William Martin

Author's Profile Photo

William Martin is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rice University and Chavanne Senior Fellow at Rice’s Baker Institute, where he directs two programs, Religion and Public Policy and Drug Policy. After graduating from Abilene Christian University and Harvard Divinity School, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969. During his 45 years at Rice, he has received numerous teaching awards, including a Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is the author of seven books, including A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story; regarded as the authoritative biography of the famed evangelist; With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America, the companion volume to a PBS mini-series of the same name; and My Prostate and Me: Dealing with Prostate Cancer. In addition to nearly 90 articles in Texas Monthly, beginning in 1974, his writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Harper’s, and Esquire, as well as in professional journals. His reviews of religious services throughout the state (1979 to 1983 and 2006 to 2008) were the subject of a 60 Minutes segment in 1979. Bill and his wife, Patricia, divide their time between Houston and Wimberley.

Articles by William Martin

War Without End

May 9, 2014 By William Martin

For many military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, their only relief comes from a drug that is illegal in Texas: marijuana. Can a growing band of cannabis advocates persuade our legislators to change that?

The Policy and Politics of Drug Sentencing

May 5, 2013 By William Martin

A Republican judge from Harris County, with the support of the conservative TPPF and the left-leaning TCJC, is working with Democratic lawmakers to reduce the sentences for defendants arrested with trace amounts of illegal drugs. But it takes more than bipartisanship to change people's views on the state's drug laws.

American Idol

Jan 21, 2013 By William Martin

Although many people haven’t heard of him, Bishop T.D. Jakes is one of the most famous—and richest— preachers in the country. Whence cometh this man?

Head of The Class

Jan 20, 2013 By William Martin

The question isn’t how the followers of an obscure Turkish imam came to operate the largest charter school system in Texas. It’s whether the incredible success they’ve had can help our ailing public schools.

Texas High Ways

Jan 20, 2013 By William Martin

A growing chorus of unlikely voices, from the El Paso City Council to the Arizona attorney general, has called for a serious look at legalizing marijuana. Why Texas should lead the way.

Lakewood Church, Servicio en Español

Feb 1, 2008 By William Martin

DENOMINATION None PASTOR Marcos Witt ADDRESS 3700 Southwest Freeway PHONE 713-635-4154 ON THE INTERNET lakewood.cc SERVICIO EN ESPAÑOL Sundays at 1:30 P.M. By now, most people who pay attention to such things know that Houston’s Lakewood Church, led by Joel Osteen, draws…

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth

Jun 30, 2007 By William Martin

DENOMINATION Presbyterian PASTOR The Reverend Karl Travis ADDRESS 1000 Penn PHONE 817-335-1231 ON THE INTERNET fpcfw.org MAIN SERVICE Sundays at 8:15, 9:00, and 10:55 A.M. Where have all the young folks gone? And if they haven’t left, how can the churches hold on to them?…

The Damage Done

Mar 31, 2007 By William Martin

We stand alone among the fifty states in our refusal to legitimize a proven method of disease prevention: needle exchange for drug users. It’s time to change that.

Prime Minister

Jul 31, 2005 By William Martin

The fastest-growing church in the world. The biggest congregation this side of the Vatican. The highest ratings of any religious broadcaster. One of the best-selling religious books in years. Can Joel Osteen get an “Amen”?


Dec 1, 2002 By William Martin

Three decades after his last megamission in Dallas, age and poor health haven't slowed Billy Graham down (well, not much). He's still the most powerful evangelist since Jesus, and there will never be another like him.

Main Street Religion

Jun 30, 1982 By William Martin

The power and charm of the Reverend Charles Allen go beyond his own church, First United Methodist of Houston. Simple, standard churches like First Presbyterian in Brownsville are the solid rock of American religion.

Mustard Seeds

May 31, 1982 By William Martin

Ninety-four per cent of Americans believe in God. That and other gleanings from recent polls reveal that the nation’s faith is stronger than ever.

The Lord Giveth And The Lord Giveth

Feb 1, 1982 By William Martin

Evangelist Kenneth Copeland has good news: the faithful don’t have to wait for heaven to reap their reward. An Eastern Orthodox congregation in Austin is strict about performance of the liturgy but lax about getting to the church on time.