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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Reverend Billy Graham

Aired December 25, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome back to King size Christmas, putting our best shows of the year under the tree all day, all night. And who better on Christmas day than the Reverend Billy Graham? It was honor to have him part of our 20th anniversary celebration back in June.


BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST: Jesus Christ the son of God has answer to every problem that you face.

Jesus said, I am the truth.

God loves you.


KING: Tonight, exclusive, Reverend Billy Graham, spiritual adviser to presidents, religious inspiration to millions. The world's most famous evangelist, and he says he may be on his final crusade. The Reverend Billy Graham for the hour exclusive, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

We always consider it an honor to have Billy Graham grace these cameras. It is his 24th visit to LARRY KING LIVE. We're checking our records. He may hold the record. Is this the final crusade?

GRAHAM: Probably. I haven't -- I won't know until after this is over, because I have been invited to London for a crusade by the churches, and there is a possibility I may go, but I'd say that is a small possibility.

KING: This crusade will take place here in New York, next weekend, the 24th, 25th, 26th at Flushing Meadows Park.

Any reason why New York was chosen as kind of a final one?

GRAHAM: Well, the ministers came down to see me from North Carolina, some of the leaders here, asked me to come and gave me reasons from their point of view why it could be helpful to examine their churches. And also, this word to -- through the media to the country. And my throat, as you can see, is not doing too well. It doesn't hurt; it just is weak.

KING: So you can't speak as long as you normally do? GRAHAM: Oh, yes. I will in a few days, I'm sure.

KING: You'll speak the regular speech.

GRAHAM: Oh, yes. Well, I hold my meetings now to about 35 minutes of speaking. The rest of it is music and people speaking. KING: But you can still do a strong 35 minutes?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think so. I did it in Los Angeles at the Rose Bowl about three or four months -- four or five months ago.

KING: We were looking at the records as to how many people -- you have brought your message to 185 countries, 210 million people.

GRAHAM: I don't know, you keep saying that.

KING: Any country you haven't been to you wanted to go to?

GRAHAM: I wanted to go to Mongolia. I wanted to go to certain countries in Africa. I have been to most of the countries in Africa, when they went by different names. I have been to China three times, to North Korea three times, and I became friends with Kim Il Jong (ph) in North Korea. He asked me to come back and go fishing with him.

I have been with him two or three times, he said I was a member of his family. And ...

KING: How does that make you feel?

GRAHAM: He died. He died before I got back.

KING: The father.

GRAHAM: The father. He was the great leader of -- against the Americans, of course, and for him to hug me and say those things, it gave me an opportunity to do some things for China and for the United States that I've been asked to do, and he received my message, and so the pope, the Vatican, asked me to do the same. I did it for them.

KING: You did diplomatic works for the ...

GRAHAM: Yeah. The only time really I have ever done it.

KING: With the former head of North Korea who passed away? GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: I don't want to be macabre. Nobody lives forever. We've talked about death a lot when you have been with us. This might be your last interview.

GRAHAM: It could be. I'm looking forward to that. I mean, I look forward to this terrifically, but I am looking forward to heaven even more.

KING: You're looking forward to dying?


KING: In other words, if you died tonight, this would be a happy evening?

GRAHAM: But I heard you say that you didn't want to be there.

KING: An old Woody Allen joke. Not afraid of death, just don't want to be there.

GRAHAM: But you're right, if I died right now, I would be very happy.

KING: Why?

GRAHAM: Because I know what's ahead. It's a paradise that we are going to go into, because to be in the presence of God itself will be a paradise. And I have total, total certainty of that from scripture. And I believe the Bible. I believe that I have received Jesus Christ into my heart. I believe that he has covered all of my sins.

And I had an experience where I thought I was dying. I was at the Mayo Clinic about four years ago and having -- I have had three brain operations, and that is my biggest problem now is hydrocephalus, and they were trying to get stents into my brain, and one night I thought, this was it, and during the night I prayed and told the Lord that, please receive me into his presence. And all of a sudden, all of my sins came before me. Everything I had ever done wrong that I had forgotten about years ago came into my mind. And I prayed, Lord, forgive me, may the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse me from all of my sins.

And I had the greatest peace come over me, and that peace has not left me since. And I am very certain that the Lord was ready to receive me at that time -- not because of my good works or because of all the things I have tried to do, but because the Lord had forgiven me.

KING: And do you think he loves the people of 9/11, the people in the planes on 9/11 as much as he loves you?

GRAHAM: Yeah, he does. He does. I can't explain 9/11, except the evil of man. I think that there is a force in the world, a force of evil. There are two great forces, God's force of good and the devil's force of evil, and I believe Satan is alive and he is working, and he is working harder than ever, and we have many mysteries that we don't understand.

KING: Does God love him?

GRAHAM: Does God what?

KING: Satan. Does he love Satan?

GRAHAM: Well, he created him as Lucifer. In the 22nd of Ezekiel, it tells us about it, and he must love him, but the end of Satan is hell. Hell was created for the devil and his angels, or his demons, not for men.

KING: Don't you ever, ever doubt it?

GRAHAM: No. No. I used to. But not since that experience I had that I just told you about. I have no doubts.

KING: You had an experience once standing on a hill, right? A long time ago? How did you find God the first time?

GRAHAM: I was reared in the church, in the Presbyterian Church. And I went faithfully to church, but I didn't get anything out of it. I just sat there, because my parents insisted, of course, that I go. And when I was about 16 or 17, an evangelist came to our town. And he attracted a lot of people, and out of curiosity, I was taken by one of the people who worked for my father on the dairy farm. He took me to the meetings, and I listened to him. He gave an invitation to receive Christ and to change your life, and I responded, and it did change my life. I had a new view of everything.

And then later, on a golf course in Florida, I felt called to preach the gospel. And one night in the full moon and the palm trees around where our school was, I knelt down there alone. And I said, "Lord, I'll do what you want me to do and go where you want me to go," and that was another big spiritual experience for me.

KING: Billy Graham is our guest. His crusade may be the last. He might go to London. He is next weekend here in New York. Lots more ahead. Don't go away.


GRAHAM: First of all, you have to meet God with light! I do not believe that any man, that any man can solve the problems of life without Jesus Christ. There are tremendous marital problems, there are physical problems, there are financial problems, there are problems of sin and habit that cannot be solved outside the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.




GRAHAM: I tell you, the Bible says the harvest is passed, the summer has ended, and we are not saved. What a tragedy it would be if this crusade would end tonight or tomorrow night. What a tragedy it would be, I tell you, if you were not saved! If the harvest would be passed, the summer would end, the day of opportunity would be gone, and you had not given your life to Jesus Christ.


KING: We're back and honored to have Billy Graham as our guest. Let's discuss your health. OK. What's -- we've heard Parkinson's, pelvic and hip fractures, prostate cancer. All true? GRAHAM: Yes. All true. The biggest problem I have is hydrocephalus, which is too much fluid on the brain, and they discovered that about four or five years ago at Mayo's, and they operated to put a stent in, but it didn't go right. And I had to have three -- four operations in the brain.

KING: And where's the prostate cancer? It hasn't spread?

GRAHAM: The prostate cancer is still there.

KING: But it hasn't spread.

GRAHAM: It's giving me difficult...

KING: It is?

GRAHAM: Making it difficult for me.

KING: Did you have surgery?

GRAHAM: No, I decided not to, because they showed me how I could also have medication, and I take medication every day.

KING: Are you in pain?

GRAHAM: No pain. No.

KING: How about having hips replaced?

GRAHAM: Oh, yes. My left hip especially. And I was at the Mayo Clinic when I fell. I was there for a checkup, and I fell, and had a wonderful lady doctor that operated on me at midnight, and then cup was getting better from that, beginning to walk with a walker, and I fell again, and broke my pelvic bone in three places, and that has taken me the longest.

KING: And that doesn't get you to doubt God. You, his emissary, you, his great spokesman, fall?

GRAHAM: No. If I fall badly, he surely would have helped me fall. Because I think that these things that have happened to me are all from God.

KING: God gave you this.

GRAHAM: For example, when I fell and broke my pelvic bone, I was incapacitated, but I had been asked by Ronald Reagan some years ago if I would preach his funeral and conduct his funeral. Well, after I fell and I was incapacitated, he died. I could not physically have done what he asked me to do. And Nancy, of course, knows all of this, and so does his children. But I am so glad that I didn't have that responsibility, because his funeral became such a gigantic experience that I wouldn't have had capabilities to do it, I don't think. But it was a great honor.

KING: Speaking of Nancy, she fell in London, apparently is OK, was released. This is a common problem among the aging. Right?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. It's the worst problem. I don't have to use a walker to walk, but I use it for safety, because if I fell again, that might be the end of me. KING: So that would be ...

GRAHAM: But I want to come to Larry King again more.

KING: You're our biggest viewer, right? You don't miss -- you watch us all the time.

GRAHAM: I watch you every night. That's part of our whole routine at home, is to watch Larry King. We build up to it every night, and we watch it and we pray for you, and we pray for the people. And you have such an extraordinary group of people that you bring here of all extremes.

KING: You watch our children on Sunday night.

GRAHAM: Oh, sure, we'll be watching.

KING: What did you make of the whole Michael Jackson thing?

GRAHAM: Well, I was interested, of course. I don't know all the facts and everything, but I appreciated what the jury did because if the jury had been -- found guilty, it would have caused troubles all over the world, because the jury was largely a white jury. And I was pleased at that. And then last night your interview with Jermaine was tremendous. It really opened up some things for me. I learned some things.

I have heard that he was a very gentle person and a god-fearing man in some ways, and I had never thought of that about Michael Jackson. And I heard that two or three times during this whole period of time.

KING: Are you forgiving of the infirmities of other people?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I am. I mean, I...

KING: Isn't that hard?

GRAHAM: ... try to forgive. I never hold a grudge. In fact, many people say that I never get angry. I don't think I get angry. But maybe I do sometimes, but I keep it. I don't explode to anybody.

KING: Do you feel the same about other faiths?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: Do you feel the same about Judaism, Mormonism?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: Buddhism?

GRAHAM: I love them all, and welcome them all, and love to be with them, and friends with all of them. For example, I just talked to a man in New York City, he was a Mormon.

KING: My father-in-law.

GRAHAM: Your father-in-law. And I've loved the Mormons for years, and yet there is a big divide between the Mormons and some of the other groups. But I have great friends among the Mormons. And the same among the Catholics. Of course, I loved Pope John Paul II and watched the whole process of his suffering, his dying and the tremendous -- my daughter went to represent me ...

KING: I know. You were on with us the night he died.

GRAHAM: That's right. Thank you.

KING: But what about those faiths -- the Mormons and the others that you mentioned -- believe in Christ. They believe they will meet Christ. What about those like the Jews, the Muslims, who don't believe they ...

GRAHAM: That's in God's hands. I can't be the judge.

KING: You don't judge them?


KING: How do you feel...


GRAHAM: ... going to hell and all that.

KING: How do you feel when you see a lot of these strong Christian leaders go on television and say, you are condemned, you will live in hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ, and they are forceful and judgmental?

GRAHAM: Well, they have a right to say that, and they are true to a certain extent, but I don't -- that's not my calling. My calling is to preach the love of God and the forgiveness of God and the fact that he does forgive us. That's what the cross is all about, what the resurrection is all about, that's the gospel.

And you can get off on all kinds of different side trends, and in my earlier ministry, I did the same, but as I got older, I guess I became more mellow and more forgiving and more loving. And the Jerry Falwells and people like that, I love them, I thank God for their ministry, he has a great university and two or three of my grandchildren have gone there, they have had a tremendous change in their lives for being there, and some of the other people are the same way, but at the other end of the extreme.

Ron (INAUDIBLE) here in New York years ago, preached against me, or spoke against me. I loved him with all my heard. I went to see him, and all these people.

KING: We'll be back with the extraordinary Reverend Billy Graham right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRAHAM: But Jesus made this astounding claim. Jesus said: I am the truth. Jesus said, I am the truth! I am the embodiment of all truth. And if you're going to get to heaven, you've got to believe that.



KING: You've been married to Ruth, Billy Graham, for 61 years. How is her health?

GRAHAM: Her health is not very good. She's an invalid. She can get up a couple times a week and go to her hairdresser and for she is -- the woman that she is, she is a strong woman. I don't think I could have ever married anybody that would have been more helpful to my work and ministry than she has been and she is still is very bright. We have wonderful conversations. We have a time of prayer every night and Bible reading and we watch Larry King.

KING: With all of your travels, did she raise the children?

GRAHAM: Mostly. It's been exaggerated. I haven't been away from home as much as some people have said. I was away from home 50, maybe 60 percent of the time and that's quite a lot but somebody said it was 90 percent but it hasn't been that much.

KING: Would you want to go before her?

GRAHAM: Well, I'd like to see us hold hands and go together because I love her so much. And I love her more now -- interestingly, I love her more now, and we have more romance now than we did when we were young. We both agree to that, and...

KING: You have romance?

GRAHAM: Yes, we can look each other through the eyes. We don't have the physical love, but we have eye contact that tells you I love you and there is not a single day, not a single night after "Larry King" that I don't say "I love you" and I love her with all my heart. But there's two bedroom. I have one. There's a bathroom in between. So I go around to my room. She has a nurse that takes care of her, and I have one too, and -- I have had. I have a nurse now with me in New York to try to keep my on track with my medications.

KING: Have you ever Billy, been tempted? By that -- I remember once you told me you would never permit yourself to be in a room with another woman with the door closed.

GRAHAM: That's right. That is correct.

KING: Any room, office, any room. Anywhere.

GRAHAM: Except the nurse now. KING: Except the nurse, of course. Have you ever been tempted? GRAHAM: No - I have, I'm sure, but I can't remember it because I believe that there is no temptation taking you but such is of God, that he allows you to be tempted, but you are able to overcome it with the help of the Lord. And I think that's been true. I've never been tempted to the point that I would do something wrong. I can't remember that. I have been -- love to see a beautiful woman like every young or middle-aged man. Not as an old man so much. I like to see the beauty, the inner beauty of people, but the other beauty is something of the past.

KING: You've see so many changes in a life well-lived. One of the biggest must have been the change of the church and the black.

GRAHAM: Television.

KING: The American black -- television -- I mean black person. Your church. Other churches.

GRAHAM: Oh, it's wonderful. I grew up -- and I just finished reading Jimmy Carter's new book and -- about his experiences in the South. Mine was similar, as a boy. I am older than he is. We're good friends, but he grew up in a situation in which he describes very vividly, how he felt and what the situation was with the black people. I did the same.

My father had a very had a dairy farm. He employed three black families and one white family and I used to play with black children. I used to eat in their homes and then when I got to be 13, 14, maybe a little bit younger, I began to see that they were different than me and then I went on, after college, I went to school in Illinois and we had black students, or African-American students, and I got acquainted with them.

I became friends and when I started doing my ministry in the South it was still segregated in a few cities and when we went to Chattanooga for a crusade, the Lord spoke to me and I went down and I took the barriers down and insisted that they be non-segregated, they be integrated. And that was a big stepping stone.

KING: Why was the church so late?

GRAHAM: I think sin. I mean, I think it is a sin to look at another person as inferior to yourself because of race or because of ethnic background and I think the greatest thing to do is to pray that God will give you love for them and I do. As we came into today I looked at all the different colors and I thought, What a wonderful place to minister, New York City, with all these thousands of people of different colors and different backgrounds. It's a marvelous place.

KING: A melting pot.

GRAHAM: A melting pot. I hope we all melt together.

KING: My guest is the Reverend Billy Graham. The crusade in New York is the 24th, 25th, 26th at Flushing Meadows Park. As always, it is free. You just come and listen to the man. We'll be right back.


GRAHAM: And if you're a black man, they'll call you sometimes, an Uncle Tom, or they'll say that you've fallen for the white man's religion. Don't let anybody kid you about that. Jesus was born in that part of the world and reared in that part of the world that touches Africa, Europe, and Asia. Jesus did not have white skin like mine, nor did he have black skin like some of you. Jesus belonged to all the people. He had a brown skin.




GRAHAM: Have you been changed into a new and different person? Have something happened here that changed your relationships with your family, with your friends, with your community, with your school? Jesus said there are two roads in life. One is the broad road that leads to destruction and judgement and hell, the other is a narrow road that leads to heaven and paradise.


KING: Our guest is Reverend Billy Graham. You have always marched to your own drummer. Is organized religion, do you think, a force of division or inclusion?

GRAHAM: Both, I think that it's both. It brings people together around one faith around they're (INAUDIBLE), Nigerian creed -- not the Nigerian, I'm getting mixed up. But it's a creed thing that we all believe in and follow from different, different religious groups -- the Nicene Creed is what I am trying to say.

KING: But there is not inclusion, there is the opposite right.

GRAHAM: There is the opposite of course. We have extremes, as you know. And some of the groups that have been called extreme, the Pentecostal, are having a tremendous influence in places like South America and parts of Africa and in this country. Churches that tend in that direction are growing by leaps and grounds ...

KING: Do you respect them too? Do you respect the Pentecostals?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I have many of them as friends -- you know, one of the problems I am facing with old age, I can't get out and be with people. I can't go to conferences. I can't mix with some of these clergy that I used to know so well. Most of my best friends are already gone.

I made one mistake as I grew up, I made friends with older people too much and they are gone. So I should have made more friends with young people and young clergy and very many people.

KING: It's hard when friends go.

GRAHAM: I had a man interview me yesterday from one of the big news organizations and I had made friends with him about 30 or 40 years ago. He's an older man retired, he's retiring, but he is writing a story. And I thought to myself I wish I that I had made friends like that, kind of young like Larry King.

KING: The current president says you're the one who changed his life. That your ministry took him from being an alcoholic, to nearly losing his marriage, to being a man of faith. How does that make you feel?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, he says that. I don't say that. I never comment on his religious faith. I think he is a religious man. I think his father his, I think his mother is, his wife is, and I haven't seen him...

KING: Does it make you feel good when you hear that said?

GRAHAM: I feel good that he changed, but I'm not sure that it was my influence. He had a lot of influences around him, I'm sure. KING: Have you ever disliked a president?


KING: You really liked -- I know you liked Jimmy Carter. I know you liked Ronald Reagan a great deal and you liked President Clinton.

GRAHAM: I liked President Clinton. I have talked to him on the phone not long ago. When he -- I just played golf with President ...

KING: Bush.

GRAHAM: Bush. And I called him and he said, hello. He's so warm. He sent me two or three copies of his book. Autographed to me. We have been wonderful friends. I don't always agree with him. And I don't agree with any president, Republican or Democrat on some things. But I love them as persons. And the responsibility those people have is so overwhelming that I don't know why anybody wants to be president.

KING: With all you've learned, ever regret anything about the friendship with President Nixon?

GRAHAM: Well, I wish I hadn't talked politics with him so much and world affairs. We spent -- I spend hours and hours with him. We played at least 100 games of golf before he ever became president. And I met him through him his mother in California. And when in California I preached to his mother's funeral as a fact.

KING: Really, because he was a ...

GRAHAM: He was ...

KING: Quaker. GRAHAM: Quaker. And it was a Quaker service. I had -- if I remember correctly, some people just sat in a room, maybe about 60 to 70 people there.

KING: They're against all war.

GRAHAM: They're against all war. And I think in a way he probably was.

I think -- I remember when he became that he was elected president that day he asked me to come and be with the family. And I told him, no, I didn't want to be that political, no matter whether he won or lost. I said, well, if you lose I'll come over and have prayer with you.

Well, he won, and about nine o'clock in the morning Baby Ribosa (ph) called me and he said, Mr. Nixon wants you to come over and have prayer with the family, so I did. I went over and had prayer with the family.

But he called me aside and he said, you know, Billy, the biggest problem I face is we have got to get out of Vietnam. And he said something else. He said Johnson has just stopped the bombing and we'd have won the war if we had continued. I didn't respond to that, because I didn't know the facts.

KING: You got to be friendly with President Kennedy too.

GRAHAM: Yes. Before he was elected president, or shortly thereafter, he was in Florida and his father called through a secretary to ask if I would come down and play golf with the president -- or the president-elect. So of course I was honored to go.

And when I got to the house, I drove my car out to his house, his father's house in Palm Beach. And the father, Joe Kennedy, was at the pool and the president was changing clothes, the president-elect. And he yelled out and me, and he said, Dr. Graham, he said, my father wants to talk to you. Go out to the pool and see him and I'll be down a little bit later.

So I mean, I had read about Joe Kennedy and heard about him and I had a very pleasant conversation. And he said that he was in Germany. He was in -- I forget what city and there were big signs about all meetings (ph) here I was, I had gone there, of course, several times. And he said that he was with the president in Notre Dame. And he said they went out to see it and they were amazed at what they saw.

And a little bit later he said that he saw the pope and he told the pope about...

KING: Your crusade.

GRAHAM: About my crusade. And this is Pope Pious, I suppose. And the pope said I wish we had a lot of Billy Grahams.

And then after that he told me, he said, that's the reason I asked, because at that time there had been a division. Norman Vincent Piel had said something here in New York that had caused some problems... KING: Protestants should not vote for a Catholic.

GRAHAM: And so I went out played golf with him. And that's the first time I ever heard that Vietnam was a problem.

KING: Really?

GRAHAM: Because in the locker room.

KING: Hold on a second.

We'll be back with Billy Graham. Don't go away.


GRAHAM: God of all comfort, in the silence of this hour, we ask thee to sustain this family and these loved ones and to deliver them from loneliness, despair and doubt. Fill their desolate hearts with thy peace. And may this be a moment of redication to thee.




GRAHAM: I'm glad to tell you tonight that Jesus Christ, the son of God, has an answer to every problem that you face. Jesus Christ the son of Gad has an answer to every burden that you carry. He can forgive every sin, break any coil and rope and chain of habit that may be binding you at this moment and stop any lashing conscience that may be bothering you because of your sins.


KING: We're back with Reverend Billy Graham. Is Franklin your successor?

GRAHAM: Well, he is as far as administering our ministry is concerned. And he also is holding meetings. He just had a tremendous crusade in Angola. And now he is India. He'll be here by next week some time.

KING: What about your daughter?

GRAHAM: Anne? Oh, she's terrific. All of my daughters are terrific.

KING: But two preach, right?. Franklin preaches and Anne ...

GRAHAM: Franklin -- well, Anne doesn't so much preach, she teaches the Bible.

KING: But -- your Franklin once said, he was very critical of Islam. He called it evil and wicked. How did you react to that? GRAHAM: Well, he has my views and I have mine. And they are different sometimes. I told him from the very beginning that there would be times when he would have to take his own positions. But he doesn't hold that position now. I think he said it off the cuff somewhere some years ago.

KING: After 9/11?

GRAHAM: I think so.

KING: With the anger? And do you regret that moment with Richard Nixon when apparently an anti-Jewish statement was made by him?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I told the Jewish leaders in Cincinnati that I had crawled (ph) -- I'd crawl to them and ask for forgiveness. And I would have. Because I just can't imagine -- I never held those views. I don't know what got into me. I guess it was just during the conversation as a young man I just said something I shouldn't have said, that I didn't believe.

KING: What do you make of the Christian conservatives involvement in politics?

GRAHAM: I think they have every right to be involved. I'm trying to stay out of politics. And I have been queried quite a bit lately, why I don't take stands on certain issues. I just feel that my issue is the Gospel of Christ, that God loves you and that God is willing to forgive you. Put your trust in him. And I think that's my message. And if I get off on these other things it divides the audience.

I am writing a book right now that will summarize all of my preaching and teaching through the years. I'm calling it "My Journey." I have just about finished it with the help of one of my associates. And I hope it'll be something that will touch people and bless people.

KING: An autobiography or a ...

GRAHAM: No, it's a spiritual biography. My own biography from why do I believe in God. What are the reasons even believe there is a God. And that God is from everlasting and everlasting. What was before God? Who created God? Who made God? Those questions I try to answer.

I don't have the answers of course. But I try to show people that there is no answer to certain things and there is no end to God. I can't understand that.

KING: Maybe not to this universe, right?

GRAHAM: Right. Well, the problem now is that we have discovered through the, not only the Hubble, but the Spitzer telescopes, new galaxies. And they now thing that there is 100 billion galaxies. KING: And do you still think all that is one God? GRAHAM: Yes. I do. And Dr. Townes (ph) of Berkeley who is a great astronomist and physicist who was here at Cornell for some years, he said that there is no way you can explain it except there was a beginning somewhere with someone. And he said you have to come to the point that there must be a God. And that to me was quite a statement coming from him, because he had won the Noble Peace for ...

KING: Physics.

GRAHAM: Physics.

KING: Back with more of Reverend Billy Graham on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Shania Twain tomorrow night. Saturday night Bob Costas will interview Vanessa Redgrave and Sunday night, Father's Day night, you'll meet the King kids. We'll be right back.



GRAHAM: Just bow your head and say yes to Christ right now. Right beside your television set. Maybe your whole family will kneel down and pray with you.

Now, revival has to do with the Christians. The Christians of America need to be revived.

It's Christ who died on the cross, who rose again, who's coming again, that offers you salvation free.

And I read somewhere that what young people want and need from older people is first they want to be loved. God loves you. God loves every one of you.


KING: This could be his last crusade. It's in New York next weekend, 24th, 25th, 26th at Flushing Meadows Park. A possibility of doing another one in London. This might be his last interview on a personal base. I hope it's not, because we all love having him with us, but he says it's like it to be, because he is ready to go up.

When you go up, there will be no pain, nothing, huh?

GRAHAM: No, well, there may be pain, of course ...

KING: I mean in heaven, no pain once you're there.

GRAHAM: No pain in heaven. No tears, and everything will just be God. Now, that I can only imagine.

KING: So some of the social issues of the day. How do you react to gay marriage?

GRAHAM: Of course I believe marriage is for one man and one woman.

KING: Do you believe in gays having a civil union?

GRAHAM: I don't think so. I'm not talking about those things much.

KING: You're not -- you don't think gay people are lesser, though?

GRAHAM: Oh, no. They are created in the image of God, and God loves them. Christ died for them, and he can forgive them of whatever.

But you know, we make so much of homosexuality, but it's just one of many sins. There is pride, lust, greed, all these things from (INAUDIBLE) through history of people that have lived terrible lives, and those are the things that are the symptoms of a deeper problem. Man has a disease that started in the Garden of Eden when man rebelled against God. And that was the beginning of a disease that we all have down to our generation.

KING: But do you think -- you don't think homosexuality -- or do you think it's a choice?

GRAHAM: Well, that's a big debate.

KING: But if it's not a choice, it can't be a sin. Right?

GRAHAM: Well, maybe. God will make that judgment, not me. I'm not deciding who's a sinner and who is not.

KING: How about abortion?

GRAHAM: Same thing.

KING: Against it totally?

GRAHAM: Yes. But I'm not getting involved in it.

KING: So you believe it's the taking of a life?

GRAHAM: Yes, I do.

KING: But to protect the life of a mother you would permit it, right? I think you said that.

GRAHAM: Oh, yes.

KING: Yeah.

GRAHAM: Of course.

KING: What worries you the most? GRAHAM: Poverty in the world.

KING: And you've seen it. GRAHAM: I've seen it, but I've also tried to do a little bit about it. We've raised about $8 or $9 million to give to the tsunami area out in Southeast Asia. My son raised an equal amount in his organization, and we have tried to do those -- prepare these little dents. We can't do much. We try to help in Africa, in Asia especially, and here in the United States. We try to do what we can to help in that problem, and I am so glad that the president has decided to give so much money to the people in need in Africa.

KING: When you see a tsunami, that doesn't cause you to question God, either?

GRAHAM: No, but I ask why. But I don't know why.

KING: But you don't get an answer.


KING: But you don't question his...

GRAHAM: I believe that God is in control. In some mysterious way that I don't understand, God allows it. I don't think he sends a tsunami or a hurricane or a tornado. I think that he allows it.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Reverend Billy Graham. Don't go away.


KING: Without being maudlin, how do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about Billy Graham?

GRAHAM: That he was faithful to the gospel, and also I have a terrific staff of people that help me in organizing these -- or helping organize these crusades, and helping me with all of my work. And I want to say that I owe them a tremendous debt through the years, and many of them have gone on now. But some are still with me.

KING: Don't you feel your own importance in the world?


KING: You do not?

GRAHAM: No. I think that's the reason the Lord let me get sick quite often. Because he knocked me down to teach me about my own mortality.

KING: But you know you have changed lives.

GRAHAM: I know the gospel has. I don't think I can change anybody's life. KING: You think you're just a messenger?

GRAHAM: It's the message.

KING: You know or think -- do you wonder why you were chosen? GRAHAM: Yes. And I'll ask the Lord the first thing when I get to heaven. Why me? Why was I allowed to go all over the world and preach the gospel? I didn't have any talents nor abilities. I was a farm boy. All I had was a college degree, and I didn't go any further. I wish I had. But I wish -- one of my great wishes is that I had gotten more education.

KING: Would you say you are happy?

GRAHAM: I'm happy.

KING: I'm happy to know you.

GRAHAM: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Reverend Billy Graham


KING: Reverend Billy Graham on Christmas. Not much to say except happy holidays, and stay tuned for more of our King size Christmas.