McCain makes mountaintop journey to visit Billy Graham
MONTREAT, N.C. – Billy Graham is as close to a religious icon in American politics as anyone, so it’s no surprise that a U.S. presidential candidate would seek his blessing.
On Sunday Republican John McCain did just that, essentially, traveling to the ailing evangelist’s mountaintop home to meet and pray with him and son Franklin, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“They’re great leaders in this nation and I appreciate the opportunity to visit with them and I am very grateful for the time they spent with me,” McCain said after their meeting.
The Arizona senator had requested the appointment.
“They’ve known my family, they’ve known of me for many years,” he said, adding the elder Graham recalled meeting and praying with McCain’s parents while their son was held captive in Vietnam.
Franklin Graham issued a statement that highlighted what he had in common with McCain: sons serving in the military and a shared interest in aviation.
But he did not offer an endorsement.
“I was impressed by his personal faith and his moral clarity on important social issues facing America today,” Graham said of McCain.
“I encourage people to vote for the candidate at every level who best represents their values and convictions, and then to pray for those in authority over us as required in Scripture.”
McCain, who attends a Baptist church in Phoenix but is often circumspect about his faith when asked about it on the campaign trail, said he had not sought the pair’s political backing.
“Oh, I didn’t ask for their vote,” he said.
Photo: Reuters/Chris Keane - Evangelist Billy Graham (L) walks with his son Franklin Graham before the Billy Graham Library Dedication in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 31, 2007.