14 Religion Newsmakers of 2013
Born Again, One Last Time

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Billy Graham

The grand old man of American revivalism preached his final sermon this year. Billy Graham, ailing from Parkinson's let it be known early in 2013 that he was working on his final sermon. In November, on his 95th birthday, he delivered a taped message. The Baptist preacher who once made great waves in American religion with his simple, yet powerful refrain "you must be born again," admitted that he had "wept" as he'd traveled "from city to city" in America and seen "how far people have wandered from God." He warned, "our country's in great need of spiritual awakening."

Graham's final sermon occasioned much discussion of his legacy. Some critics argued son Franklin Graham had taken his father's achievement and squandered much of it on Republican Party politicking. Others noted that while not a civil rights leader, Billy Graham was a racial trailblazer. The Huffington Post reported that Graham had preached "Jesus was not a white man" in 1973 -- to a crowd in apartheid-wracked South Africa.


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