Let’s agree that the seeds that were planted during this meeting with produce great fruit in the life of our President.
MONTREAT, N.C. — President Obama arrived at Rev. Billy Graham’s mountaintop log cabin Sunday afternoon, making a brief visit to the 91-year-old evangelist who has been a spiritual adviser to presidents for seven decades.
The pair met for about a half-hour as Obama ended a brief vacation in nearby Asheville, and prepared to depart for a somber memorial service in West Virginia on behalf of 29 miners who died when an explosion rocked their coal mine.
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said it was the first face-to-face meeting between the president and Graham, who has been in ailing health recently. Burton said the two tried to meet the last time Obama was in Asheville, in October 2008, but that the schedule didn’t work for Graham then.
“Rev. Graham has obviously been an important spiritual leader to past presidents,” Burton told reporters, who waited in a van while the brief meeting was underway. “He’s a real treasure to our country, and the president appreciates the opportunity to visit him at his home.”
Burton said that Graham has “some of the creaks that come with advancing age,” but added that “he’s still as sharp as he ever was.”
After the meeting, Burton issued the following statement: “The President had a private prayer and conversation with Rev. Graham. He is extraordinarily gratified that he took the time to meet with him.”
Just last week, Graham’s son, Franklin, who is also an evangelist, was disinvited by the Army to speak at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer on May 6 because of comments Graham made about Islam.
Graham, who had been scheduled to speak at the event, had said that Islam offends him and that he wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins.