Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) helped introduce Senate Joint Resolution 53 today honoring the Rev. Billy Graham after his passing at age 99.  The resolution passed this afternoon.  Earlier in the day, Sen. Kennedy paid his final respects to the Rev. Graham at the U.S. Capitol.

During his lifetime, the Rev. Graham preached to nearly 215 million people across 185 countries and territories and across six continents.  He provided spiritual counsel to presidents, prayed for our military and fought for racial integration.  His most powerful contribution, however, was boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ to anybody who would listen.  

“The Lord truly blessed us by allowing the Rev. Graham to share his message for nearly a century.  As a young man, I was privileged to hear that message at one of the Rev. Graham’s great crusades in Baton Rouge,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “His message was simple: The only path to eternal salvation is through Jesus Christ.  The Rev. Graham lived out the Gospel message through his actions, his books, television broadcasts and speeches.  In troubled times of war and political unrest, he soothed us with reminders about God’s forgiveness and peace. I have every confidence that our Father will greet Rev. Graham with those cherished words from Matthew that we all long to hear:  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.”

The Senate Joint Resolution honors a remarkable life and extends sympathies to the Rev. Graham’s family.

Sen. Kennedy with the Rev. Billy Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham


Background Information

Senator John Kennedy joined Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Cory Gardener (R-CO), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator David Perdue (R-GA), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).


Honoring the life of William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr. 

Whereas William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr., was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina;

Whereas, in 1939, Reverend Graham was ordained by Peniel Baptist Church in Florida;

Whereas Reverend Graham studied at Florida Bible Institute and graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1943;

Whereas Reverend Graham married his wife of nearly 64 years, Ruth McCue Bell, in 1943;

Whereas Reverend Graham had 3 daughters, 2 sons, 19 grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren;

Whereas, in 1950, Reverend Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina;

Whereas Reverend Graham preached to nearly 215,000,000 individuals in more than 185 countries and territories on 6 continents;

Whereas Reverend Graham provided spiritual counsel for every President since Harry Truman;

Whereas Reverend Graham prayed with members of the Armed Forces in combat zones in South Korea and Vietnam;

Whereas Reverend Graham spoke against the communist Soviet Union, saying, ‘‘Communism has decided against God, against Christ, against the Bible, and against all religion.’’;

Whereas Reverend Graham—

(1) fought for racial integration;

(2) invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach

with him in New York City in 1957; and

(3) bailed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., out of jail

when Dr. King was arrested for protesting segregation;

Whereas, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Reverend Graham spoke words of hope and comfort to the people of the United States at the Washington National Cathedral;

Whereas Reverend Graham authored 34 books, including the bestselling autobiography, ‘‘Just as I Am’’, which began by discussing his early days on a dairy farm in North Carolina and continued through his career as a preacher and evangelist; and

Whereas Reverend Graham received numerous honors, including—

(1) the North Carolina Award for Public Service;

(2) the Presidential Medal of Freedom;

(3) the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award; and

(4) the Congressional Gold Medal: Now, therefore,

be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That Congress—

(1) extends its sympathies to the family of William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr.; and

(2) honors—

(A) the life and ministry of Reverend Graham; and

(B) the contributions of Reverend Graham


(i) the State of North Carolina;

                                   (ii) the United States of America; and

(iii) the moral and religious lives of millions of individuals.