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Can a Billy Graham crusade restore one's faith? That is what Kevin Murray and his girlfriend from New Hyde Park, Long Island, wanted to know on Saturday night. "I have lost a lot of faith," Murray said as he waited for Graham to appear. "I am Catholic. When my girlfriend and I talk, we ask ourselves, How could the priests not have known about the child abuse scandals? I don't go to church anymore."

Murray is like a lot of folks I interviewed this past weekend in New York. They had heard of Billy Graham and decided to check him out as a last pit stop before they lost hope.

President Bill Clinton also came to the crusade that night to tell what Billy Graham has meant to him. Clinton told the audience that he had visited several Graham crusades, starting 46 years ago. As a 9-year old boy, he was impressed with Graham's insistence on preaching to an integrated audience in Arkansas right in the midst of a bitter fight over school desegregation. "I'll never forget it. I've loved him ever since," the former President said. "He's about the only person I know who I've never seen fail to live his faith." Clinton asked his wife, Hillary, to attend the crusade with him. From South America, he faxed his wife (in South Africa at the time), urging her to return to see Graham. Arriving at the crusade, the former President declared, "I want to tell you what an honor it is to be here as a person of faith with a man I love."

On this greatest stage in the world, New York City, Billy Graham demonstrated that he is still a man of singular importance in bearing Jesus Christ's message of love and hope. Hobbled by multiple illnesses, the 86-year-old Graham seemed to gather strength as his three day crusade in the 1964 World's Fair grounds in Flushing ...

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June 2005

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