August 27, 2014
Loading
   
   
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Billy Graham stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial the morning of July 4, 1970, to deliver his message, "The Unfinished Dream," to a crowd estimated between 15,000 and 30,000 people.

Graham was the keynote speaker for Honor America Day’s "nationally televised religious service," according to a Baptist Press story at the time. Total attendance for Honor America Day celebrations near the memorial that day would approach 400,000. Amid the political and emotional chaos of the Vietnam War, Honor America Day was organized to boost the American spirit and "rededicate [Americans] to the responsibilities of America for the unfinished tasks ahead," former President Lyndon B. Johnson said.

The religious service included Graham's message; benedictions by Baptists E.V. Hill and E.L. Harrison and Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen; and music by Kate Smith, the United States Army Band and the CenturyMen, a choir of 100 Southern Baptist men. A parade of flags to the White House concluded the morning's festivities.

The religious service was the first in a series of national, patriotic celebrations that day including activities on the mall between Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, a spectacular fireworks show and various other events featuring such notables as Bob Hope, Glen Campbell, Jack Benny, Dinah Shore and the New Christy Minstrels.

Although reports in preparation for the event stated that police were expecting a peaceful crowd, Graham's message was met with protesters. Young "hippies" dishonored the flag, shouted anti-war obscenities, attempted to disrupt the service and tried to climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Their efforts were unsuccessful; the crowd applauded as the protesters were dispersed by park police.

Graham began by interpreting 1 Peter 2:17 to mean "honor the nation," establishing a tie to the Independence Day celebration. "We're not only here today to honor America,” he declared, “but we're here as citizens to renew our dedication and allegiance to the principles and institutions that made her great."

Graham acknowledged the significance of the monuments surrounding him and the vision represented by Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. "We can listen to no better voices than these men who gave us the dream that has become America," the evangelist said. "These men represent thousands who worked, prayed, suffered and died to give us this nation."

The nation's institutions were "under attack," Graham said, but the goal of the celebration was to prove that Americans still believed in them.

"Let's let the world know today that the majority of us still proudly sing 'My country 'tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty.' America needs to sing again. America needs to celebrate again. America needs to wave the flag again."

Graham commented on accusations against him for "honoring any secular state" by stating, "Jesus said, 'Rend unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. The apostle Paul proudly boasted of being a Roman citizen. The Bible says honor the nation. As a Christian or as a Jew or as an atheist, we have a responsibility that has always stood for liberty, protection and opportunity." Read More
BREAKING NEWS
Platt succeeds Elliff as IMB president
ROCKVILLE, Va. (BP) -- David Platt was elected president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board today (Aug. 27) by board trustees, meeting at the IMB's International Learning Center in Rockville, Va. Read More
David Platt in the news
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- David Platt, newly elected president of the International Mission Board, is no stranger to being in the headlines. Read More
Students take Jesus to Rio's 'Crack-land'
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Locals know it as "Crack-land," a run-down, crime-ridden neighborhood in the heart of Rio where addicts come to get their fix. Many never leave. Crack cocaine is the star attraction, and its victims line Crack-land's streets. They've lost everything to the drug -- jobs, homes, families, hope. Read More
Former addict escapes from Rio's 'Crack-land'
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- After seven years on the streets, Marcelo Gomes* had seen enough. He'd witnessed too many fellow crack addicts brutally murdered at the hands of the drug lords who ruled Rio's favelas (slums). If he didn't do something soon, he might be next. Read More
ANALYSIS: No 'war on women' - examining Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Hobby Lobby dissent
According to Justice Ginsburg, religious liberty ends where a third party enters the equation, or where people are gathered for a purpose other than public worship.
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Within hours of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, politicians and media outlets were accusing conservative justices of fueling the "Republican war on women." The critics predicted a tidal wave of new cases caused by conflicts between workers and employers who hold "religiously grounded objections" to blood transfusions, antidepressants and medicinal products made from pigs. Read More
Ramadan – a time for 'intense' Mideast prayer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Violence erupting in Iraq and Syria as the jihadist group ISIS declares an Islamic state is "annihilating Middle Eastern Christians," the director of Islamic studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said. Read More
Religious freedom urged at Air Force Academy
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- The Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition teamed up with the Family Research Council to deliver a petition with 105,000 signatures to the Air Force Academy seeking the restoration of First Amendment freedoms, particularly religious liberty, to cadets at the Colorado Springs school. Read More
2nd VIEW: Small-town church taps CP's national/international reach
WINNEMUCCA, Nev.(BP) –- A short video is shown each week at First Baptist Church in Winnemucca, Nev., illustrating Southern Baptist work either in Nevada, North America or the world. Read More
First Person
Frank S. Page
CALL TO PRAYER: Interceding for our nation
On the eve of our 238th anniversary as a free country, we must stop and thank God for all He has done for us. Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, calls us to pray for our nation this Independence Day.
Gustavo Suárez
EDITORIAL: La Verdadera Libertad
Hace ya 51 años que mi familia y yo emigramos de mi país natal en busca de libertad política. Aunque yo solo tenía nueve años pude sentir las garras dolorosas de un régimen déspota. Recuerdo, aunque a una edad muy tierna, varias cosas que han impactado mi vida hasta hoy día. Déjame mencionar algunas de estas.

Story Collections
Mideast Monitor
Texas Border
Crisis in Ukraine
The Persecuted Church
SBC Call to Prayer
   
   


 © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.


Southern Baptist Convention