I met Jerry Falwell, Sr
. in the mid-1960s at a large gathering of preachers and educators in Springfield, Missouri. We were friends but not bosom buddies and during the succeeding decades we met at similar meetings and he came to Indianapolis in 1978 for a patriotic rally during my time in the Indiana House of Representatives.
When Jerry called Bishop Tutu of South Africa a “phony
” in 1985, and the media castigated him, I came to his defense in a column I wrote for USA TODAY
. That column started my career as a columnist that lasted for eight years until I refused to sign another agreement with the paper. Jerry gave a qualified apology which I think was a mistake.
At an unremembered location in the 1980s, our picture was taken with Jerry’s arm around my shoulders and he whispered, “Don, this will ruin you with our Baptist brethren.” He was referring to the attacks he was getting from our mutual friends over decisions he had made at Liberty University
and his Moral Majority activities—and I often agreed with his critics!
But Jerry was one of the kindest, sharpest, most generous, and most principled men I knew, and I write that having often disagreed with him. But that kind of disagreement didn’t affect our causal relationship.
Over the years, I have been to Liberty a few times, know many graduates, and Jerry’s right-hand man was one of my oldest and loved friends going back to our college days. He died this year and the world is poorer and Heaven richer because of his death.
Jerry Sr. is no longer running Liberty, but Jerry Jr. is and I’m afraid the younger Falwell inherited his father’s position without his father’s principles.
Jerry Jr. has overseen an amazing growth in Liberty enrollment to about 110,000 students with 94,000 online and has built a school of medicine and a school of law, all fully accredited. Their sports teams compete and often beat major secular universities. Jerry Sr. would be proud.
I am not impressed with Liberty’s accreditation or athletics, but that’s only my opinion.
Recently, the leftist media have relentlessly attacked Jerry Jr. for his peccadillos, practices, and policies. No doubt, most attacks are fake news but not all. Jerry wrote to Congressman Denver Riggleman (representing the Charlottesville area) promoting his reelection even though the county Republican Party
unanimously refused to support his reelection! Riggleman’s website makes no mention of the church, God, Christ, or the Bible and could be that of a pagan. He and his wife own a whiskey distillery.
It seems Riggleman officiated at the wedding of two homosexual men! Let me see if I have this straight: Jerry Falwell, that’s the son of Jerry Falwell, Sr., is supporting the congressman but the county GOP is not! Does that mean they are more principled than Jerry Jr.?
Seldom does a political party refuse to support an incumbent; moreover, let me remind you that there is a primary scheduled to decide who will represent the party. However, Falwell has already decided to support the whiskey-making, homosexual-supporting candidate!
Falwell’s letter to the congressman said nothing can be done about homosexuality until the Court reverses the law, but even then that law should be disobeyed. No one should support perversion whatever the law or consequences for breaking that law. Obviously, Jerry didn’t get his dad’s convictions, or character, or common sense. He suggests that Republicans must be “united and pragmatic” or they will lose the election. He forgot that, as a Christian, he must predominantly be guided by biblical principles.
In his own defense, Riggleman said, “it also comes down to love is love. I’m happy to join two people together who obviously love each other.” Gag! Hand me a barf bag. Love without truth is not love. I’m sure glad it is impossible to gag in Heaven.
Jerry, with his many talents, has become too political, too pragmatic, too safe. He is standing on the battlefield of the most combative and bloody of battles but has refused to grab the sword so skillfully and stanchly used by his faithful dad, to fight for victory.
He has decided to opt-out of the most controversial social/political/biblical battle of our day and let others do the fighting.
For sure, Jerry Sr. would not support a whiskey-making, homosexual-supporting congressman even if pigs learn to fly over the White House in close formation while whistling Amazing Grace in harmony.
It’s all distressing, disgusting, and disloyal!