An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, All Members of Congress, and to the leaders of the National Prayer Breakfast
January 31, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20515
All Members of Congress:
National Prayer Breakfast Leaders:
I am writing today, as I would like to share with you the following seven reasons why I (and, I am sure, many other Americans) believe Rev. Billy Graham ought to be honored with a monument on the National Mall just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was recently honored.
Rarely has a man like Billy Graham come along in our nation’s history. Often, such men, are not valued and recognized until they are dead and gone. However, even as he comes close to passing from this life into the next, the American people have a chance to honor a true man of God, statesman and national treasure. Here are the seven reasons why I believe a monument honoring Billy Graham ought to be erected on the National Mall.
1. Because of his humble spirit, Billy Graham would not even want a monument on the National Mall. (I doubt if Dr. King would have wanted a monument on the Mall either.) But, Graham’s humility is a large part of what makes him worthy of this honor. He didn’t set out to gain fame and notoriety, but when he did receive it, he remained humble and used it to benefit the lives of millions of others. As the Bible says in Proverbs 18:12, “Before honor comes humility.” The last thing on earth this old country Gospel preacher wants is to be honored with a monument. I assure you that he could care less if he is even remembered — and that is precisely one of the reasons he ought to be honored in such a way.
2. From the beginning of his ministry, Billy Graham insisted that his crusades be open to people of all races, including blacks, at a time in our nation when white churches did not allow black people to come to their services and did not even want them in their crusades and revival meetings. In fact, when Billy Graham insisted on preaching to an integrated audience in Americus, Georgia, no preachers would accommodate him; it was a peanut farmer by the name of Jimmy Carter who had to find a venue for Graham to preach in.
3. When other white preachers turned their backs on Martin Luther King Jr. and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Billy Graham chose to stand with King during this defining, but difficult time in our nation’s history. Even though Dr. King told Rev. Graham that he should not take a public role in support of Civil Rights (lest he risk losing influence among others), Graham identified with the black community, visited Tuskegee Institute in 1965, and toured the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles with Dr. E.V. Hill shortly after the riots. Many people often overlook the thousands of good white people who prayed for the success of the Civil Rights Movement, who openly and secretly supported the Civil Rights Movement with their money and their resources, as well as those who marched with and suffered with blacks as they stood for justice, fairness, and equality. Billy Graham represents those good white people.
4. Billy Graham has advised, prayed with, and prayed for every President of the United States since Harry S. Truman in 1950. Dwight D. Eisenhower asked for Graham’s advice before sending troops into Little Rock. Lyndon B. Johnson said that Graham’s friendship “helped to sustain a President in an hour of trial.” Ronald Reagan said, “It was through Billy Graham that I found myself praying even more than on a daily basis…and that in the position I held, that my prayers more and more were to give me the wisdom to make decisions that would serve God and be pleasing to Him.” Presidents George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have also testified to the spiritual impact Graham has had on their lives. Graham’s influence in the lives of these men has helped guide them as they handle the affairs of the nation. In fact, George W. Bush came to Jesus Christ through the ministry of Rev. Billy Graham.
5. For over 60 years, Billy Graham has been a voice of truth and morality to the country and the world. According to Gallup, for 57 years, Billy Graham has been named by the American people as one of the country’s top 10 “most admired men.” When Billy Graham speaks, America listens. Recently, serving God from a rocking chair, he won more souls to Christ in his old age and weakened condition than he did at any one of his crusades in the past with over two million people making a decision for Jesus Christ and over ten million people hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins.
6. Billy Graham represents all of the Christians who have made this country great. From its founding, America was influenced by the lives and beliefs of Christians of all colors and from all walks of life. Billy Graham has served the nation greatly by remaining committed to a “big tent” view of faith in God, where everybody is welcome into the family of God who chooses to believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. One would be hard pressed to find a person in American history who could better represent all of the Christians who have ever lived in this country and who have built it to be what it is today than Billy Graham. He needs to be on the National Mall, somewhere, to remind generations to come that this is a nation that truly believes “in God we trust,” and that there was a prophet, evangelist, and international pastor who spent nearly one hundred years reminding people of that God and the Saviour, Jesus Christ — and he could very well be America’s last prophet to come this way.
7. When the country needed a national pastor to offer words of comfort, to pray for her, and to help heal her, the old country preacher from Boone, NC, Billy Graham, was there for her. Shortly after Billy Graham prayed at the National Cathedral, as the nation reeled from the devastating 9/11 attacks, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was formed. The members of this team respond to disaster zones in the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, providing not only physical support, but spiritual support, prayer, and encouragement.
Just as we ought not to forget the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we ought not to forget the life, work, and influence of Rev. Billy Graham. Let’s be clear here: if it had not been for God leading Billy Graham and other good-hearted white people like him who stood with and supported Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, the changes that the Civil Rights Movement brought about in this country would have never happened or would have taken much longer to accomplish. Establishing a memorial on the National Mall is the least we can do to honor this great man on this side of Heaven, who helped hold this fragile, young democracy together. America would do well to remember him, his message, and his work for years to come in this way.
President Obama, it was a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, who signed into law the holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., which we recognize every January. We are asking you to show the same kind of class that Reagan showed and start the process of proposing a monument on the National Mall for Rev. Graham, and if possible to do this before he dies. Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid, would you please join the President in making this happen? It would be a great and meaningful contribution to the city of Washington and a permanent reminder of the influence and legacy of this great man of God for countless years to come. I assure you that the government would not have to pay one penny for this monument because millions of God-fearing Christians and others would contribute to such a monument. And this would not be a recognition of one religion over another or an issue of church and state; it will only show what our money shows and that is that this is a nation that truly believes in the motto, “In God We Trust.”
Thank you for your consideration.
Daniel Whyte III
Gospel Light Society
GLM Omnimedia Group LLC
1169 N. Burleson Blvd; Suite 107-246
Burleson, TX 76028
If you would like to see this vision of honoring Billy Graham become a reality, below are some things you can do to help make it happen.
- Contact President Barack Obama asking him to begin the process of proposing a monument for Billy Graham on the National Mall. Click here to contact the White House online or via mail.
- Contact Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid regarding this proposed monument. Click here to contact Harry Reid’s office online or via mail.
Contact Speaker of the House John Boehner regarding this proposed monument. Click here to contact John Boehner’s office online or via mail.
- Contact your U.S. State Senator or your U.S. Representative regarding this proposed monument.
- Share this open letter via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other social media sites using the sharing buttons beneath this article.
- Re-post this open letter on your own website or blog.
- Share this vision with your church family and begin praying for God’s will to be done.
About Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the national bestselling author of over 34 books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update, the Soul-Winning Motivator broadcast/podcast, the Reasons to Believe broadcast/podcast, and the History of Christianity broadcast/podcast.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion and a Master of Divinity degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica, for over twenty-six years. God has blessed their union with seven children.