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Pat Boone: Beloved Billy Graham Has 'Growing Concern' Over Direction of US

By    |   Wednesday, 12 September 2012 03:32 PM

Legendary singer Pat Boone has released a star-studded tribute to Billy Graham following his recent bout with pneumonia, and tells Newsmax.TV that America’s best known preacher has expressed his “growing concern” over the direction of America.

“He was feeling weak, as any man would after a bout with pneumonia. But he’s recovering from that and he’s strong, you know, for 93,” said Boone in an exclusive interview earlier this week. “Mentally, he watches TV. He keeps up with all that’s going on in the country and he expresses his growing concern . . . with the direction that the country’s going.”

Collaborating with fellow music luminaries, including Bono, Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne, Kenny Rogers and LeAnn Rimes, Boone released a musical tribute DVD and bonus music CD on Tuesday to pay tribute to Graham’s decades of service: “Thank You Billy Graham; A Tribute to the Man and his Message.”

Watch the exclusive video here.

Boone said that Graham believes the U.S. is in danger of losing its way.

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“We seem to be losing some of our moral and traditional constitutional moorings and that greatly distresses him,” according to the singer, who has been friends with Graham for some 40 years. “Even from his bedroom or his living room [he] will find ways to express his concern, loving concern for our nation.”

Graham was treated to an early screening of the tribute by AOL founder Steve Case, who was also involved with the project, and wanted to cheer the minister up following the death of a close friend.

“They called me from Billy’s home and Steve said, ‘I just played the video for Billy.’ And I said, ‘You did? I wanted a camera on his face when he heard and saw it,’” recalled Boone. “He said, ‘Well, we wanted to cheer him up and it has — and here he is.’ So Billy got on and said, ‘Hello, Pat. This is Billy.’ He said, ‘I didn’t deserve this kind of tribute, this kind of accolade. It’s way, way too complimentary.’”

Graham, who has had the ear of every U.S. president since World War II, is humble with respect to his own accomplishments. He has personally visited 185 countries on more than 400 crusades to reach a combined audience of 2.2 billion with his inspirational messages of hope and peace.

“His greatest legacy will be the core purpose of his life. It’s a single, very simple, very profound purpose which he has shared with all of these presidents, as you mentioned, not just in the United States, but kings and queens and leaders of other nations and leaders of other religions,” observed Boone. “His simple, profound message is that God loves us, every one of us. We’re created in his image. He wants to spend eternity with us as his children. And he has paid the supreme price himself, the penalty for our sinfulness.”

Boone said that no other U.S. religious leader in history has reached more people.

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“Every one of us does things we know we shouldn’t, and that would separate us from a perfect and holy God except that he was willing to pay the awful penalty of death in the person of his son, Jesus, who came for the purpose of being the payment for our sins so that if we would receive it, we could live in heaven eternally with God,” said Boone of the message, noting that the North-Carolina-born minister never has taken a big salary for himself despite his large following.

“This simple message coming from Billy Graham has, over the years, made Billy Graham almost the message because he is God’s emissary,” said Boone. “He’s preaching such a positive, wonderful, attractive message and unique in that nobody has ever been able to preach that kind of message to the world.”

Graham, who speaks with a distinctive southern draw, has often been parodied over the years, including by Boone’s own son-in-law, who enjoyed rousing his fellow students for church on Sunday mornings at the University of Washington with a Graham impression.

“I said, ‘Billy, would you help me do something about Dan,’” Boone mused. “I handed the phone to Billy. He says, ‘Dan, this is Billy Graham. I hear you have need of prayer in your life.’ And all we heard from Dan for about a minute was laughing. He couldn’t even take a breath.”

Boone, who is also a spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, believes that seniors have been “frightened” by the campaign rhetoric with respect to Medicare, including comments in recent days by President Obama that GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s plan would bankrupt the system, while his own plan would strengthen it.

“It is nightmarish to me to hear that statement because if you’re a homeowner, if you’re a small business owner, if you’re any kind of an economist, you know it is simple arithmetic — a third grader will know,” said Boone. “You can’t add debt, debt, debt and more debt that you have no way to pay and that somehow that’s a problem that will resolve itself.”

He said that seniors are looking for assurances that Medicare and Medicaid will be available in the future. Boone insists that Romney and vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan will fix the system.
“Here’s an administration . . . that has piled so much debt on an already bankrupt system that unless somebody, a business doctor, comes in and saves Medicare and Medicaid from the bankruptcy that is already technically a fact, then there won’t be anything for anybody,” he said. “So I tell seniors ‘you’ve got to call for a specialist.’ We’ve got to have a guy in there who has saved businesses, who knows finance.”

A portion of the proceeds from the Thank You, Billy Graham project will be donated to Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and Mercy Corps, two charities that support humanitarian relief throughout the world.

The tribute was written and produced by Boone, Grammy-winning Rock artist David Pack from the band Ambrosia, and Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Billy Dean. Special features include hours of interviews and in-studio footage condensed down into a documentary style, behind-the-scenes look at its making.

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Boone’s star-studded project also includes acknowledged agnostic Larry King, who seemed a bit taken aback when first approached.

He says, ‘I’m an agnostic. I just don’t know if there is a God. I wish I had faith, like yours.’ But he readily, immediately when I said that I’d like him to read some words I had written about Billy, instantly, he agreed and he did them in one take,” said Boone.

The tribute DVD and bonus music CD are available on Amazon.
Click here to view the tribute.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012 03:32 PM
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