelist -- pastor to presidents -- would be a popular addition to Our Nation's Capital.

I'm not suggesting it go on the National Mall. That's reserved for titans who profoundly changed America: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and MLK.

Graham's influence was big, but more sectarian: He's a beloved evangelist.

So here's where they might want to put his statue: In the U.S. Capitol.

If you've toured this domed home to the legislative branch, you know that each state gets to donate likenesses of two of its favorite sons or daughters to be among the Capitol's statuary.

Right now, two long-ago N.C. governors -- Zebulon Vance and Charles Aycock -- represent the Tar Heel State.

I say they've had their time.

At some future date, maybe the state could replace one of the governors with a statue of Billy Graham preaching the Gospel. (And maybe the other could be replaced, also someday, by a statue of Andy Griffith of Mayberry, er, Mount Airy. But that's another, later blog post).

Now, for those of you who think separation of church and state should extend to statues in public buildings, you might want to tell that to Hawaii . . . or California . . . or Utah . . . or Illinois.

Those are among the 12 states (by my count) that are represented by at least one religious figure.

Hawaii donated a statue of Father Damien, the 19th century Catholic priest who pastored lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Two years ago, he was canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

California, too, is represented by a Catholic priest: Father Junipero Serra was a Spanish missionary who founded a series of missions named for saints -- including San Diego, Santa Clara and San Francisco.

One of Utah's two statues is of Brigham Young. Yes, he was the first governor of the Utah territory. But he was also a historic president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- also known as the Mormons.

The first woman added to the National Statuary: Frances Willard of Illinois, a 19th century Christian crusader against drink. She started the Prohibition Party and was affiliated with evangelist Dwight Moody -- the Billy Graham of his day.

Certainly Billy Graham is a major figure not just in North Carolina. He is known all over the country -- and around the world.

Just like humorist Will Rogers was. His statue is in the Capitol representing his native Oklahoma.

And swapping one statue for another would not be unprecedented.

In 2009, the state of California did it. It replaced the statue of Thomas Starr King -- a Civil War-era Unitarian minister -- with one honoring a Hollywood actor whose star shone even brighter in the field of politics.

Maybe you've heard of him: Ronald Reagan.

For a complete list -- with cool photos and bios -- of the states' statues in the Capitol, check out the Web site for the National Statuary Hall collection.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

No disrespect, but to think that Billy Graham is in the same league as MLK is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Why honor NC's biggest crook?

Anonymous said...

Um... No.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, why not a statue of Billy Graham in Charlotte?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why honor NC's biggest crook?
August 29, 2011 11:34 AM


You're saying he's a crook? What has he stolen? Guess you've forgotten about Mike Easley and Mecklenburg County's own Harry Jones?

You're a fool.

Anonymous said...

nope

Anonymous said...

A statue of Billy Graham in Washington, D.C.? Hell No.

Anonymous said...

Someone once ask me "Who is your hero? After thinking for awhile the only person that I could think of was Billy Graham.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
No disrespect, but to think that Billy Graham is in the same league as MLK is crazy.

How so? Billy Graham is STILL preaching the faith in his 90's. Although not having the huge revivals these days because of his health, he personally reaches millions upon millions with the Word. And although it's not a contest, he is most assuredly in the same "league" as MLK.

Anonymous said...

Put a statue of Billy Graham next to the Miracle On The Hudson Plane.

Anonymous said...

Sure, right next to P.T. Barnum.

Anonymous said...

Both Martin King and Billy Graham are men of God. Rev. Kings path took him along a different route based on the times and needs. We should not belittle either man's contributions to our nation. I'm not real big on statues yet if people do not worship this statues I don't see as they can do any harm.

Anonymous said...

I'm an atheist and would have no problem with a statue of a religious native son of our state in the Capitol building; but there's no way you could convince me that a likeness of such a hateful, bigoted human being is at all a good idea.

Anonymous said...

The humble man Billy Graham would probably not prefer a statue of himself in national prominence such as Wash, DC, or other public places, nor would he desire public controversy over such plans when he is no longer around. Of course a portion of the public may want national recognition for him by such proposals of a statue somewhere. He would want more recognition for the Lord Jesus Christ which would be his greatest satisfaction and not himself.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham is absolutely in the same league as Martin Luther King. This man has done nothing but preach the Bible and peace his entire adult life. While Mr. King did the same, his followers do not. They constantly harp prejudice remarks and have for years, yet Dr.. King has a street named after him in almost every city with a paved road. To honor Dr. King is appropriate, but it has gone much farther than that. So to say that Billy Graham should have one statue in his honor is certainly appropriate and it should happen.

Anonymous said...

No offense to Billy Graham, I have no problem with him. Just wondering for what? Leading all those poor white Christians out of their oppression? What about Jonathan Edwards?

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with a statue of Billy Graham and I'm barely a deist (some days an agnostic.) I don't think a staue of him is an endorsement of theocracy.

But I think we should pair him with a business leader-Hugh McColl, Bruton Smith, C.D. Spangler (all of whom are still alive, happily enough.) Perhaps James B. Duke?

After all, North Carolina is one part church and two parts bidness.

Anonymous said...

The statue should be in Charlotte of Billy Graham as a young street preacher. I've seen a photo of him at that age. He was a dynamic character then as well.

Anonymous said...

I continue to be amazed by the hate people post of these feeds - and then they wonder why the world still harbors bigotry. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE YOU POST. How could ANYONE call Billy Graham a crook. He has a legacy that is unsurpassed and probably never will be. And since the gauntlet has been thrown, I'd bet his FBI tapes don't reveal talk about little girls like MLK's.

sbh1cats said...

billy graham would never want a statue of himself...great thought, but that is so against his nature

Anonymous said...

Maybe have as the inscription all those "bleeped" words Nixon used to describe Graham in the White House Watergate tapes? Bad idea here Tim.

Anonymous said...

Dumb idea. Graham has a long history of hate. Why celebrate it?

Anonymous said...

Its complete disrespect to Dr. King to even mention Graham in the same sentence. King fought and died for equality. Graham is a two-bit huckster and a quasi-racist. His son is worse.

Anonymous said...

While I don't mean any disrespect to Dr. Graham, I don't think he has ever been beaten by the Police for protesting Jim Crow laws. Dr. Graham is a man of faith, but Dr. King laid his life at the alter of Freedom for all people. Dr. Graham is a first rate minister of the Lord, but Dr. King was a martyr for the Lord, a big difference. Dr. Graham was blessed with a long life and time to see his children grow, while Dr. King was denied these simple pleasures.

Tim Funk said...

Tim Funk here.
Just to be clear: I am not taking ANYTHING away from Dr. King. In fact, I wrote in the blog post (see above) that I think he deserves his place on the National Mall along with the other titans: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR.

Anonymous said...

Good call. MLK all over got old way back. No statue looks anything like him including DC.

BG in DC. Prez Perry might do it.

What about BG on the sq at T&T & at the airport? Scrap the uglies.

Anonymous said...

Ok Funk. No take backs. You blew it buddy. You are officially a racist. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham is absolutely in the same league as Martin Luther King. This man has done nothing but preach the Bible and peace his entire adult life. While Mr. King did the same, his followers do not. They constantly harp prejudice remarks and have for years, yet Dr.. King has a street named after him in almost every city with a paved road. To honor Dr. King is appropriate, but it has gone much farther than that. So to say that Billy Graham should have one statue in his honor is certainly appropriate and it should happen.

To say that all of Billy Graham's followers live up to his preaching and Dr. King's have not is a gross assumption and you need to may need to reavaluate that. You don't think that none of Graham's followers "harp prejudice remarks" or ever say or do anything insensitive? Get into reality and do so quickly.

Both men are preachers but Billy Graham and Dr. King's accomplishments on the national level do not really parallel.

Just because one person gets something doesn't mean everyone is deserving of that same exact thing.

dwight said...

Rev. Graham is one of many GREAT AMERICANS and should be honored for his contributiona to America.

Bob Hope did more for our military than most Americans would ever consider given up fo our men and women in uniform.

Rev. Graham and Bob Hope are not honored in the halls of Congrees nor on the Mall. WHY?

MLK was honored because it was politically correct and white Americans were to afraid to go against the blacks. I lived during MLK "I Have A Dream" and "The Truth Will Set You Free" nonsense.

With MLK being honored in the Mall I am glad Rev. Graham and Bob Hope are not being. These two Great Americans deserve the respect from the American people for their contributions not for the fear of white people if the blacks don't get what they want.

Blackwhitered said...

What Idiots. Color is still a problem here in Charlotte. Color of the skin means a whole lot more than accomplishments, according to you people. Billy Graham ? Get real!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Dumb idea. Graham has a long history of hate. Why celebrate it?

August 29, 2011 3:53 PM"

Ignorance & low IQ = Retarded.

Anonymous said...

MLK was not in it for the money. How did billy and his son make all their money? Just another crook using the name of god to make money

blackwhitered said...

Stupid(White oppression). These postings are as stupid as the oppressed people that think Billy Graham should have a statue at the WHITE HOUSE. The white house? Somebody wake these dummies up before they tear down another community of non-whites

Tim Funk said...

Tim Funk again.

Can't we try to keep the dialogue here on a higher level?

I doubt that either Dr. King nor Billy Graham would engage in -- nor approve of -- the kind of belitting e-talk that some of you insist on (anonymously).

King and Graham were friends, by the way. And both were ministers who prayed to the same God.

Forgive me if this sounds like lecturing on my part. But I am constantly amazed how negative some of these online comments can get.

King and Graham deserve better.

blackwhitered said...

Color still means everything here. No mmatter how old or young you are, the color of your skin is all that matters in Charlotte or in Washington. Even though we've elected a person of color to lead us, after a previous president got the country into a war over OIL not the people that were killed in 9-11 dumb greedy republicans in Washington lining their own pockets and getting rich on the backs of all of America. Duh !What a shame. Do you people hate JESUS too ? Ya know he was'nt white. We want to raise a statue for a religous preacher but a leader who cost many many lives and got rich, we let just walk away. What smart people we have here in this country. No wonder everybody wants to come to the USA.

Anonymous said...

I think people who read these blgs need to understand that there are many posters who are just trying to stir things up and have a good laugh by writing something wacked out... So don't take the comments so serious... This is an honest opinion: MLK deserves his place in Washington but I don't think BG deserves a statue there - but he does in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

MLK was popular with a smaller group but Graham was larger of a much higher calling and greater world class stature.
He needs a large granite rock in DC and a federal holiday in his honor.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was of the white Shem race you moron. Jews and arabs are both of the Shem race of Europeans. Such ignorance and a racist. Get an education.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham being from Charlotte is one of the most embarrassing things about living here.

I'd be fine with a statue as long as they put his quote from the Nixon tapes that "This [Jewish] stranglehold has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain," on it.

blackwhitered said...

Mr. Funk ? Why don't you put the statue in your backyard ? Or would you rather have it on the square like the rest of those high priced statues the city paid for ? MLK lost his life to a cause, did the preacher lose anything ? No, as a matter of fact, he got rich. Does'nt the bible say a rich man getting into heaven would be like a camel going through the eye of a needle ? ENOUGH is ENOUGH, this is your column, why don't you write about something that matters ? No wonder the Observer's circulation has shrunk, and will continue to shrink if they're standing behind columns like this.

blackwhitered said...

No matter. You have an opinion just like everybody else. It's my choice to choose to read it or not.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham is a bigger con artist than John Edwards!

Anonymous said...

No way!

Anonymous said...

@Dwight...

Buddy how glad I am that your version on America came out on the loosing side, thanks in no small part to MLK and to a lesser extent, Billy Graham who- although his support of civil rights was tepid at times- did speak out against your beloved KKK and preached that there was no no biblical basis for segregation. Too bad. Not even Billy Graham agrees with your bigotry. MLK isd their because he pulled this country into the 21st century, made it a better and more free place, and left a legacy that continues to crush the ignorance of bigots like you who are more concerned about looking over their shoulder to see what the black man is getting (that the white man isn't) than they are furthering the cause of freedom and liberty.

You lose.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham didn't start out as a wealthy man, but now he, and every member of his family, are multi-millionaires. Where'd all that money come from... "preaching the gospel"?

Right...

Anonymous said...

No, Billy Graham is not a crook. In fact, Billy Graham is one of the very few Evangelical preachers that should be respected.

However, there is no doubt that Billy Graham is also the direct predecessor of the many crooks, charlatans, vagabonds, and snake-oil salesmen that took the Billy Graham method and perverted it for the private, sinful gains.

Much of the fear, hatred, divisiness, superstition, ignorance, and viciousness caused by the "born-again" evangelicals today can be directly traced to Billy Graham. For those of you that are going to demand proof, just look at his son Franklin. It says something that the one closest to him (his eldest son) is one of the worst offenders of all that is wrong with evangelical Christianity.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

MLK and Billy Graham were polar opposites...

Anonymous said...

A better choice: Elisha Mitchell, scientist, educator, explorer and minister. Fell to his death trying to advance the frontiers of knowledge. A real state hero!

Anonymous said...

LMFAO

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tim: I think thou dost protest too much. You started this - take your lumps like a man.

Lambie said...

Hey Tim Funk, most of the people who post on these comment forums don't actually read the article they are commenting on. They are interested in seeing their words in print, not in thoughtful interaction. It's a waste of time trying to react or respond to the always-negatives who live their lives on Internet forums.

Anonymous said...

I think that you see that to honor Billy with a statue would actually end up dishonoring his true message and turn him into a secular icon, which would be a repudiation of what he defined himself to be. Martin Luther King was a minister, yes, but he also defined himself in secular terms, and it is the secular man that we honor, not the Christian preacher. Can they be separated? Yes, I think so, especially in King, but in Graham, it would be to deny him in the eyes of posterity what he told us that he was.

kingfish said...

No, No, No
shouldn't even consider it..!!!!

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham is a great man, but no statue will ever be erected because he was a preacher not a game changer and a movement leader. Dr King is being memorialized because of his ultimate place and sacrifice in the civil rights movement not as a preacher, and rightfully so. As a 63 year old caucasian male , I am more than pleased that this is finally happening. I doubt Rick Perry or Michelle Bauchmann will attend, but I will.

Anonymous said...

MLK is not in the same league with Billy Graham. Billy saved souls of every race, he is not color blind like MLK.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting Graham's family wouldn't charge an $800,000 licensing fee like the King family swindlers did.

Anonymous said...

I think we all agree a statue is a bit much. How about a soap sculpture in the men's room? As more people wash their hands of time, he becomes smaller and smaller and smaller

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham already has a parkway, a library, and a museum with his name on it. Doesn't he have any churches in his name? Pretty soon, they'll just rename the religion after good ol' Billy.

If you want to build a statue, go right ahead. Just don't think you're putting it up in Washington D.C.. Billy Graham NEVER had the national impact that MLK had during the 60's. MLK's movement was about racial equality, while Billy Graham's was about...about...about...'ell, I have no idea! He's just another religious zealot who bilked people out of their hard earned money, due to his orating skills. He just used God and Jesus as his vehicle to make his fortune...and many others do the same thing.

Hallelujah! No Statue For You, Billy!

Lambie said...

Didn't any of you who hide behind the "anonymous" veil actually read the article? There wasn't even a hint of a suggestion that Billy Graham get the same recognition as MLK. So why are you protesting so vigorously over what wasn't proposed?

(Looks to me like about 80% of the anonymous postings are from the same person. Get a life.)

Anonymous said...

No Lambie...it's just that 80% of the people responding believe acknowledging a religious windbag and giving him a statue is a joke. That'll open up the door to build statues for Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Billy James Hargis, Peter Popoff, or Ted Haggard.

Also, I don't know about others, but I'm really into leaving my full name when commenting on posts...just so my present and potential employers can reference it. You must be either a retiree who doesn't care or absolutely naive to post your name everywhere.

Billy Graham has plenty of statues in his name...they are called churches. Enjoy giving away your 10% annually to God.

My name...Ron Paul

Anonymous said...

Henry Berry Lowrie led a famous band of robbers in North Carolina. We could put his statue next to Billy's, to illustrate for our young people how different success stories can be made of the same calling.

Anonymous said...

Is Mr. Funk going to pay for this himself? Or is that the creep of Socialism I hear?

Sean said...

BG collects 80m a year. How much of that goes to the poor? many a camel seems to think it shall pass through the needle's eye....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubLu-9SicSM&feature=youtube_gdata_player