That’s Billy, Billy Graham

billy grahamSomehow I missed the odd reference to some guy named “Bill Graham” in The New York Times article on Obama’s desire to expand the role of religious groups in combating the nation’s social problems. Thankfully, the blog Between Two Worlds picked up the reference:

While evangelical voters, a sizable minority, generally vote strongly Republican, Mr. McCain has had a shaky relationship with the group. He met Sunday with one of the country’s best-known evangelicals, Bill Graham, and his son, Franklin, for what was described as an “excellent conversation” but secured no endorsement.

Between Two Worlds also notes that presumed Republican Presidential candidate John McCain recently referred to the evangelist as “Bill Graham,” which may be where the NYT picked up the reference.

I am aware that The New York Times prefers to address individuals by their full names. But while William Franklin Graham Jr., Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, is the preacher’s full name and title, who is doesn’t know that he is most commonly known as simply “Billy Graham?” I can’t tell if this is a case of a reporter’s (or editor’s) ignorance or simply a typo that could be blamed on McCain. Perhaps Billy Graham is known by those closer to him as “Bill?”

Photo of Billy Graham in April 1966 used under a Wikimedia Commons license.

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  • FW Ken

    Would that not be The Reverend Doctor William Franklin Graham Jr., Knight Commander etc.?

  • Irenaeus

    “one of the country’s best-known evangelicals, Bill Graham”

    How ironic. Also thus makes one wonder if the reporter knows anything about the country.

  • FrGregACCA

    Perhaps Billy Graham is known by those closer to him as “Bill?”

    Close family IIRC an interview with a grandson published some time ago in the local paper: said grandson apparently had grown up knowing Dr. Graham as “Daddy Bill”. However, I rather doubt that anyone at the New York Times – or John McCain, for that matter – is part of the Grahams’ inner family circle.

  • Jerry

    Rather than ask about the use of Bill versus Billy and the prior gossip column post, wouldn’t a focus on how the media is handling the religious streams that were part of the US’s history be a fit subject to comment on for July 4th? Or if those stories are few and far between, how about commenting on that lack instead?

  • dpulliam

    Have any links to share Jerry?

  • Jerry

    I wish I had some good links. The ghost may be in the lack of links.

  • Jimmy Mac

    Bill Graham founded a performing arts auditorium in San Francisco in the 1960s and hosted sucn luminaries as Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, etc.

  • Joel

    Thank you, Jimmy! I was hoping I wasn’t the only person who thought of that immediately!