(Transcribed by Journal Graphics, Inc. Denver, CO. (303) 831-9000)
Rev. Graham chose to waffle on the #1 issue in the U.S. during the late 20th century and beyond
JOAN LUNDEN: Evangelist Billy Graham has traveled the world for nearly half a century brining his Christian Crusades to dozens of countries on every continent. This summer Dr. Graham made his fifth trip to the Soviet Union, where he preached in Moscow and met with Soviet leaders shortly before the coup. His latest book is call Hope for the Troubled Heart. And Dr. Graham joins us this morning. Nice to have you here.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Thank you. Joan, it's wonderful to be here where I can see you.. When I was in Moscow and you interviewed me—
JOAN LUNDEN: That's right, that's when we last spoke.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: —I couldn't see you.
JOAN LUNDEN: And it was just a couple of weeks after that—
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: About 20 days before the—
JOAN LUNDEN: —that everything in 10 days—
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: —coup
JOAN LUNDEN: Did— now, you spoke with both Yeltsin and Gorbachev, I believe.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Yes I spent about 40 minutes with Mr. Gorbachev and an hour and a quarter with Yeltsin.
JOAN LUNDEN: Was there anything in the air? Did you get a sense that something was about to happen?
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Yes, because we had 5,000 clergy at the University of Moscow that I was lecturing to, and we were training, and there was something in the air, but we didn't know what and neither did they. But here was a lot of discontent.
JOAN LUNDEN: So it wasn't a total surprise to them when something happened. Is— are you heartened, through, by this new religious freedom that we're seeing there?
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Greatly heartened by that. I'm a little disturbed about Yeltsin's apparent illness—
JOAN LUNDEN: Yes.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: —because that would be a big loss.
JOAN LUNDEN: In your new book, you know, you talk about perseverance, and that's certainly something that we see throughout the years there and in the Soviet Union, trying to persevere and find their own religious freedom. But also talk about a kind of perseverance about something that affects so many people today, and that's a kind of loneliness.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: That's right. You know, that's the number—one problem, psychologists tell us. And the polls tell us the number—one psychological problem in America is loneliness. Right here in New York City, people live side by side and don't even know each other. And they're lonely, and they never had the handclasp of a friend, they never have a smile from a friend. And one person said the other night, said, "If I just had one friend. I would be happy."
JOAN LUNDEN: And you also talk, though, about how people within a marriage fall in the this loneliness.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Within a marriage, that's right, in the very intimacy of marriage, they can be very lonely.
JOAN LUNDEN: I think people are also so troubled by what they see in the world today—
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: That's right.
JOAN LUNDEN: —and a breakdown, and they seem to be seeking to fill some kind of a void that maybe used to be filled by family and family life.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: But there's another kind of loneliness. We're made in the image of God, we were made for fellowship with God, and we call that a cosmic loneliness that people have. You can be in the midst of a party and have a lot of friends around you, and all of a sudden you have that sense of loneliness. That's a loneliness that I think only God can fill.
JOAN LUNDEN: I think people are weighed down today too, don't you, by all the tremendous issues and all the decisions they have to make, and they look to people like you. I know the last time you were on the show with Mike Schneider, he asked you what your position was on abortion, and you said, "There's a Christian position, but I can't say what that is." Can you say what that is now" Have we come to some kind of a feeling?
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Well, I know what the Bible teaches, that you know, Jeremiah was called of God before he was born, while he was in his mother's womb. And when Elizabeth was bearing in her womb John the Baptist, Mary went over to see her, and the baby leaped in the womb of Elizabeth. So there is life at that point. And when it comes to abortion, that's a long story that in two or three minutes I couldn't go into.
JOAN LUNDEN: Oh, I know.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: But there are occasions when abortion is the only alternative.
JOAN LUNDEN: Yes. Do you ever think of retirement? I see you, I hear he's going to be in Central Park, I think it's this Sunday, I—
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: This Sunday.
JOAN LUNDEN: —I don't know how many people are expected to be there, but it kind of culminates the whole tour you've done here in New York City. Do you ever run out of energy?
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Yes, I get tired, and I'm not going to retire, but I'm going to slow down a little bit. I have to. My heart and my zeal and my mind is still the same, but my body says, "You better slow down."
JOAN LUNDEN: And yet when you sat down here you said, "I'm about to renew myself."
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: That's right, I'm renewing myself now by taking a little time off and reading, writing. I'm working on my memoirs right now.
JOAN LUNDEN: He's still at work. Reverend Graham, it's do nice to see you again.
Rev. BILLY GRAHAM: Thank you, Joan, thanks for having me.
[end of Joan Lunden's interview with Billy Graham]