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Jerry Falwell, 1933-2007


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I'm going to completely hold myself back from adding anything to this news for now.

Moral Majority Leader Falwell Dies

MSNBC staff and news service reports

Updated: 4 minutes ago

LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell — founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s — died Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.

Ron Godwin, Liberty's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, had been found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital.

Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but noted that Falwell had “a history of heart challenges.â€

“I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast,†Godwin said. “He went to his office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive.â€

Falwell, a television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority in 1979, became the face of the religious right in the 1980s. He later founded the conservative Liberty University and served as its chancellor.

Politically powerful

Born on Aug. 11, 1933, Falwell was not particularly religious until his sophomore year of college in 1952, when Falwell said he underwent a religious conversion. Instead of accepting an offer to play professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals, he transferred to the Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

Four years later, Falwell returned to Lynchburg, where he founded Thomas Road Baptist Church, which started with 35 members. Today, the church has 24,000 members and the annual revenues of all of his ministries total more than $200 million, according to his biography on Liberty Univeristy's Web site.

In the 1980s, Falwell saw his political lobbying organization grow to 6.5 million members, raising millions of dollars for conservative politicians and helping to elect Ronald Reagan president.

Falwell claimed that the Moral Majority galvanized Christians to vote for the first time and helped elect President Reagan and many conservative lawmakers in 1980.

In 1986 Falwell founded the Liberty Foundation as a way to broaden his base. Other victories attributed to his influence include the election of President Bush in 1988, several conservative Supreme Court decisions and influencing the creation of the powerful Christian Coalition.

Falwell dissolved the Moral Majority in 1989, saying that its political aims had been achieved.

But he re-entered the political arena by the mid-1990s, selling a video that accused then President Clinton of crimes and calling him an "ungodly liar."

Falwell delivered the benediction at the Republican National Convention in 1996.

Earlier health problems

Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized in February for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then hospitalized again in March with congestive heart failure after being found unconscious. At that time he had to be resuscitated by EMTs at the hospital emergency room.

A native of Lynchburg, Falwell and his wife, Macel, had three children and eight grandchildren.

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What an asshole he was. Let's not get all sentimental about this fuck, as though his death (duh, we all die sometime) makes all his stupid comments and ridiculous attitudes go away. He was as disgusting a human being as they come.

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals." - the Rev Jerry Falwell.

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I'm with you, of course, MarcO - I just thought I'd give myself an hour or two before... oh never mind, you're right, he was a stubborn, insecure goof who helped stubborn, insecure goofs hate other, typically disadvantaged people more easily and with the worst kinds of rationalisations.

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it was just a temporary pause for everyone to collect their thoughts and joy . Now, WE CELEBRATE :D :D :D


a sampling of some of Mr. Falwell’s greatest quotes:

“Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.â€

“Someone must not be afraid to say, ‘moral perversion is wrong.’ If we do not act now, homosexuals will own America!.. If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way…and our nation will pay a terrible price!â€

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexualsâ€

“I listen to feminists and all these radical gals - most of them are failures. They’ve blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That’s all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they’re mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They’re sexist. They hate men - that’s their problem.â€

“The whole (global warming) thing is created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stabilityâ€

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I wish this were the case. The percentage of confessing evangelicals in the US has gone up 10-15% in the last 15-20 years, though, and it's the politicisation of evangelicalism that Falwell was behind that's arguably behind this.

just curious ... is that a reputable source? im always very cautious when reading religiosity studies because of all the methodological issues in measurement and bias.

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You're absolutely right; polls are especially dodgy when it comes to religious adherence (is it about confessional identity? participation? membership? etc.).

My comment was an "eyeballed" one, based on all the figures that have blended together in my head from following evangelicals over the last dozen years, but I did find one article just now that bears it out.

In the broadest sense, according to Gallup polls, the number of persons in the United States who described themselves as either Evangelical or Born-Again between 1976 and 2001 fluctuated between 33 percent and 47 percent with a reasonable estimate being 35 percent of the population or just over 102 million people in 2003.[6] There seems to be a small long-term increase in the number of people reporting themselves in this category with 34 percent in election year 1976 and 45 percent in election year 2000. Using a different methodology and set of definitions, Barna Research has found that 41 percent of the population identifies as Born-Again using a broad definition, but only 8 percent accept all the tenets in a list of strict conservative doctrinal beliefs.[7]

So yeah, a little hazy still. Oddly, the sense among sociologists of religion in Canada and the States is that evangelicals tend to bring people in the fold less through conversion than by retaining their kids (which liberal churches don't manage to do as effectively, not surprisingly); maybe this is just about the next generation coming of age.

Canadian figures for evangelicals, though, haven't changed anything like they have in the States, according to people like Reg Bibby.

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Tinky Winky says bye-bye to Jerry Falwell

The former TV star recalls the trauma of being called gay by the conservative preacher.

By King Kaufman

May 16, 2007 | Eight years ago the Rev. Jerry Falwell warned parents that BBC children's television star Tinky Winky was a hidden symbol of homosexuality. Falwell died Tuesday at 73, and the world wanted to talk to Tinky Winky.

"They're calling again, again, again," he said by phone from his home in Islington, in London. A spokesman said the former "Teletubbies" costar got more than 100 calls from reporters in the hour following news of Falwell's death.

"Oh dear, it's easy to say the wrong thing here," he said. "Tinky Winky sad whenever someone dies, but ..." He left it hanging there.

In a 1999 article in his National Liberty Journal headlined "Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet," Falwell pointed out that Winky could be taken as representing gays.

"He is purple -- the gay pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle -- the gay pride symbol," Falwell wrote. "The character, whose voice is that of a boy, has been found carrying a red purse in many episodes and has become a favorite character among gay groups worldwide."

In the resulting media firestorm, gay-rights activists called for Winky to come out while Christian groups demanded the BBC fire him so that he couldn't, in Falwell's words, "role-model the gay lifestyle."

"It was traumatizing, really," says Winky, who now owns a holistic healing center and makes occasional appearances on British TV. "I'm a

very private Teletubby. I just wanted to get away, go over the hills and far away. But when you're 7 feet tall and purple with an antenna on your head and a TV screen in your belly, where are you going to go?"

Winky says he tried to contact Falwell after the article came out, but the evangelist wouldn't take his calls.

"I wanted to know why he didn't talk to me first," Winky says. "It's not like I'm hard to reach. Have the pinwheel call me. But really I just wanted to clap him on the head with Tinky Winky bag."

The star never has clarified his sexual orientation, insisting on his privacy and denying rumors over the years that he had affairs with

two of his costars on the 1997-2001 show, the male Dipsy and the female Po.

"We love each other very much," he says. "Big hug. But it's not like that. It was a kids show, know what I mean? And this Falwell guy and his followers wanted to turn us into something else. We weren't modeling a gay lifestyle and we weren't trying to corrupt anyone's kids. We were just kids ourselves, really. Give us a little Tubby toast or custard and a film of some kids washing clothes or

something, that's all we needed. We didn't give a shit about modeling a lifestyle."

Tinky Winky sounds angry. The wounds are still raw.

"I'm just practicing my craft, working for the kids, and all at once the tabloids are everywhere on me," he says. "I couldn't even go out. Was it a gay club? Was I talking to a woman? It was bollocks."

Winky chuckles. "I must say, though," he says, "without getting into too many details, we had a girl in the group who ran around this kids show yelling, 'Cooter! Cooter!' And I'm the gay one? Do me a favor."

Through a spokeswoman, Po declined to comment for this article.

Winky says the Teletubbies stay in touch, and he remains friends with both Dipsy, who owns a nightclub in West London where Winky is often seen, and Po. Winky says he and Laa-Laa never really got along during the show's run, but, "We're fine now. We've come to appreciate each


Asked about Falwell's death, Winky turns serious and chooses his words carefully.

"I'm not going to pretend I'm sadder than I am," he says. "There were late nights during the dark times when I wished to hear news like this. I'd be lying if I denied that. I don't feel that way anymore. I like to think I've grown over the years, gotten past all that pain.

"But at the end of the day, I'm not terribly sad, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Jerry Falwell was a divisive person, a hateful person, and what I've tried to be all about, in the Teletubbies days and since then, has been love. I've got to keep it that way. I don't want anybody feeling good about it when it's my time for Tubby bye-bye."

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I've been trying to be more charitable about him than he's been towards innumerable other people, but it's hard.

As an aside, I always remember hearing David Mainse (of 100 Huntley St.) one time quip, when introducing a guest who had some affiliation with the Dead, that "I don't know who this Grateful Dead is, but I do know that I'll be glad when I'm dead."

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And in contrast, Larry Flynt comes out looking like a saint :) .

Larry Flynt on Jerry Falwell

Upon hearing of his death, Flynt released the following statement to Access Hollywood:

"The Reverend Jerry Falwell and I were arch enemies for fifteen years. We became involved in a lawsuit concerning First Amendment rights and Hustler magazine. Without question, this was my most important battle – the l988 Hustler Magazine, Inc., v. Jerry Falwell case, where after millions of dollars and much deliberation, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in my favor.

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.

The most important result of our relationship was the landmark decision from the Supreme Court that made parody protected speech, and the fact that much of what we see on television and hear on the radio today is a direct result of my having won that now famous case which Falwell played such an important role in."

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falwell was pure evil, wrapped in the cloak of divinity. ding dong indeed!

Playing devil's advocate here ;) - he was certainly a protagonist in his own story; i.e., he was totally sincere in his beliefs and efforts - completely misguided, imo, but sincere. I think that's what let him share the stage with his opponents in ways that, say, Fred Phelps never could. He was at least that rational. Pity he had so little time for thinking through other people's convictions, though.

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