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Controversial Falwell dead at 73 PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 05:12
Controversial Falwell dead at 73

PEJ NEWS - Rick Barnes - Jerry Falwell the founder of one of the most effective political machines, the Moral majority, has died at 73.  Falwell died due to heart failure in Lynchburg VA this morning.

Controversial Falwell dead at 73

Rick Barnes

PEJ News
May 15, 2007


Falwell began his church , Thomas Road Baptist Church, with 35 people in attendance.  Today it has over 24,000 members.  Falwell never shied from controversy and used it to herd the faithful into line behind largely right wing republican candidates for political office and to elect president's Reagan, Bush Sr and Bush Jr. to office.  

Using well planned attacks on gay and lesbians through-out the 1980's and again in the 2004 election, Falwell managed to get people to the polls to vote against gay rights and in 2004 for State Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage.  At the same time they voted for George W Bush.  Its likely Bush would have lost the election were not so many people motivated by Falwell and others like James Dobson of Focus on the family to vote against the number one danger to America, gays and lesbians.

Falwell was an ardent supporter of the war efforts in Iraq and Vietnam.  It was during the Vietnam war that Falwell struck gold.  With flagging attendance in churches across America he had to do something to put people in the pews and keep the money coming in.

It was that that time a clever marketing scheme was developed.  The plan relied on creating new enemies at home.  America's confidence was shaken over Vietnam, people needed to know there was some good they could do, to focus and Falwell gave them an enemy right at home.

Falwell and his ministry made support for the war in Vietnam, condemnation of gays and lesbians, and abortion his issues.  It gradually scared people back to church.  Soon other churches joined his crusade attacking gays and lesbians, rolling back gay rights advances, picketing and lobbying against legal abortion and declaring anyone opposed to the war in Vietnam as anti-American.

Much of the zeal behind the anti-gay rights agenda in the USA today is the result of Jerry Falwell and that decision taken some 35 years ago. 

In 2005 Falwell supported US laws making filing for personal bankruptcy almost impossible for most ordinary Americans, despite he himself having been involved in large bankruptcies that saw Christian financial investors lose millions of dollars.  First in 1972 , The Securities Exchange SEC charged him and his Church with "fraud and deceit". This stemmed from the issuance of $6.5 million in bonds that were uninsured . Falwell and his Church were found guilty in 1973. Liberty University then filed for bankruptcy. Church investors lost millions of dollars in the case.

Oddly enough Falwell again was at the centre of another bankruptcy when came to the aide of fellow evangelist Jim Bakker in 1987 and takes control of PTL Ministry after a number of financial and adultery scandals. Falwell then took PTL into bankruptcy within months of taking over and resigns from the PTL board. Again, Falwell saw millions of dollars lost to largely Christian investors. Bakker went to prison for fraud and Falwell survives another bankruptcy, unscathed.

The number one reason for filing personal bankrupcy in America, Health Care costs.  Falwell never had a need to worry.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 May 2007 05:12
 

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