For 58th Time, Rev. Billy Graham Honored on Gallup's 'Most Admired Man' List

( [email protected] ) Dec 31, 2014 01:39 PM EST
Billy Graham
Rev. Billy Graham has been voted one of the world's most admired men for the 58th time. Photo: Getty

In an end-of-the year Gallup poll, Americans named Billy Graham as the fourth "Most Admired Man" in the world for 2014. These results mark the 58th time the reverend has made the top 10 list since 1955. 

The 96-year-old Southern Baptist minister received the honor as a result of the popular pollster's telephone survey conducted through 805 American adults from December 8 through 11.

Although Graham only received 2 percent of the total vote, putting him in the fourth-place spot, he hold the top spot for the Most Admired Man ranking since the Gallup poll first started in 1946. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Pope John Paul II are just behind Reverend Graham.

Billy Graham was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918 and has led over 400 crusades in 185 countries to teach people about the Word of God. He has also served as pastor for several churches, the president of Northwestern Bible College in Minnesota, a radio minister, a televangelist, and even applied as a chaplain in the armed forces before contracting mumps.

One of Graham's most famous actions was during the early 50s when the reverend tore down ropes meant to separate black and white attendees at one of his revival rallies. Even before the civil rights movement of the 60s became so widespread, Graham was one of the first to oppose racism and preach to his prominently white audience that "we have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride."

The reverend has served as the official pastor to several U.S. presidents over the years, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. He was even offered the position of ambassador to Israel under President Nixon, but refused.

Graham has enjoyed recent attention for his part in the life of Louis Zamperini, the World War II veteran whose story is told in the new Angelina Jolie film, "Unbroken." Although Jolie decided not to include the part of Zamperini's life where he got saved at a Billy Graham crusade, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association featured the story in its documentary "Captured by Grace" that was released on Christmas Day.

This year's Most Admired Man ranking was dominated by President Barack Obama, who has held the top honor since he was elected president in 2008. Pope Francis took the number two spot while Bill Clinton and George W. Bush rounded out the top five.

As for the Most Admired Woman category, former first lady Hillary Clinton took the number one spot while Oprah Winfrey, Nobel Prize-winning Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and first lady Michelle Obama completed the top five.