Molly Worthen

Molly Worthen is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

Billy Graham’s 95th birthday party last week was a heartwarming event—and a media spectacle. Most accounts of the celebration emphasized the star-studded guest list. Even in his golden years, Graham has not lost his golden touch: an aura of wholesome Christian patriotism that appeals to entertainers looking to transcend showbiz as well as to culture warriors on the make.  The reporters who covered the party provided a window into Graham’s lasting power as a cultural icon, but they largely missed his significance to American Christianity.
November 13, 2013