The Rev. Billy Graham gave a widely watched speech at a 1970 Independence Day event held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., titled “Honor America Day.”
The ceremony featured celebrities like Bob Hope and Glen Campbell, and had a reported attendance of approximately 400,000 people.
During his speech, which was also broadcast to over 100 countries, Graham explained why he, as a Christian pastor, wanted to observe a country with a secular government.
“America has opened her heart and her doors to the distressed and persecuted of the world. America has been the most generous nation in history. We have shared our wealth and our faith with a world in need,” said Graham.
“America has never hidden her problems and faults. With our freedom of the press and open communication system we do not sweep our sins under the rug. America defends the right of her citizens to dissent. Dissent is the hallmark of our priceless freedoms.”
Graham went on to state that while the United States was “vastly different” compared to when it was founded, “God has not changed and His laws have not changed.”
“He is still a God of love and mercy. But He is also a God of righteousness and judgment. Any individual or nation, which ignores His moral and spiritual laws, will ultimately face His judgment,” he continued.