Religion & Liberty Online

6 Quotes: Billy Graham on patriotism and freedom


Today is the hundredth anniversary of the birthday of Billy Graham. Although he travelled the world as “God’s Ambassador,” the humble evangelist from North Carolina had a special affection for his own country.

In honor of his birthday, here are six quotes by Graham on freedom and love of country:

On the sacrifices of veterans: “The freedoms we enjoy, the freedoms we take so much for granted, the freedoms we so often trifle with were bought not by the gold of our millionaires, nor altogether the genius of our scientists, nor the sacrifices of the people at home, but primarily by the blood, sweat and agony of those whose names on this [Memorial Day] we honor—those who died that we might live!”

On honoring the nation: “The Bible says: Honor the nation. As a Christian, or as a Jew, or as an atheist, we have a responsibility to an America that has always stood for liberty, protection and opportunity.”

On commitment to American ideals: “Today, I call upon Americans to raise your voices in prayer and dedication to God and in recommitment to the ideals and dreams upon which our country was founded. Let’s dedicate ourselves to a renewal of faith in God, equality, justice and peace for all. Let’s dedicate ourselves to building rather than burning.”

On putting patriotism in its proper place: “The Bible tells us God has a standard for men and nations and that His standard must be met. It is right and proper to honor our country, to rejoice in her liberties and to sing her praise. But this can be abused when we make it a substitute for God. We honor America but we do not worship her.”

On humility and patriotism: “We have stood tall in America in most areas, but on this Independence Day I call upon Americans to bend low before God and go to their knees as Washington and Lincoln called us to our knees many years ago. No nation is ever taller than when on its knees. I submit that we can best honor America by rededicating ourselves to God and the American dream.”

On the ultimate freedom: “Freedom in Christ is the ultimate freedom to be celebrated not only on special days, but all year around.”


Image source: Billy Graham Library

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).