Jerry Falwell died this morning…
Born in 1933, Falwell was the founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in his hometown of Lynchburg (Virginia). Starting this humble little church in 1959, with only a handful of congregants, he built a vast empire of media and political power.
Falwell founded Liberty University in 1971, as well as a conservative political action committee (the “Moral Majority”) in 1979 that is largely responsible for conservative Christian presence in American politics to this very day.
“You`ve got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops; and I`m for the president to chase them all over the world.
If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord.”
He was a controversial figure, not only among the liberal & conservative secular citizenry but also among believers across the theological spectrum.
Remembered for his bold and outspoken stances on many socio-political issues through the years, as well as for his strident evangelical fundamentalism in the face of an increasingly secularized religious/spiritual culture.
Jerry Falwell, among others, is credited with bringing about the vast politicalization of mainstream American Christianity – organizing a constituency (that had, for many years, remained mostly along the sidelines of pressing civic issues of the day) into a powerful political arm that would drastically change the course of both policy and representation over a span of decades…
I neither wish to laud nor condemn Mr. Falwell upon this final winding of his mortal coil – my words are written in eulogy not in praise.
The good & evil that men do lives long after their days upon the Earth are spent, leaving only memories to the dust of their bones – and so it shall be with Falwell.
He was a man like any other – full of vices, virtues, and vainglorious ambition.
Yet… should I even open my mouth to speak of this man – a man whom I have only known in second-hand media gossip and sound-byte?
Dare I pretend to encapsulate even a trifle of the years of his existence with my own middling prose?
For the departed Reverend Jerry Falwell, the truth of all things has been made plain to him now – in a way more altogether glorious and profound that I shall comprehend this side of the Grave.