Bill Clinton Pays Respects to Billy Graham, Who Claimed Former President Had a Heart to ‘Do God’s Will’

Presidents Bush, Carter and Clinton join Graham for his 2007 library dedication

CHARLOTTE, NC — Former president Bill Clinton paid his respects to Billy Graham on Tuesday, traveling to North Carolina for the public viewing of Graham’s casket at his Charlotte library. Graham, who had served as a counselor to a number of U.S. presidents, considered Clinton to be a Christian, and once characterized him—despite disagreement with his stances—as being a man who “has in his heart a desire to serve God and do His will.”

Clinton, who was one of thousands who came for the viewing that day, spoke to reporters outside of Graham’s childhood home during his visit.

“I read a story today saying if you’re a preacher, you have to be careful about getting too close to those politicians. I agree with that—but don’t forget, those of us who are Christians believe in a God of second chances, and politicians need those more than anybody else,” he said. “So you gotta cut him a little slack for trying to give a willing ear and an open heart without regard to his political preferences.”

Clinton outlined that his Sunday School teacher took him to a Graham crusade in Little Rock, Arkansas when he was 11 years old. He also met Graham in person when he served as the governor of Arkansas, and took the popular crusade preacher to visit his pastor, who was deathly ill.

“Hillary and I were glad to have him at the White House a couple times, but mostly I was glad to see that, in that little room [with my pastor], he was the same person that I saw when I was 11 at that great big football field, and I think that says a lot,” Clinton stated.

“I think he was a profoundly good man who conveyed a simple belief that we can claim kinship with God by asking, and that while we all believe that it’s faith plus nothing, he wasn’t faith plus nothing. He lived. He showed his faith by his works and by his life,” he remarked.

Graham, reported to be a registered Democrat, is stated to have prayed with every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, the latter of whom traveled to Graham’s cabin in 2010. In 1983, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

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In his best-selling autobiography “Just As I Am,” first published in 1997, Graham wrote favorably of Clinton, suggesting that he considered the then-president to be a Christian. While noting that Clinton drew opposition from Christians at times, most likely referring to his unbiblical stances, he said that he still sensed that Clinton’s heart was toward the Lord.

He recalled a meeting at the White House in which the two talked about the Bible, writing, “It was a time of warm fellowship with a man who has not always won the approval of his fellow Christians, but who has in his heart a desire to serve God and do His will.” Read the excerpt here.

Graham outlined that during the 1996 presidential election he refused to endorse one candidate or the other, as he considered both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole to be his friends. He said that he simply prayed that God’s will would be done and that whoever was elected would serve with integrity.

“That was my prayer also as I stood at the podium on January 20, 1997, as President Clinton and Vice President Gore were inaugurated to their second term in office,” Graham wrote. “It has been my prayer for every president I have known, whether casually or intimately.”

“The burdens and responsibilities of that office are enormous, and no person can ever fulfill its demands with his own strength, but only with the grace and help of Almighty God,” he added. “President Clinton knows the reality of that truth, and … I pray that all who follow him in that office may know it as well.”

In 1993, Graham drew controversy for agreeing to present the invocation at Clinton’s first inauguration despite the president-elect’s views, from which he dissented. According to a New York Times article, “By taking part in the inauguration of President Clinton, a fellow Southern Baptist, Mr. Graham infuriated some conservative Christians who said he should have shunned an administration that strongly supports abortion rights and opposes the armed forces’ bar against homosexuals.”

“Mr. Graham himself has said that abortion is generally an unjustified taking of a human life, but he admits exceptions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life. He has called homosexual acts sinful, but has warned against treating homosexuals as outcasts,” the outlet outlined.

As previously reported, many Christians do not consider the Clintons to be Christians despite their notations of their Methodist and Baptist backgrounds, and it was because of their stances on moral issues that many strongly opposed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

Graham was vocal about his concerns surrounding the moral decline of America in his latter years, and warned that the nation “can’t go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming.”

His body was transported to the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, where he was honored by President Trump, both Republican and Democratic members of Congress, and governors from across the nation. Graham’s funeral is scheduled for Friday at the Billy Graham Library. He will be buried next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007.

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  • Robin Egg

    I will give a pass to Bush Sr given his health problems. Maybe even Carter who at 93 may have health issues as well. But the lame, arrogance of Clinton, Bush and Obama to not attend the actual funeral on Friday is inexcusable. Rev. Graham was the White House advisor through all their presidencies, good, bad or indifferent. Shame on them. They are showing what utter lack of class they really have. And we will remember that.

  • Ken

    Bill Clinton respects no one. Pope John Paul II recalled that when he met with Clinton, his eyes were just wandering all over the room and that he wasn’t making eye contact. He’s so shallow, he’s not even one-dimensional.

  • robert boe

    May be??? For the sake of discussion only on Judgimng.. these former president guys read what pulpit and pen organization said about billy graham .And there Judging him as some one who is not as good a christian as they are .? So they didn’t want to go to his funeral . better just to judge people in your own church body said st Paul.

  • HpO

    Billy G scratched Bill C’s back, then Clinton scratched his. That’s what’s going on here and why he said, “[Graham did] give a willing ear and an open heart without regard for his political preferences. … He was a profoundly good man who conveyed a simple belief that we can claim kinship with God … He showed his faith by his works and by his life”.

    It’s all because of Billy Graham’s words of absolution for President Bill Clinton being caught in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky:

    “I forgive him because I know the frailty of human nature and I know how hard it is, and especially a strong vigorous young man like he is – he has such a tremendous personality. I think the ladies just go wild over him. … I hope and pray for [President Bill Clinton’s] sake, the sake of his family and our nation, that he is not guilty of the things he is alleged to have done. … But ultimately … when we point a finger at the President, let’s point another finger at ourselves for our sins.” (Source: Billy Graham on NBC Today Show, March 5, 1998; and “Billy Graham’s Letter to the New York Times”, New York Times, March 17, 1998.)

    No? You don’t think so? Then maybe it’s all because of all those times when Billy Graham “conveyed foreign threats and entreaties for [President Bill] Clinton”! (Source: Cecil Bothwell, “Billy Graham: An Old Soldier Fades Away”, Consortium News, February 21, 2018.)

  • The Lone Haranguer

    This is from the Wiki article “Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll”:

    “Through 2016, evangelist Billy Graham had 60 appearances in the top 10, the most of anyone, with eight second-place finishes.”

  • maranathagen67

    Billy Graham’s funeral….

    “It took less than 15 seconds into the ceremony before Jesus was mentioned; the Savior’s name came up about a hundred times before the 90-minute event concluded.”

    “Everyone who spoke was clear in their message. They honored his wishes by making this less about Billy and more about Jesus….”

    Amen and Amen! He (Jesus) must increase and we must decrease.

    • robert boe

      Glad to hear that .. I’m familiar with Billy graham through quick news clips and commercials he use to have on.. Years ago.his partner use to sing. Just as I am. I think. He had a baritone singing voice.

      • maranathagen67

        Our SS Superintendent shared with us this morning that he came to salvation in Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Encouraging to hear that. George Beverly Shea was the singer…. came from outside of Ottawa, Canada. Passed away at 104 and was still singing at 103! “I’d Rather Have Jesus” was a hymn that he wrote. He was also noted for singing “How Great Thou Art” and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”. Great team!

  • mamabear111

    John 3:16 The bible tells us how to be saved….Then Rev: 316 why our candlestick would be removed

  • robert boe

    I never heard before that Billy Graham supported abortion in cases of rape or insist. Wouldn’t these little ones be just as much victims as the one carrying them in her womb why murder them?? Very rare but it has happened where a baby grows out side the womb and these babies die there and their moms to if they are not aborted. The doctors save the life that can be saved.

  • robert boe

    I think Billy Graham would really want us Lutherans to get our Lords Supper hymn back that he stole. The title of it was “Just as I am with out one plea.”. Now that he no longer using it so wrongly. And he is very happy with where he is now and would not trade it for a whole fleet of Limos. And he knows some of us Lutherans are still stuck here for a while. So can we please have our hymn back we miss it!

  • robert boe

    I for got to tell you I got a phone call from Billy Graham last night I don’t know how he did it but he said up there in heaven they don’t have denominations because every one believes like Lutherans.. I schwarmerei you not!!!

  • robert boe

    Just be cause we Lutherans stole the hymn ” just I am with out one plea. ” first …That did not give Billy Graham the right to steal it from us Lutherans .Havent you heard the saying .. Two wrongs don’t make a right? Give it back!!?