Home Christian News Statue of Billy Graham, ‘America’s Pastor,’ To Be Unveiled May 16 at...

Statue of Billy Graham, ‘America’s Pastor,’ To Be Unveiled May 16 at US Capitol

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Series: Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration, 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001Collection: Photographs of the White House Photograph Office (Clinton Administration), 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

After years of planning, a bronze statue of evangelical leader Billy Graham will be unveiled next week at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. A private dedication ceremony is scheduled for May 16 in the National Statuary Hall.

According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), which shared details with Fox News Digital, speakers at the ceremony will include House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and president of the BGEA. Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith is slated to perform.

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The Rev. Billy Graham, who preached the gospel for 80 years and ministered to a dozen sitting U.S. presidents, died at age 99 in 2018. Lawmakers in North Carolina, his home state, had been trying to expedite the statue process.

Each state is permitted two statues in the Capitol, and honorees must be deceased. Graham’s statue will replace that of former North Carolina Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock, a prominent segregationist in the early 20th century who held white-supremacist beliefs.

Statue of Billy Graham: A ‘Rare Honor’

The 7-foot statue of Billy Graham, created by North Carolina sculptor Chas Fagan, shows the evangelist with an open Bible in his hand. The base is inscribed with John 3:16 and John 14:6. A plaque on the statue that identifies Graham as “Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” is similar to one on his grave.

In a statement, the BGEA called it a “rare honor” for Graham to be represented this way. Franklin Graham said his father would be “humbled and grateful” yet “would not want the attention on himself but on God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He continued: “This isn’t just a statue of my father. It represents the One that he surrendered his life to and the message that he preached for more than 80 years, that God loves us and He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins.”

“What I appreciate most,” said Franklin, “is that this is an opportunity for everyone in future generations who sees the statue to be reminded of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.”

Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., who worked to bring the statue to the Capitol, said, “The legacy of Rev. Billy Graham is based on his simple message of forgiveness based on John 3:16. He was the first private citizen from North Carolina to lie in honor in the United States Capitol, and his likeness should stand in the U.S. Capitol forever.”

Statue of Billy Graham Has an ‘Inviting Mode’

When a clay model of the statue was approved back in 2020, Franklin Graham said, “I like that it’s simple and my father has an open Bible in his hand—that’s what his life was all about.” He added, “I like that they have his eyes recessed. It looks like he’s staring at you, sharing the Bible with his eyes open. The sculptor has done a remarkable job.”