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

Tell It, Brother Hill!

Jun 30, 1981 By William Martin

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.

Buddha In Boots

Apr 30, 1981 By William Martin

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.

Onward, Brother Roloff

Aug 31, 1980 By William Martin

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.

God With the Wends

Jul 31, 1980 By William Martin

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.

Two Roads to Calvary

May 31, 1980 By William Martin

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.

A Joyful Noise

Sep 30, 1979 By William Martin

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 . . .

Hearts and Minds

Aug 31, 1979 By William Martin

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.


Mar 31, 1974 By William Martin

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.