JERRY FALWELL MINISTRIES
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Pastor Falwell, Sr. of Jerry Falwell Ministries at eighteen had a spiritual experience which changed his life forever.
Transformed by his new Christian faith, he gave up his plans for a career in journalism or engineering to attend a Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Born August 11, 1933 – May 15, 2007 he was an American
Jerry Falwell Ministries founded Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.
Jerry Lamon Falwell led services at Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He changed affiliations from Baptist Bible Fellowship International to the mainly conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and ended his self-identification with fundamentalism in favor of evangelicalism.
Pastor Falwell of Jerry Falwell Ministries was born in Lynchburg, Virginia to Helen and Carey Hezekiah Falwell. His father was an entrepreneur and one-time bootlegger who was agnostic. His grandfather was a staunch atheist. Falwell was born with a twin brother, Gene.
Falwell married the former Macel Pate on April 12, 1958, and had two sons (one, Jerry Falwell, Jr., is a lawyer and the other, Jonathan Falwell, a pastor) and one daughter (Jeannie, who is a surgeon).
Prior to the founding of Jerry Falwell Ministries, Falwell attended Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia, but left during his sophomore year. He then transferred to and graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in 1956.
an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Tennessee Temple Theological Seminary, an honorary Doctor of Letters from California Graduate School of Theology and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Central University in Seoul, South Korea.
In 1956, at age 22, Jerry Falwell became the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church of Lynchburg (TRBC).
In 1971 Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University, a Christian liberal arts university in Lynchburg, Virginia.
In 1979 Jerry Falwell Ministries founded the Moral Majority, which became one of the largest political lobby groups for evangelical Christians in the United States during the 1980s.
It is claimed the group is credited with delivering two-thirds of the white, evangelical Christian vote to Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election.
He believed in the quintessential patriarchal family in which, ideally, the father is the primary bread-winner and the wife takes care of the home and raises the children until they’re old enough to leave the home.
The entire family was expected to play an active role in their local church. Falwell's company "The Moral Majority" was founded on four basic tenets, 1) pro-family, 2) pro-life, 3) pro-defense and 4) pro-Israel.
The church, Jerry 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 Christian individuals.
Jerry Falwell Ministries became one of the first to favor an interracial congregation.
The Anti-Defamation League and its leader Abraham Foxman, have expressed strong support for Falwell's staunch pro-Israel stand, sometimes referred to as "Christian Zionism," despite repeatedly condemning what they perceive as intolerance towards Muslims in Falwell's public statements.
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.
Jerry Falwell wrote in America Can Be Saved 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, 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."
...the apartheid regime of South Africa. He stated that while he was opposed to apartheid, he feared that sanctions would result in a worse situation, with either a more oppressive white minority government or a Soviet-backed revolution.
He drew the ire of many when he called Nobel Peace Prize winner and Anglican Archbishop 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.
In 1994, Jerry Falwell Ministries promoted and distributed the video documentary The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton.
The video connected Bill Clinton to a conspiracy involving Vincent Foster, James McDougall, Ron Brown, and a cocaine-smuggling operation. The theory was discredited, but the video served as effective exposure, and it sold over 150,000 copies.
Funding for the film was provided by "Citizens for Honest Government," to which it is claimed that Jerry Falwell Ministries paid $200,000 in 1994 and 1995.
regarding the conspiracy about Vincent Foster. These two troopers Roger Perry and Larry Patterson also gave information regarding the allegations in the Paula Jones claims.
Jerry Falwell Ministries 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.
It was subsequently revealed, however, that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, 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 Chronicles."
that Tinky Winky, a Teletubby, was intended as a gay role model.
(NLJ was not the first source to make this association; a 1998 Salon.com article had previously noted Tinky Winky's status as a gay icon.)
In response, Steve Rice, spokesperson for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment, which licenses the Teletubbies in the US, 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
Apart from those characteristics Tinky Winky also carries a magic bag which the NLJ article said was a purse. Jerry Falwell Ministries added "role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children."
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jerry Falwell said on 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.'"
After heavy criticism, Falwell apologized, though he later said that he stood by his statement, stating "If we decide to change all the rules on which this Judeo-Christian nation was built, we cannot expect the Lord to put his shield of protection around us as he has in the past."
Jerry 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."
In 1972 , the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation of bonds issued by Jerry Falwell Ministries 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 there had been no intentional wrong-doing.
According to Falwell, the survival of the University could be attributed to the work of Daniel Reber and Jimmy Thomas, as leaders of the non-profit Reber-Thomas Christian Heritage Foundation in Forest, Virginia.
It bought Liberty University's debt for $2.5 million, "a fraction of its face value." Sun Myung Moon" funneled $3.5 million to the Reber-Thomas Christian Heritage Foundation" to purchase the debt and prevent Liberty from going bankrupt.
...Penthouse Magazine 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.
In November 1983, Larry Flynt's pornographic magazine Hustler carried a parody advertisement of a Campari ad, featuring a fake interview with Falwell in which he admits that his "first time" was incest with his mother in an outhouse while drunk.
Jerry Falwell Ministries sued for $45 million in compensation 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.
This was upheld on appeal. Flynt then appealed to the Supreme Court, winning a unanimous decision on February 24, 1988. The ruling held that public figures cannot circumvent First Amendment protections by attempting to recover damages based on emotional distress suffered from parodies.
The decision in favor of Flynt strengthened free speech rights in the United States in relation to parodies of public figures.
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." - Larry Flynt
In 1984, Jerry Falwell Ministries was ordered to pay gay activist and former Baptist Bible College classmate Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle.
in Sacramento, California, Jerry Falwell denied calling the mostly gay 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 gay community center, the Lambda Community Center, serving "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex" communities.
Jerry Falwell Ministries appealed the decision with his attorney charging that the judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was made to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.
On April 17, 2006, the US Supreme Court refused to grant review of a lower court ruling that Christopher Lamparello's usage of the Internet domain Fallwell.com (note: the extra "L") was legal.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had held that Lamparello "clearly created his Web site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to steal customers".
and is critical of Falwell's views on homosexuals.
Previous to this, "Falwell's attorneys have fought over domain names in the past" with a man turning 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 both cases.
On July 31, 2006, Cable News Network's (CNN) 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," "marking the third time in eight days that CNN had devoted airtime to those claiming that the ongoing Mideast violence signaled the coming of the Apocalypse."
Jerry Falwell was interviewed claiming, "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 evangelicals."
In 1999, Jerry Falwell declared the Antichrist would probably arrive within a decade and "Of course he'll be Jewish." After anti-Semitism charges Falwell apologized and explained that he was simply expressing the theological tenet that the Antichrist and Christ share many attributes.
with a viral infection, discharged, and then re-hospitalized on May 30, 2005, in respiratory arrest. President George W. Bush contacted Falwell to "wish him well."
He was subsequently released from the hospital and returned to Jerry Falwell Ministries. Later in 2005, a stent was implanted to treat a 70% blockage in his coronary arteries.
On May 15, 2007, CNN and USA Today reported Jerry Falwell had been found without pulse and unconscious in his office about 10:45am after missing 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 Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell's Liberty University.
His condition was initially reported as "gravely serious" CPR was administered unsuccessfully. As of 2:10 pm, during a live press conference, a doctor for the hospital confirmed that Falwell had died of "cardiac arrhythmia, or sudden cardiac death."
at Lynchburg General Hospital at 12:40 pm, EST. Falwell’s family, including his wife Macel and sons Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Jonathan Falwell, were with him at the hospital.
Falwell's funeral took place at 1:00 PM EDT on May 22, 2007 at Thomas Road Baptist Church after lying in repose at both the church and Liberty University. Falwell's burial service was private.
It took place at a spot on the Liberty University campus near the Carter Glass Mansion, near his office. Buried nearby is the late B. R. Lakin.
After his death, his two sons succeeded him at Jerry Falwell Ministries. Jerry Falwell, Jr. took over as Chancellor of Liberty University while Jonathan Falwell became the Senior Pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church.
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 8th, one week before his death.
Rev. Falwell of Jerry Falwell Ministries who is one of the most successful of television pastors, left behind a wife of 38 years, three children and their spouses, and three grandsons.
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