Magazine article Insight on the News

Congress Honors Graham; Graham Criticizes Clinton

Magazine article Insight on the News

Congress Honors Graham; Graham Criticizes Clinton

Article excerpt

Evangelist Billy Graham has joined a host of religious leaders speaking out against President Clinton's veto of legislation that would have criminalized a type of late-term abortion.

World-renowned evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, traveled to Washington in May to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, which was presented in a ceremony held in the Capitol rotunda. But the celebration came on the heels of an exchange between Graham and President Clinton in which the religious leader expressed his dismay to the president for vetoing legislation that would have criminalized "partial-birth" abortions.

The minister revealed his comments to the president during an interview with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas for his weekly CNBC television program. "I think the president was wrong in vetoing it," Graham said. "I had the opportunity of telling him that in person."

The measure would have made it a crime for doctors to perform a controversial type of late-term abortion in which a fetus is partially pulled from the womb during the procedure. The Clinton administration says doctors should be allowed to perform the operation if they determine it would prevent serious adverse health consequences for the mother.

Graham, 77, a Southern Baptist, joined a lengthening list of clergymen, including Pope John Paul II and American cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, who have condemned Clinton's veto. In an extraordinary departure from diplomatic protocol, Clinton's ambassador to the Vatican, Raymond Flynn, stood with the bishops and pope against the president.

On the other side, nearly 30 Protestant and Jewish leaders recently signed a letter of support for the president's veto, including the Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, the pastor of Washington's Foundry United Methodist Church, where Clinton, a Baptist, often attends services with his wife, a Methodist. …

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