- (Twitter/Pat McCrory)
Billy Graham, the famous preacher and evangelist, has been honored by North Carolina lawmakers with the title of "Favorite Son" of the state.
North Carolina's House and Senate each approved resolutions Wednesday that honored both the 94-year-old Graham and his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham.
"The Senate honors the memory of Ruth Bell Graham, who made significant contributions to our State and nation through her partnership with her husband in marriage and ministry," reads the Senate version.
"The Senate honors and names Billy Graham as North Carolina's Favorite Son … The Senate requests the Governor to set a day to recognize and honor Billy Graham as North Carolina's Favorite Son."
Will Graham, Billy Graham's grandson and vice president for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, told The Christian Post that his family was "deeply honored."
"This is an extremely kind gesture on their part to honor my grandfather. We love the state of North Carolina. It's where my grandfather was born and raised, where he and my grandmother raised their family, and where his ministry is now located," said Will Graham.
"Again, we're just very humbled and grateful for the kind gesture, and appreciative of the support from the state of North Carolina."
Will Graham also told CP that while he was not in attendance for the resolution's passing, other members of the Graham family were present.
"My father, Franklin Graham, and my aunt, Anne Graham Lotz, were there to represent my grandfather. A few other family members were present as well," said Graham.
Introduced by North Carolina State Senator Dan Soucek, Senate Resolution 196 passed unanimously with a vote 48 yeas to zero nays.
It was filed on March 5, passed first reading and sent to committee the following day. In April it was withdrawn from the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee and re-referred to the Committee on Education and Higher Education before coming to a vote.
Among the accolades listed in the many whereas sections, included that Billy Graham "has preached to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories," "has received numerous awards and honorary degrees," and "has counseled 12 Presidents beginning with President Harry S. Truman through President Barack Obama."
"Billy Graham, having served in all the aforementioned ways for more than 70 years in our State, our country, and throughout the world, is proud to call himself a Tar Heel and to make North Carolina his home," reads another section.
Both chambers passed the two-and-a-half page resolution, each vote being preceded by many testimonies by elected officials about how Rev. Graham's ministry touched their lives.