Falwell's political activities are credited with the conservative groundswell in 1980 that put Ronald Reagan in the White House, and began the creeping American theocracy we're still dealing with 28 years later.
Judging from thousands of posts to various forums on the Internet this week, he was, shall we say, a very divisive man, especially for a minister of God, and was not universally loved.
I'll not say anything negative about him here. I'll let his own words speak for him.
On mixing politics and religion: "I want the members of Congress to understand... that the solution to America's serious moral and spiritual problem is not political. We're in need of a religious awakening."The man said so many outrageous things in the name of Jesus that even fellow Christian minister Rev. Billy Graham once rebuked him.
More on politics and religion: "The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country."
On the Antichrist: "If he's going to be the counterfeit of Christ, he has to be Jewish. The only thing we know is he must be male and Jewish."
Apologizing for the Antichrist remark: "I apologize not for what I believe, but for my lack of tact and judgment in making a statement that served no purpose whatsoever."
On the prophet Muhammad: "I think Muhammad was a terrorist. I read enough by both Muslims and non-Muslims, [to decide] that he was a violent man, a man of war."
On the 9/11 attacks: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad."
Again on 9/11, just days after it happened: "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.'"
On the BBC children's program Teletubbies: "As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children."
On banning prayer at college football games: "The NCAA has enough problems with drugs and crime and violence, sex and rape to bother itself with prohibiting prayer."
On AIDS: "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."And if he hasn't convinced you to become a Christian with all these messages of Christian love, maybe this will do it:
On feminism: "It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening."
On God: "God is a Republican."
On Jesus: "Jesus was the first American."
On Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I do question the sincerity of people like the Reverend Martin Luther King...."
On Desmond Tutu: "Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a phony."
On public schools: "I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don't have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."
On promoting theocracy: "If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth.... We need to pull out all the stops to recruit and train 25 million Americans to become informed pro-moral activists whose voices can be heard in the halls of Congress."
On geography, science and history: "The Bible is the inerrant... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history...."
On morality: "Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them."
On homosexuals: "[Homosexuals are] brute beasts and a vile and Satanic system [that] will one day be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven."
On being a Christian: "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."
"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."Curiously, Falwell called lots of people and groups "Satanic" and said they'd be going to hell. But he never made a public statement about Freemasonry, even when the Southern Baptist Convention was on a Masonic witchhunt back in the 80s and 90s.
In 1988, when Falwell was asked in a letter whether a Christian should be a Mason, his "position" on the question was answered by Rick Lawreson, his "theological correspondent": "I have enclosed a commentary addressing the subject of Masons. I would encourage you to take time to study this commentary so that you will have a proper understanding of the position that Dr. Falwell and this ministry [Liberty Home Bible Institute/Old-Time Gospel Hour] take with regard to this subject."
The printed commentary stated:
We appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance to you with regard to your inquiry regarding whether or not the Christian should be involved in Freemasonry.Baptist and Fundamentalist Christians who believe Freemasonry is Satanic took Falwell's wishy-washy response and the fact that he damned just about every other non-Christian or non-Christian group he ever heard of, and didn't badmouth Masonry, to mean that Falwell himself was a Mason.
Without doubt, the Freemason organization and especially the Shriners and their particular interest in providing medical assistance to children, both burned and crippled, is to be commended. These humanitarian acts of charity are certainly showing forth the character of a Christlike compassion....
It is unfortunate that there is not more charity being shown in today's society. Jesus Himself is our great example of One who willingly gave Himself compassionately to those who were in greatest need...
Unfortunately, there are some individuals who condemn others to Hell for belonging to the Freemasons. They fail to understand the passage: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). People are not condemned to Hell because of some organization that they do or do not belong to, but people are condemned to Hell because of their unbelief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal saviour....
Dr. Falwell has never belonged to the Mason organization and does not intend in the future to belong to the Mason organization. He feels that all of his time should be given over to the Christian service to which God has called him.
Dr. Falwell does not take a public stand concerning Masonry; but neither does he let this be the issue that draws a line between fellowshipping with other Pastors.
It's more likely Falwell knew that many patrons of his 24,000-member church and his television ministry were conservative Freemasons, and wisely chose not to attack a part of his "bread and butter" that kept him living large.
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