| Inset: Anthony Correia /

A statue honoring Billy Graham at the US Capitol is set to be unveiled on May 16th, memorializing the evangelical juggernaut’s work in civil rights and counsel with 12 US presidents. The statue was first approved by a bill in 2015 by the North Carolina General Assembly, Graham’s home state. “There have been many great North Carolinians, but few have impacted the world more than Billy Graham,” read the bill. The statue will be placed in the National Statuary Hall, which permits each of the 50 states to have two of its notable citizens represented. Graham’s statue will replace Gov. Charles Aycock, a Democrat governor lauded for his education advocacy but also criticized for his ties to white supremacy. The Hall is meant for posthumous statues. Graham died in 2018 at the age of 99.

The bronzed statue is 7 feet tall and was created by Charlotte-based artist Chas Fagan. It features Graham pointing to an open Bible. The statue’s granite base will be inscribed with John 3:16 and John 14:6. John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” and is also etched into Graham’s gravestone marker at Billy Graham Library according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). “The legacy of Rev. Billy Graham is based on his simple message of forgiveness based on John 3:16. His lifelong commitment to preaching the Gospel, his fight for civil rights, his opposition to communism, and his spiritual guidance provided hope to hundreds of millions. His likeness should stand in the U.S. Capitol forever,” said Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) who was part of the bipartisan effort to approve the statue.

Prominent figures such as Christian singer Michael W. Smith and House Speaker Mike Johnson will attend the ceremony to install the statue. Graham is perhaps one of the best-known evangelists in the last century, with his ministry spanning 8 decades, preaching in person to over 210 million people worldwide. Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA, will also share remarks on his father’s legacy. “This is a great honor, and my father would be humbled and grateful,” he said of the statue. “At the same time, he would not want the attention on himself but on God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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