Conservative Protestant evangelist Bill Bright announced plans here this week for a $1 billion campaign designed to carry his "I Found It" crusade worldwide to remote African and Asian villages.
Flanked by actor Roy Rogers, Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt, and motel mogul Wallace E. Johnson, Bright launched what he described as the greatest crusade in Christian history.
Bright's independent, evangelistic organization, Campus Crusade, will work "with other churches around the world in a strategy to give every man, woman and child in the world the opportunity to hear the joyful news" of Christianity, he said.
Last year, Campus Crusade organized heavily publicized evangelistic campaigns in 253 American cities. They used the slogan, "I Found It," and received cooperation from local churches.
During the 1976 political campaigns, Bright's name was linked to politico-religious groups committed to the election of ultraconservatives. One of the hardest fought campaigns involved one of Bright's close friends, former Arizona Congressman John Conlan who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.
Bright also was the moving force in mobilizing a group of wealthy businessmen to buy and maintain the Chase mansion at 2000 24th St. NW as a Christian embassy, a place to confront political figures with Christianity.
Asked at yesterday's press conference about political involvement, Bright said his organization has "been very scrupulous. In 26 years, we've never supported a political candidate or spent $1 for political ends."
But last fall, just weeks before the election, evangelist Billy Graham canceled a scheduled appearance at a Bright-sponsored, week-long prayer crusade in Dallas on grounds that it was too political.
Asked yesterday whether Graham is supporting his latest worldwide evangelist project, Bright responded, "I have no reason to believe he is not supporting it."
Actor-restaurateur Roy Rogers, dressed in a brown gabardine suit and the ever-present white cowboy hat, appeared with Bright yesterday to endorse the evangelistic project. "If everybody would be real Christian, it would cut down on the crime and we might get the world back like it was 40 or 50 years ago," Rogers said.
Wallace Johnson, of Memphis, co-founder of the Holiday Inn chain, is international chairman of the crusade. Besides Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans, other participants include insurance executive W. Clement Stone and Walter Burke, retired president of McDonnell Douglas Corporation.