Friday, May 18, 2007

Jerry Falwell

Tuesday, May 15th of this year as I was driving home from work, I learned of the passing of Reverend Jerry Falwell.

During his lifetime Falwell certainly said some things that raised a lot of ire. For example:

In 1980, he disclosed a conversation that he had with then President Carter in which he chided the President of having gay staff members. Later that year he told NBC News that he did not believe that GOD heard the prayers of Jews or unredeemed gentiles. He later denied making this statement after meeting with an American Jewish Committee rabbi.

Later that same year,Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented 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 so, Falwell refused to pay and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

In 1987 the Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.

That same year, he won $200,00 in a libel suit against Hustler magazine for publishing a parody article mocking him and his ministry. The next year, the Supreme Court of the United State overturned the award.

The Internal Revenue Service determines in 1993 that funds from Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour’s tax-exempt status for 1986-87.

In 1994 Falwell uses The Old Time Gospel Hour to hawk a video tape called “The Clinton Chronicles” that Falwell had spent $200,000 bankrolling. In the video Falwell is interviewing a reporter that has his features blocked by shadow. The reporter tells of being in fear for his life because he is exposing President Clinton’s dirty secrets. This "reporter" was actually one of Falwells staff.

One of the greatest accomplishments of Falwell’s life was the creation of Liberty University. But in 1997, the school was having severe financial problems. Falwell accepted a $3.5 million gift from a group that was a front for the Reverend Sun Young Moon of the Unification Church.

In 1999, Falwell tells a pastor’s conference in Kingsport, Tennessee that the Anti-christ prophesied in the Bible is alive today and is Jewish.

When my grandson was very young, he came to spend mornings at my house. We watched the Teletubbies. It was his favorite TV show at the time. Falwell speculated in 1997 that Tinky Winky, the Teletubbie that carried a purse was gay. Apparently Reverend Falwell was also a Teletubbie viewer.

Perhaps the most astounding words to come out of the mouth of Reverend Falwell occurred after 09/11 when he announced that it was America’s fault.

I have read a number of commentaries and blogs that have said some very awful things about this man. As a Christian I have no problem with folks having an opinion. I would not bother with this blog but for my opinion. However as a Christian I believe that GOD is the Judge of all men. I further believe that GOD's only begotten son JESUS died as a sacrifice for the sin of all who believe and accept HIM as the SON OF GOD. Please note that the word “sin” as I am using it, has to do with being apart from GOD, not necessarily the nasty things we do or say that affect others and affect other’s opinions of us.

Falwell had some wonderful accomplishments such as the Thomas Road Church and Liberty University. In his own way I am sure that he loved THE LORD. And I believe that in his own way he believed his version of the Word of GOD. He was no doubt a wonderful and devoted father and husband. He accepted JESUS into his heart as LORD and Savior. A common theme that runs through this thing called The Christian Church is losing sight of The Goal. Looking at all the negative things Brother Falwell did we can see that he took a wrong turn down a rough patch of highway. As attested by some folks that have commented on this subject. Later in his life Falwell did get out of the political and social arena and back on track of The Goal.

I feel that once you have felt the experience of being saved by the Grace of GOD through HIS SON JESUS and your life has changed, you should be as Paul says, an ambassador. In hindsight it is so easy to second guess what one would do if they were in Falwell’s shoes. However we all have grown up with different surroundings and situations that make us into what we are and what we become. May GOD accept the fact that he accepted JESUS as his LORD and Savior. Amen.

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