MONTREAT, N.C. – As a young man, Billy Graham practiced his sermons by preaching to the alligators and birds in the swamp. At his height years later, he was bringing the word of God into living rooms around the globe via TV and dispensing spiritual counsel — and political advice — to U.S. presidents.
The Rev. Billy Graham, dubbed "America's Pastor" and the "Protestant Pope," died Wednesday at his North Carolina home. He was 99 and had achieved a level of influence and reach no other evangelist is ever likely to match.
More than anyone else, the Hollywood-handsome Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the United States.