July 18, 2009
Billy Graham: Cronkite a 'Close Friend'
Evangelist on newsman's death: 'He was an icon'
Upon receiving the news that Walter Cronkite had died on Friday, evangelist Billy Graham released this statement from his home in Montreat, N.C.:
"Walter Cronkite was one of the closest friends I had in journalism. He was an icon. I doubt if anybody will replace him in the hearts and minds of Americans. I respected his views on so many subjects."
"I went to be interviewed by Walter Cronkite for his CBS television news show, recorded for broadcast the following night. He was an amiable host, and we had a great time, sitting together in a room overlooking Times Square. He asked the kind of leading questions I love to answer, about our work, our objectives, the message we preached, and what we had to offer New York.
"The news staff then screened some film clips that they had taken around Times Square and Broadway, and Walter asked me to comment on them. I observed that thousands of frustrated and bewildered people there who were searching for reality, could find it if they would give their lives to Christ."
As for Cronkite's own religious beliefs, here's what Wikipedia says, FWIW:
"Cronkite's family was Protestant and changed their denomination three times while he was a child. Cronkite himself joined the Episcopal church as a youth explaining in a 1994 interview: 'I got into a Boy Scout troop that met in an Episcopal church. The church had a wonderful minister who was also the scoutmaster. And I suppose you can say he proselytized me. At any rate, I was much involved with the church, and became Episcopalian — and an acolyte. Later, when I worked for a paper in Houston, I was church editor for a while. The Episcopal House of Bishops met in Houston one year, and I became intrigued by the leaders of the church — fascinated by their discussions and their erudition.'"