CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- What do you get for the man who has his own library and parkway? How about a designation as North Carolina’s Favorite Son?
A resolution introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives Thursday would give the Rev. Billy Graham that designation.
You know he’s a big deal: the bill says “whereas” 27 times.
Doing this is not as easy as you might think. A 2011 resolution to give Graham Favorite Son status never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee. A similar 2007 resolution died in the House Rules Committee. And a 2001 resolution to honor Rev. Graham made it through the Senate, only to die in, you guessed it, the House Rules Committee.
So why can’t anyone seem to get that resolution passed? There’s a house rule that prevents representatives from honoring people who aren’t dead, and if you’ll notice, the resolution introduced in the house isn’t a resolution to honor Billy Graham, rather his wife Ruth Bell Graham, who died in 2007.
Here’s the rule: All memorializing, celebration, commendation, and commemoration resolutions, except those honoring the memory of deceased persons, shall be excluded from introduction and consideration in the House. The mention of a deceased person as a pretext to honor an institution or a living person is prohibited.
That last sentence is significant, because even though this resolution technically honors Ruth Graham, it also honors Billy Graham by naming him a Favorite Son (The previous resolutions barely mentioned Ruth at all). Sen. Dan Soucek, who represents several mountain counties, is expected to introduce a Senate resolution identical to the one in the house.
Senate rules passed in 2009 also prevent the honoring of people who aren’t dead, but those rules don’t include that last sentence about the pretext. So we’ll see what happens there.
If you’re keeping score, a 2009 resolution called U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms a favorite son of North Carolina, albeit in lower case letters. That one passed after the Senator himself passed.
For its part, South Carolina already has a Favorite Son, unofficially. According to The Guardian, it’s Stephen Colbert.