Billy Graham among most-admired for 60th time

Written by Peter Smith on .

Billy-Graham1With Gallup's release of its annual list of people whom Americans most admire, a lot of attention will go toward Barack Obama's outpolling Donald Trump -- even if the latter's November victory seems a repudiation of the former's legacy. Hillary Clinton won among women, though at a lower percentage than her rival Trump. 

But from the religion desk, it's also worth notching that this is the 60th, yes 60th, year on the top 10 list for the Rev. Billy Graham, the venerable evangelist who defined much of mid- and late-20th century evangelical Christianity. He's in fifth place, in fact, even with only 1 percent of the vote. (The only men with unsymmetrical numbers are Obama at 22 percent, Trump at 15, Pope Francis at 4 and Bernie Sanders at 2.) Graham's been at 1 percent the last two years, having been at 2 percent for the previous several. Most likely as he ages (he's now 98) and is no longer to make public appearances, and as his admirers who knew him when he was active also continue to age and in some cases pass on, that number has slowly gone down. Slowly.

It's also worth noting other religious figures in the top 10, in addition to Pope Francis, who originally landed on the list in 2014 with 6 percent. This year's list also includes Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, at 1 percent in a tie for sixth place. And given Mike Pence's description of himself as a Christian, conservative and Republican in that order, perhaps the vice-presidential elect could be considered a religious figure. He finished 10th. And if you consider Benyamin Netanyahu to be a religious figure, he finished in a sixth-place tie with others.

On the woman's side, there's Queen Elizabeth II, making the list for the 48th time. Since she's the titular governor of the Church of England, she can be considered a religious figure. She came in sixth with 2 percent. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Muslim champion for female education and Nobel laureate, finished seventh with 2 percent. Sarah Palin was 10th at 1 percent.



Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.