Christians finally have some good news about statues of religious figures. A life-sized statue of Billy Graham will replace one of a white supremacist in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall next year. The news comes as churches and statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and many religious figures are destroyed around the country.
The collection features 100 statues of outstanding US citizens. Each state can place two statues in the collection. A native of North Carolina, Graham was born on a farm near Charlotte. He died in 2018. His statue will stand in the place of a statue of Charles Aycock (1859-1912), a former governor of the Tarheel State. The new statue will portray Graham as he appeared in the 1960s, preaching and holding a Bible in one hand.
The idea of putting a statue of Graham in the Statuary Hall collection is nothing new. Five years ago, former North Carolina state Sen. Dan Soucek had pushed the idea while the evangelist was still living.
“From a Christian religious point of view, Billy Graham is an undeniable worldwide icon,” Soucek said. He cited the six decades Graham placed among the top 10 in Gallup Poll’s list of most-admired people.
Graham’s boyhood home and library, dedicated to his life and ministry, are still one of Charlotte’s biggest tourist attractions. In addition, two state highways are named for him.
Graham’s son Franklin, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, told Religion News Service that his father would have wanted God to get the glory. “My father would be very pleased that people thought of him in this way,” he said. “But he would want people to give God the glory and not himself.”
Partnering with the state, the association is raising the estimated $650,000 for the statue and its installation. No state funding will be used. Once the 10-foot, 10-inch clay statue is completed it will be review by a congressional committee before being cast in bronze.