Billy Graham Remembers Jesse Helms (1921-2008)
Grahams Remember Jesse Helms (1921-2008)
Former Sen. Jesse Helms, who devoted 30 years in the Senate to championing conservative causes, died Friday morning. He was 86.
"He was very comfortable," said former chief of staff Jimmy Broughton, who added that Helms died of natural causes.
Billy Graham issued this statement from his home in Montreat, N.C. — "Jesse Helms, my friend and long-time senator from my home state of North Carolina, was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.
"In the tradition of Presidents Jefferson, Adams and Monroe — who also passed on July 4th — it is fitting that such a patriot who fought for free markets and free people would die on Independence Day. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, I thank God for the blessings we enjoy, which Senator Helms worked so hard to preserve.
"Over three decades in the United States Congress, Senator Helms was a loyal and effective leader on behalf of our State, with whom I connected during times of national crisis. He was the first person to call me when President Reagan was shot, even before it was reported as news."
Franklin Graham, who is preaching in Timisoara, Romania, issued this statement: "Jesse Helms was a great American. He was a friend, not only to Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, but a personal friend to me. As a life-long resident of North Carolina, I was proud to call him my senator for 30 years. He was greatly loved and will be deeply missed.
“I remember his courageous speech at the first Christian summit on HIV/AIDS, Prescription for Hope, held by Samaritan’s Purse in Washington, D.C., in 2002. Sen. Helms said he was sorry for opposing federal funding and for not doing enough for those suffering.
"Soon after, he used his remaining time in office to push for the largest funding for HIV/AIDS in our government’s history. He was a man of compassion, sincere moral conviction and a strong Christian.
“Although I am currently thousands of miles away in Romania, my heart and prayers are with the Helms family and their loss of a great husband, father and grandfather.”