Billy Graham, the ailing 86 year old Christian evangelist, respected as the father of modern-day American evangelism, has scrupulously avoided political labels for fifty years of ministry. He sought to rise above the fray, as God would, so that all could hear his words of universal truth. Evangelicals of all leanings, from Rick Warren, Max Lucado and right-wing radicals James Dobson and Jerry Falwell to Jim Wallis of Sojourners regard him as the seminal figure of their ministries.
Rev. Graham says he may have preached his last sermon to a stadium congregation yesterday. He spoke of salvation and love to 300,000 of the faithful at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena from Thursday through Sunday. He probably has proclaimed his last altar call.
He did a lengthy interview this weekend with NBC's Brian Williams. A few moments ago, The Today Show ran a brief, provocative excerpt in which Mr. Williams asked for Rev. Graham's views on the Presidential election of 2004.
Eyes shining, the revered Rev. Graham firmly fired eight words that will reverberate around Christian evangelical circles for years to come.....
"I have been a Democrat all my life..."