William Martin

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.

Church |
June 30, 1981

Tell It, Brother Hill!

A visiting revivalist lays some eloquent preaching on Pasadena Baptists. Nearby in Houston, the festival of Purim gives templegoers good reason to dress up, drink up, and raise a ruckus.

Church |
May 31, 1981

The Eve of Destruction

The millennium is nigh, according to some evangelists, and when Jesus returns, Texans will experience either rapture or hell and high water.

Church |
April 30, 1981

Buddha In Boots

A chant-happy Buddhist sect puts on a dazzling pageant in praise of the Texas cowboy. Pastor Barry Bailey lives up to his reputation as a bulwark of Fort Worth Methodism.

Church |
February 1, 1981

Shout If You Love Jesus

Local Church members in Houston make sure God hears them; Trinity Baptist in San Antonio is confident it has God’s ear.

Church |
December 1, 1980

Old, Rugged Churches

Century-old Antioch Baptist shouts its message over the sky-high rooftops of downtown Houston. St. Mary’s in Galveston is Texas’ only basilica.

Church |
August 31, 1980

Onward, Brother Roloff

The feisty pastor of the People’s Baptist Church keeps marching on to war with the State of Texas. Mexican American Pentecostals in the Valley ask Houston’s God’s help on a hot problem.

Church |
July 31, 1980

God With the Wends

Texas’ rural Wends take time from chores to attend St. Paul’s Lutheran in Serbin; vacationers on Padre Island take time from play to attend an open-air mass at St. Andrew’s by the Sea.

Church |
May 31, 1980

Two Roads to Calvary

On Palm Sunday Episcopalians at St. David’s in Austin rekindled their faith in the life and teachings of Jesus. At nearby Greater Mt. Zion on Easter, Baptists relived the miracles of His resurrection.

Church |
April 30, 1980

Foreign Service

In France you can commune with the angels at Chartres or mingle with the home folks at the American Church in Paris.

Church |
April 1, 1980

Cross Examinations

Adventurous Methodists try the case against the Church; pallid Seventh-day Adventists try the worshiper’s patience.

Church |
March 1, 1980

Amens and Imams

Pentecostal revivalists bask in the Spirit of the Holy Ghost; Muslims find solace in the will of Allah.

Church |
September 30, 1979

A Joyful Noise

At St. Patrick’s in San Antonio they sing and dance—during mass. At Lakewood Assembly of God in Dallas they sing and sing and sing . . .

Church |
August 31, 1979

Hearts and Minds

Welcome to Dallas’ first Baptist, the largest Baptist church in the world, with a pastor and a service to match; a more modest path to religious enlightenment leads you to Houston’s Emerson Unitarian.

Church |
June 30, 1979

The Lord is in His Temple

Congregation Beth Israel in Houston remembers the Holocaust quietly; Allandale Baptist Church in Austin isn’t quiet about anything.

Church |
April 30, 1979

In the Beginning

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; we chasten and hasten to tell you all about it.

Critters |
March 31, 1974


Forget your Dallas cowboys and your Houston Astros. Texas’ real champions count birds once a year at freeport. They’re not bird watchers, they’re birders. And therein lies a tail.