Jerry Lamon Falwell Sr. (/ˈfɔːlwɛl/; August 11, 1933 – May
15, 2007) was an American
Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist,
and conservative activist. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas
Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded
Lynchburg Christian Academy (now Liberty Christian Academy) in 1967
Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the
Moral Majority in
1 Early life and education
2 Associated organizations
2.1 Thomas Road Baptist Church
2.2 Liberty Christian Academy
2.3 Liberty University
2.4 Moral Majority
3 Social and political views
3.2 The Vietnam War
3.3 Civil rights
Israel and Jews
3.7 Clinton Chronicles
3.8 Views on homosexuality
3.10 September 11 attacks
3.11 Labor unions
3.12 Relationship to American Fundamentalism
4 Legal issues
4.1 SEC and bonds
4.2 Falwell versus Penthouse
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell
4.4 Falwell versus Jerry Sloan
4.5 Falwell versus Christopher Lamparello
5 Apocalyptic beliefs
6 Failing health and death
7 Legacy and criticisms
9 See also
11 External links
Early life and education
General / Strict /
Autonomy of the local church
Priesthood of believers
Individual soul liberty
Separation of church and state
List of SBC-affiliated people
North American Mission Board
International Mission Board
LifeWay Christian Resources
Woman's Missionary Union
Religious Liberty Commission
Canadian National Baptist
Falwell and his twin brother Gene were born in the Fairview Heights
area of Lynchburg, Virginia, the sons of Helen Virginia (Beasley) and
Carey Hezekiah Falwell. His father was an entrepreneur and
one-time bootlegger who was agnostic. His grandfather was a staunch
Jerry Falwell married the former Macel Pate on April 12,
1958. The couple had sons Jerry Jr. (a lawyer and current chancellor
of Liberty University) and Jonathan (senior pastor at Thomas Road
Baptist Church) and a daughter Jeannie (a surgeon).
He graduated from Brookville High School in Lynchburg, and from the
then-unaccredited Baptist Bible College in
Springfield, Missouri in
1956. Falwell was later awarded three honorary doctoral degrees:
Doctor of Divinity
Doctor of Divinity from Tennessee Temple Theological Seminary, Doctor
of Letters from California Graduate School of Theology, and Doctor of
Laws from Central University in Seoul, South Korea.
Thomas Road Baptist Church
Main article: Thomas Road Baptist Church
In 1956, at age 22, Falwell founded the Thomas Road Baptist Church,
originally located at 701 Thomas Road in Lynchburg, Virginia, with 35
members. The church went on to become a megachurch. Also in 1956, he
began the Old Time Gospel Hour, a nationally syndicated radio and
television ministry. When Falwell died, his son Jonathan became heir
to his father's ministry, and took over as the senior pastor of the
church. At this time, the weekly program's name was changed to
Thomas Road Live.
Liberty Christian Academy
Main article: Liberty Christian Academy
During the 1950s and 1960s, Falwell spoke and campaigned against the
U.S. civil rights activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. and the racial
desegregation of public school systems by the U.S. federal government.
Liberty Christian Academy
Liberty Christian Academy (LCA, founded as Lynchburg Christian
Academy) is a Christian school in Lynchburg which was described in
1966 by the Lynchburg News as "a private school for white students."
The Lynchburg Christian Academy later opened in 1967 by Falwell as a
segregation academy and as a ministry of Thomas Road Baptist
Liberty Christian Academy
Liberty Christian Academy is today recognized as an educational
facility by the
Commonwealth of Virginia
Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia State
Board of Education, Southern Association of Colleges and
Schools, and the Association of Christian Schools
Main article: Liberty University
Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University. Liberty University
offers over 350 accredited programs of study, with approximately
13,000 residential students and 90,000 online.
Main article: Moral Majority
By 1974, the Internal Revenue Service moved to revoke the tax-exempt
status of Bob Jones University, which forbade interracial dating
(blacks had been denied entry until 1971). The decisions infuriated
Falwell. "In some states it's easier to open a massage parlor than to
open a Christian school", Falwell complained.
What brought Falwell and other white evangelicals into common cause
with political conservatives was a ruling issued in 1978 by the IRS.
This ruling stripped tax-exempt status from all-white private schools
formed in the South in reaction to the Brown v. Board of Education
mandate to desegregate public schools. Falwell had founded one of
these schools in Lynchburg, though he and other white evangelicals
insisted that their schools were Christian academies, not segregation
academies. "In one fell swoop," writes political scientist Corey
Robin, "the heirs of slaveholders became the descendants of persecuted
Baptists, and Jim Crow a heresy the First Amendment was meant to
protect." In this controversy, the Religious Right found its voice and
its power. It also found common cause with political
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation co-founder
Paul Weyrich stated that Falwell
Moral Majority political action committee during 1979 to
Catholic public protest against legal abortion in the United
States in response to
U.S. President Jimmy Carter's "intervention
against Christian schools" [the IRS intervention began during the Ford
Administration] by "...trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the
basis of so-called de facto segregation".
Moral Majority became one of the largest political lobby groups
for evangelical Christians in the United States during the 1980s.
Moral Majority was promoted as being "pro-life", "pro-traditional
family", "pro-moral" and "pro-American" and was credited with
delivering two thirds of the white, evangelical Christian vote to
Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election. According
to Jimmy Carter, "that autumn  a group headed by Jerry Falwell
purchased $10 million in commercials on southern radio and TV to brand
me as a traitor to the South and no longer a Christian." During
his time as head of the Moral Majority, Falwell consistently pushed
for Republican candidates and for conservative politics. This led
Billy Graham to criticize him for "sermonizing" about political issues
that lacked a moral element, before adding, "We did not always agree
on everything, but I knew him to be a man of God. His accomplishments
went beyond most clergy of his generation."
Social and political views
Falwell strongly advocated beliefs and practices he believed were
taught by the Bible. The church, Falwell asserted, was the
cornerstone of a successful family. Not only was it a place for
spiritual learning and guidance, but also a gathering place for
fellowship and socializing with like minded individuals. Often he
built conversations he had with parishioners after the worship service
into focused speeches or organized goals he would then present to a
larger audience via his various media outlets.
The Vietnam War
Falwell found the
Vietnam war problematic because he felt it was being
fought with "limited political objectives", when it should have been
an all out war against the North. In general, Falwell held that
the president "as a minister of God" has the right to use arms to
"bring wrath upon those who would do evil."
On his evangelist program
The Old-Time Gospel Hour in the mid 1960s,
Falwell regularly featured segregationist politicians like Lester
Maddox and George Wallace. About Martin Luther King he said: "I do
question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights
leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and
others, who are known to have left wing associations."
In speaking of the
Brown vs. Board of Education
Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, he said, in
If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and
had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954
decision would never had been made. The facilities should be separate.
When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to
cross that line.
In 1977, Falwell supported Anita Bryant's campaign, which was called
by its proponents "Save Our Children", to overturn an ordinance in
Dade County, Florida prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation, and he supported a similar movement in California.
Twenty-eight years later, during a 2005
MSNBC television appearance,
Falwell said he was not troubled by reports that the nominee for Chief
Justice of the United States Supreme Court,
John G. Roberts
John G. Roberts (whose
appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate) had done volunteer legal
work for homosexual rights activists on the case of Romer v. Evans.
Falwell told MSNBC's
Tucker Carlson that if he were a lawyer, he too
would argue for civil rights for LGBT people. "I may not agree with
the lifestyle, but that has nothing to do with the civil rights of
that part of our constituency," Falwell said. When Carlson countered
that conservatives "are always arguing against 'special rights' for
gays," Falwell said that equal access to housing and employment are
basic rights, not special rights. "Civil rights for all Americans,
black, white, red, yellow, the rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight,
et cetera, is not a liberal or conservative value. It's an American
value that I would think that we pretty much all agree on."
Israel and Jews
Falwell's staunch pro-
Israel stand, sometimes referred to as
"Christian Zionism", drew the strong support of the Anti-Defamation
League and its leader Abraham Foxman. However, they condemned what
they perceived as intolerance towards Muslims in Falwell's public
statements. They also criticized him for remarking
that "Jews can make more money accidentally than you can on
purpose." In his book Listen, America! Falwell referred to the
Jewish people as "spiritually blind and desperately in need of their
Messiah and Savior."
Falwell repeatedly denounced certain teachings in public schools and
secular education in general, calling them breeding grounds for
atheism, secularism, and humanism, which he claimed to be in
contradiction with Christian morality. He advocated that the United
States change its public education system by implementing a school
voucher system which would allow parents to send their children to
either public or private schools. In his book America Can Be Saved he
wrote that "I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of
our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have
taken them over again and Christians will be running them."
Falwell supported President George W. Bush's Faith Based Initiative,
but had strong reservations concerning where the funding would go and
the restrictions placed on churches. "My problem is where it might go
under his successors.... I would not want to put any of the Jerry
Falwell Ministries in a position where we might be subservient to a
future Bill Clinton, God forbid.... It also concerns me that once the
pork barrel is filled, suddenly the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah
Witnesses [sic], the various and many denominations and religious
groups—and I don't say those words in a pejorative way—begin
applying for money—and I don't see how any can be turned down
because of their radical and unpopular views. I don't know where that
would take us."
In the 1980s Falwell said that sanctions against the apartheid regime
of South Africa would result in what, he felt, would be a worse
situation, such as a Soviet-backed revolution. He drew the ire of many
when he called
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize winner and
Desmond Tutu a phony "as far as representing the black people of South
Africa". He later apologized for that remark and claimed that he
had misspoken. He also urged his followers to buy up gold
Krugerrands and push U.S. "reinvestment" in South Africa.
Main article: The Clinton Chronicles
In 1994, Falwell promoted and distributed the video documentary The
Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal
Activities of Bill Clinton. The video purported to connect Bill
Clinton to a murder conspiracy involving Vince Foster, James
McDougall, Ron Brown, and a cocaine-smuggling operation. The theory
was discredited, but nonetheless sold more than 150,000 copies.
Funding for the film was provided by "Citizens for Honest Government",
to which Falwell paid $200,000 in 1994 and 1995. In 1995 Citizens
for Honest Government interviewed Arkansas state troopers Roger Perry
Larry Patterson regarding the murder conspiracy about Vincent
Foster. Perry and Patterson also gave information regarding the
allegations in the
Paula Jones affair.
The infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell
interviewing a silhouetted journalist who claimed to be afraid for his
life. The journalist accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of
several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to
his illegalities. The silhouetted journalist was subsequently revealed
to be Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of
Citizens for Honest Government. "Obviously, I'm not an
investigative reporter", Matrisciana admitted to investigative
journalist Murray Waas. Later, Falwell seemed to back away from
personally trusting the video. In an interview for the 2005
documentary The Hunting of the President, Falwell admitted, "to this
day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton
Views on homosexuality
Falwell condemned homosexuality as forbidden by the Bible. Gay rights
groups called Falwell an "agent of intolerance" and "the founder of
the anti-gay industry" for statements he had made and for campaigning
against LGBT social movements. Falwell supported Anita Bryant's
1977 "Save Our Children" campaign to overturn a Florida ordinance
prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and a
similar movement in California. In urging the repeal of the
ordinance, Falwell told one crowd, "Gay folks would just as soon kill
you as look at you." When the LGBT-friendly Metropolitan Community
Church was almost accepted into the World Council of Churches, Falwell
called them "brute beasts" and stated, "this vile and satanic system
will one day be utterly annihilated and there'll be a celebration in
heaven." He later denied this. Falwell also regularly linked
AIDS pandemic to LGBT issues and stated, "
AIDS is not just God's
punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society
that tolerates homosexuals." Amongst many remarks over the years
he is probably most known for statements attributed to him about a
Teletubby being a homosexual role model for homosexual recruitment and
stating that LGBT organizations angered God, thereby in part causing
God to let the
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks happen.
After comedian and actress
Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian,
Falwell referred to her in a sermon as "Ellen DeGenerate". DeGeneres
mocked him, saying, "Really, he called me that? Ellen DeGenerate? I've
been getting that since the fourth grade. I guess I'm happy I could
give him work."
Falwell's legacy regarding homosexuality is complicated by his support
for LGBT civil rights (see "civil rights" section above), as well as
his attempts to reconcile with the LGBT community in later years. In
October 1999 Falwell hosted a meeting of 200 evangelicals with 200
Thomas Road Baptist Church
Thomas Road Baptist Church for an "Anti-Violence
Forum", during which he acknowledged that some American evangelicals'
comments about homosexuality entered the realm of hate speech that
could incite violence. At the forum, Falwell told homosexuals in
attendance, "I don't agree with your lifestyle, I will never agree
with your lifestyle, but I love you" and added, "Anything that leaves
the impression that we hate the sinner, we want to change that."
He later commented to New York Times columnist
Frank Rich that
"admittedly, evangelicals have not exhibited an ability to build a
bond of friendship to the gay and lesbian community. We've said 'go
somewhere else, we don't need you here [at] our churches.'"
In February 1999, an unsigned article that media outlets attributed to
Falwell was published in the National Liberty Journal – a
promotional publication of the university he founded – claimed
that the purple Teletubby named Tinky Winky was intended as a gay role
model. An article published in 1998 by
Salon.com had noted Tinky
Winky's status as a gay icon. In response, Steve Rice,
spokesperson for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment, which licenses the
Teletubbies in the United States, said, "I really find it absurd and
kind of offensive." The immensely popular UK show was aimed at
pre-school children, but the article stated "he is purple – the
gay pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle –
the gay-pride symbol". Apart from those characteristics Tinky Winky
also carries a magic bag which the NLJ and Salon articles said was a
purse. Falwell added that "role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging
to the moral lives of children".
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks in 2001, Falwell said on Pat
Robertson's The 700 Club, "I really believe that the pagans, and the
abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are
actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU,
People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize
America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this
happen.'" Falwell further stated that the attacks were "probably
deserved", a statement which
Christopher Hitchens described as
treason. After heavy criticism, Falwell said that no one but the
terrorists were to blame, and stated, "If I left that impression with
gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize."
Falwell has also said, "Labor unions should study and read the Bible
instead of asking for more money. When people get right with God, they
are better workers."
Relationship to American Fundamentalism
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Falwell set out in his Christian ministry as a Fundamentalist, having
attended a conservative Bible college and following strict standards
of ecclesiastical and personal separatism; he was thus known and
respected in IFB circles, being praised in Christian fundamentalist
publications such as The Sword of the Lord. Though he never officially
stated his rejection of this movement, the evidence of his life from
the late 1970s onwards indicates he moved toward a conservative
Evangelical standpoint to the right of mainline
"open" Evangelicalism but to the left of traditional, separatist
Fundamentalism. It was reported that he had refused to attend parties
at which alcohol was served early in his life, but relaxed this
stricture as he was increasingly invited to major events through the
contacts he developed in conservative politics and religion.
His foray into national politics appears to be a catalyst for this
change; when he established the
Moral Majority which joined "Bible
Christians" (Independent and conservative Southern Baptists) in a
political alliance with Charismatics, Roman Catholics, Jews, Mormons
and others he rejected the level of separation preached by most
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University declared the Moral
Majority organization "Satanic", holding that it was a step toward the
apostate one-world church and government body as it would cross the
line from a political alliance to a religious one between true
Christians and the non-born-again, as forbidden by their
interpretation of the Bible. David Cloud's Way of Life Literature also
criticizes Falwell for associations with Catholics, Pentecostals and
liberal Christians, tracing his alleged "apostasy" back to his role in
the political Religious Right.
Though he never wavered in his belief in the inerrancy of the Bible
(except for moderating its alleged view of racial differences,
significance of baptism, and other concepts relative to his theology)
and the doctrines conservative Christians widely see as essential to
salvation, his rhetoric became generally more mellow, less militant
and comparatively more inclusive from the 1980s onward. Cultural
anthropologist Susan Friend Harding, in her extensive ethnographic
study of Falwell, noted that he adapted his preaching to win a
broader, less extremist audience as he grew famous. This manifested in
several ways: among them were no longer condemning "worldly" lifestyle
choices such as dancing, drinking wine, and attending movie theaters;
softening rhetoric of apocalypse and God's vengeful wrath; and
shifting from outright
Biblical patriarchy to a complementarian view
of appropriate gender roles. He further mainstreamed himself by aiming
his strongest criticism at "secular humanists", pagans or various
liberals in place of the racist, anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic
rhetoric common among Southern Fundamentalist preachers but
increasingly condemned as hate speech by the consensus of American
Jerry Falwell opposed Islam. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, a pan-Arab
newspaper, Falwell called
Islam "satanic". In a televised
interview with 60 Minutes, Falwell called
Muhammad a "terrorist", to
which he added: "I concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim
Muhammad was a violent man, a man of war." Falwell later
apologized to Muslims for what he said about
Muhammad and affirmed
that he did not necessarily intend to offend "honest and peace-loving"
Muslims. However, as he refused to remove his comments about Islam
from his website, the sincerity of his apology was doubted.
Egyptian Christian intellectuals, in response, signed a statement in
which they condemned and rejected what Falwell had said about Muhammad
being a terrorist.
From the 1970s on, Falwell was involved in legal matters which
occupied much of his time and propelled his name recognition.
SEC and bonds
In 1972, the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an
investigation of bonds issued by Falwell's organizations. The SEC
charged Falwell's church with "fraud and deceit" in the issuance of
$6.5 million in unsecured church bonds. The church won a 1973
federal court case prosecuted at the behest of the SEC, in which the
Court exonerated the church and ruled that while technical violations
of law did occur, there was no proof the Church intended any
Falwell versus Penthouse
Falwell filed a $10 million lawsuit against Penthouse for publishing
an article based upon interviews he gave to freelance reporters, after
failing to convince a federal court to place an injunction upon the
publication of that article. The suit was dismissed in Federal
district court on the grounds that the article was not defamatory or
an invasion of Falwell's privacy (the Virginia courts had not
recognized this privacy tort, which is recognized in other
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell
In 1983, Larry Flynt's pornographic magazine
Hustler carried a parody
Campari ad, featuring a mock "interview" with Falwell in which he
admits that his "first time" was incest with his mother in an outhouse
while drunk. Falwell sued for $45 million, alleging invasion of
privacy, libel, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. A jury rejected the invasion of privacy and
libel claims, holding that the parody could not have reasonably been
taken to describe true events, but ruled in favor of Falwell on the
emotional distress claim and awarded damages of $200,000. This was
upheld on appeal. Flynt then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which
unanimously held that the First Amendment prevents public figures from
recovering damages for emotional distress caused by parodies.
After Falwell's death,
Larry Flynt released a comment regarding his
friendship over the years with Falwell.
My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person,
when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about
them that you like.
Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I
hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years
after the trial,
Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would
visit me in California and we would debate together on college
campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what
he was selling and he knew what I was selling.
Falwell versus Jerry Sloan
Jerry Falwell in Tallahassee, Florida
In 1984, Falwell was ordered to pay gay rights activist and former
Baptist Bible College classmate Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a
court battle. In July 1984 during a TV debate in Sacramento,
California, Falwell denied calling the homosexual-friendly
Metropolitan Community Churches "brute beasts" and "a vile and Satanic
system" that will "one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a
celebration in heaven".
When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could
produce it. Sloan did, Falwell refused to pay, and Sloan successfully
sued. The money was donated to build Sacramento's first homosexual
community center, the Lambda Community Center, serving "lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, and intersex" communities. Falwell appealed
the decision with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the
case was prejudiced. He lost again and was made to pay an additional
$2,875 in sanctions and court fees.
Falwell versus Christopher Lamparello
Main article: Lamparello v. Falwell
In Lamparello v. Falwell, a dispute over the ownership of the Internet
domain fallwell.com, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit reversed an earlier District Court decision, arguing that
Christopher Lamparello, who owned the domain, "clearly created his Web
site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to
steal customers." Lamparello's website describes itself as not
being connected to
Jerry Falwell and is critical of Falwell's views on
homosexuality. On April 17, 2006, the Supreme Court declined to
hear an appeal of the Court of Appeals ruling that Lamparello's usage
of the domain was legal.
Previous to this, a different man had turned over jerryfalwell.com and
jerryfallwell.com after Falwell threatened to sue for trademark
infringement. Lawyers for Public Citizen Litigation Group's
Internet Free Speech project represented the domain name owners in
On July 31, 2006, Cable News Network's (CNN)
Paula Zahn Now
Paula Zahn Now program
featured a segment on "whether the crisis in the Middle East is
actually a prelude to the end of the world". In an interview Falwell
claimed, "I believe in the premillennial, pre-tribulational coming of
Christ for all of his church, and to summarize that, your first poll,
do you believe Jesus' coming the second time will be in the future, I
would vote yes with the 59 percent and with
Billy Graham and most
Based on this and other statements, Falwell has been identified as a
In 1999, Falwell declared the
Antichrist would probably arrive within
a decade and "of course he'll be Jewish". After accusations of
anti-Semitism Falwell apologized and explained that he was simply
expressing the theological tenet that the
Failing health and death
In early 2005, Falwell was hospitalized for two weeks with a viral
infection, discharged, and then rehospitalized on May 30, 2005, in
respiratory arrest. President
George W. Bush
George W. Bush contacted Falwell
to "wish him well". He was subsequently released from the hospital
and returned to his duties. Later in 2005, a stent was implanted to
treat a 70 percent blockage in his coronary arteries.
On May 15, 2007, Falwell was found without pulse and unconscious in
his office at about 10:45 a.m., after he missed a morning
appointment, and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "I had
breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast...He went to his
office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive," said Ron
Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell's Liberty University.
His condition was initially reported as "gravely serious";
administered unsuccessfully. As of 2:10 p.m., during a live press
conference, a doctor for the hospital confirmed that Falwell had died
of "cardiac arrhythmia, or sudden cardiac death". A statement issued
by the hospital reported he was pronounced dead at Lynchburg General
Hospital at 12:40 p.m., EST. He was 73 years old. Falwell's
family, including his wife, the former Macel Pate (1933-2015), and
Jerry Falwell Jr.
Jerry Falwell Jr. and Jonathan Falwell, were at the hospital at
the time of the pronouncement.
Falwell's funeral took place on May 22, 2007, at Thomas Road Baptist
Church after he lay in repose at both the church and Liberty
University. Falwell's burial service was private. He is interred at a
spot on the
Liberty University campus near the Carter Glass Mansion
and Falwell's office. Buried nearby is his mentor, B. R. Lakin.
After his death, his sons succeeded him at his two positions; Jerry
Falwell Jr. took over as president of
Liberty University while
Jonathan Falwell became the senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist
Church. His daughter, Jeannie F. Savas, is a surgeon.
The last televised interview with
Jerry Falwell was conducted by
Christiane Amanpour for the
CNN original series
CNN Presents: God's
Warriors. He had been interviewed on May 8, one week before his
death. Falwell's last televised sermon was his May 13, 2007,
message on Mother's Day.
Legacy and criticisms
Falwell's legacy is strongly mixed and often a source of heated
controversy. Supporters praise his advancement of his socially
conservative message. They also tout his evangelist ministries, and
his stress on church planting and growth. Many of his detractors have
accused him of hate speech and identified him as an "agent of
He was described by social commentator and antitheist Christopher
Hitchens in terms as "Chaucerian fraud" and a "faith-based fraud."
Hitchens took special umbrage with Falwell's alignment with "the most
thuggish and demented Israeli settlers", and his declaration that 9/11
represented God's judgment on America's sinful behaviour; deeming it
"extraordinary that not even such a scandalous career is enough to
shake our dumb addiction to the 'faith-based.'" Hitchens also
mentioned that, despite his support for Israel, Falwell "kept saying
to his own crowd, yes, you have got to like the Jews, because they can
make more money in 10 minutes than you can make in a lifetime".
CNN a day after Falwell's death, Hitchens said, "The
empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that
you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and
to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called
'reverend'." On C-SPAN, Hitchens made the comment that "if he had
been given an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox".
Falwell was an enemy of the revenge humorist "George Hayduke", who
called Falwell a "fund-grubbing electronic Bible-banger" and "pious
pride-in-the-pulpit". In his book Screw Unto Others, Hayduke mentions
the story of Edward Johnson, who, in the mid-1980s, programmed his
Atari home computer to make thousands of repeat phone calls to
Falwell's 1–800 phone number, since Johnson claimed Falwell had
swindled large amounts of money from his followers, especially
Johnson's own mother.
Southern Bell forced Johnson to stop after he
had run up Falwell's telephone bill an estimated $500,000. At one
point, prank callers, especially gay activists, constituted an
estimated 25% of Falwell's total calls, until the ministry
disconnected the toll-free number in 1986.
Falwell, Jerry (January 30, 2006). Achieving Your Dreams. Thomas
Nelson. ISBN 0-529-12246-4.
Falwell, Jerry (October 17, 2005). Building Dynamic Faith. Thomas
Nelson. ISBN 0-529-12133-6.
Falwell, Jerry (1973). Capturing a Town for Christ. REVELL.
Champions for God. Victor Books, 1985.
Church Aflame. (co-author Elmer Towns) Impact, 1971.
Dynamic Faith Journal. Thomas Nelson (64 pages) (January 30, 2006)
Falwell: An Autobiography. Liberty House, 1996. (Ghost written by Mel
White) ISBN 1-888684-04-6
Fasting Can Change Your Life. Regal, 1998.
Finding Inner Peace and Strength. Doubleday, 1982.
If I Should Die Before I Wake. Thomas Nelson, 1986. (ghost-written by
Jerry Falwell: Aflame for God. Thomas Nelson, 1979. (co-authors Gerald
Strober and Ruth Tomczak)
Liberty Bible Commentary on the New Testament. Thomas Nelson/Liberty
Liberty Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 1982.
Bantam Books (July 1981) ISBN 0-553-14998-9
Stepping Out on Faith. Tyndale House, 1984.
Strength for the Journey. Simon & Schuster, 1987. (ghost-written
by Mel White)
The Fundamentalist Phenomenon. Doubleday, 1981.
The Fundamentalist Phenomenon/The Resurgence of Conservative
Christianity. Baker Book House, 1986.
The New American Family. Word, 1992.
When It Hurts Too Much to Cry. Tyndale House, 1984.
Wisdom for Living. Victor Books, 1984.
Faith and Values Coalition
List of fatwas
Southern Baptist Convention affiliated people
National Christian Network
The PTL Club
Southern Baptist Convention
Jerry Falwell Told Followers He Was at Peace With Death".
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^ a b Melzer, Eartha Jane (August 26, 2005). "Falwell Speaks in Favour
of Gay Civil Rights". Soulfource.org. Retrieved November 16,
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^ "Falwell, Jerry (1933–2007)". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
^ "Personal Details for C. A. Beasley". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved
November 16, 2017.
^ "Higher Learning Commission:Baptist Bible College". Higher Learning
Commission. April 1, 2008. Retrieved January 6,
2009. [non-primary source needed]
^ "Executive Biographies:Dr. Jerry Falwell". Liberty University.
Retrieved January 6, 2009.
^ "Sons Walking in Own Shoes, Albeit Footsteps of Famous Dads".
^ "Founder". Liberty University.
^ "Old Time Gospel Hour". Flick Out. [permanent dead link]
Liberty Christian Academy
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^ Dowland, Seth (2007). Defending Manhood: Gender, Social Order and
the Rise of the
Christian Right in the South, 1965-1995. ProQuest.
p. 23. ISBN 978-0-549-71783-6. Retrieved 6 September
^ http://www.thenation.com/article/agent-intolerance# "Agent of
Intolerance". The Nation.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
2013-10-20. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
^ "AdvancED - Institution Summary". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved
^ "Liberty University".
^ Wertheimer, Linda (June 23, 2006). "Evangelical: Religious Right Has
Distorted the Faith, (Book Review)". Retrieved November 16,
^ Prothero, Stephen. "Donald Trump goes to Liberty U". Retrieved 21
^ Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party.
p. 25. Nation Books, 2009.
^ a b "
Moral Majority founder
Jerry Falwell dies". MSNBC. May 15,
2007. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
^ Falwell: An Autobiography, The Inside Story, Liberty House
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^ King, Randall E. (March 22, 1997). "When worlds collide: politics,
religion, and media at the 1970 East Tennessee
Billy Graham Crusade.
(appearance by President Richard M. Nixon)". Journal of Church and
State. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
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The Regional Origins of the Moral Majority" (Fee). Journal of Policy
History. Cambridge University Press. 22 (2): 125–147.
doi:10.1017/S0898030610000011. Retrieved 2010-09-17. One month
before Election Day in 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald
Reagan traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, to speak at Jerry Falwell's
Liberty Baptist College, where he advocated the restoration of
classroom prayer in public schools. While it was not the first time
^ Carter, Jimmy (2010). White House Diary. New York, N.Y: Farrar,
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Phenomenon. Baker Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8010-2958-9.
^ Falwell, Listen, America!, 85.
^ Falwell, Listen, America!, 98.
^ "Holy War". SPLCenter.org. 2003-06-26. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
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writings of Martin Luther King. San Francisco: Harper Collins.
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^ McKay, Mary Jayne (June 8, 2003). "Zion's Christian Soldiers". CBS
News. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
^ "ADL Condemns Falwell's Anti-Muslim Remarks; Urges Him to
Apologize". Adl.org. Archived from the original on 2003-12-17.
^ "Irving Kristol's Rebel Alliance With Anti-Semites". Retrieved
December 24, 2009.
^ Falwell, Jerry (1980). Listen, America!. New York: Doubleday and
Company, Inc. p. 113. ISBN 0-385-15897-1.
^ "Biography: Falwell, Jerry". Atheism.about.com. 1982-11-21.
^ "Beliefnet interviews Rev. Jerry Falwell –". Beliefnet.com.
^ "Religion: An Unholy Uproar". Time. September 2, 1985. Retrieved May
^ Pear, Robert (1985-08-21). "Falwell Denounces Tutu As A 'Phony'".
The New York Times. South Africa, Republic Of. Retrieved
^ OSTLING, RICHARD N. (September 2, 1985). "Jerry Falwell's Crusade".
Time Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
^ a b c d e The Falwell connection by
Murray Waas Salon.com
The Hunting of the President
The Hunting of the President (DVD) 2005
^ a b Blumenthal, Max. "Agent of Intolerance". Retrieved May 18,
^ Johnson, Hans; Eskridge, William (May 19, 2007). "The Legacy of
Falwell's Bully Pulpit". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 18,
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original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
^ a b "about Lambda Community Fund". Archived from the original on
January 25, 2008. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
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^ a b "'Gay Tinky Winky bad for children'". BBC News. February 15,
1999. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
^ a b "Falwell apologizes to gays, feminists, lesbians". CNN.
September 14, 2001. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013.
Retrieved 16 February 2015.
^ "Top Stories". NY1. Archived from the original on 2008-03-23.
^ Handy, Bruce (April 14, 1997). "HE CALLED ME ELLEN DEGENERATE?".
Time. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
^ Niebuhr, Gustav (October 23, 1999). "Religion Journal; Falwell Finds
an Accord With Gay Rights Backer". The New York Times.
^ "The odd couple — Gays and Lesbians". Salon.com. 1999-10-25.
Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
^ Rich, Frank (1999-11-06). "Has
Jerry Falwell Seen the Light? NY
Times, November 6, 1999". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
^ Millman, Joyce. "'Tubbythumping '". Archived from the original on 13
June 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
^ Arizona supporter funds largest-ever gift annuity to LU Archived
2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine. (February 27, 2008) By Mitzi
Bible – Liberty Journal
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Activist, Dies". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
^ Falwell speaks about WTC disaster, Christian Broadcasting Network
Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine.
Christopher Hitchens and Ralph Reed Square Off over Late Leader's
Influence; the Christian Right." Hannity & Colmes. May 17, 2007.
FOX News. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
^ Ricco, Joanne""The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor
Movement"". Archived from the original on 2009-05-12. Retrieved
2006-07-03. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Accessed 24 May 2011.
^ Susan Harding (2001). The book of Jerry Falwell: fundamentalist
language and politics. Princeton University Press, passim.
^ A case that is forgotten...another group of takfir from Arab-West
^ Rev. Jerry Falwell: I think
Muhammad was a terrorist from Arab-West
^ Recent developments from Arab-West Report
^ Christian leaders in Egypt condemn Jerry Falwell's statement about
the Prophet being a terrorist from Arab-West Report
^ a b "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell". NPR.
^ "Falwell Says He Will Press $10 Million Penthouse Suit." The New
York Times. February 5, 1981.
^ "Penthouse Wins in Court Against Falwell Suit." The New York Times.
August 7, 1981.
^ "Falwell Won't Pursue Suit". The New York Times. September 10, 1981.
^ Flynt, Larry (2007-05-20). "The porn king and the preacher". Los
^ "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 21
^ a b c Supreme Court declines Falwell Web appeal Associated Press.
April 17, 2006
^ Paula Zahn Now, CNN: Transcript. July 31, 2006.
^ Jerry L. Walls (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2008), 269.
^ Cohen, Debra Nussbaum. "Falwell
Antichrist remark sparks
anti-Semitism charges". Retrieved May 18, 2007.
^ "NPR: Cultural Impact of the Book of Revelation". National Public
Radio. September 28, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
^ "Falwell: The church won the 2004 elections". WSFA 12. June 21,
^ a b Falwell is taken off ventilator, upgraded to stable condition.
USA Today. May 30, 2005
Jerry Falwell Dies at 73 after collapsing". Sauk Valley
Newspapers. May 15, 2007.
^ Page, Susan (May 15, 2007). "Evangelist
Jerry Falwell dies at 73".
USA Today/Associated Press. Retrieved May 15, 2007.
^ "Macel Falwell". Campbellsville, Kentucky: Central Kentucky
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^ CNN –
God's Warriors from CNN[dead link]
^ "Video News". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
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May 16 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
^ "Jerry Falwell's Legacy". CNN. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
^ Interview on C-SPAN's Q&A with Brian Lamb on Sunday, April 26,
^ Hayduke, George. "Prey TV", Screw Unto Others: Revenge Tactics for
all Occasions. pg. 166
^ "Evangelism: The Bell Tolls for Falwell". Time. 14 Apr 1986.
Retrieved Nov 23, 2010.
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