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Falwell’s Legacy: Faith, Hate or Teletubbies?


— May 16, 2007

(CNN) — “When I have children one day,” Samantha Krieger of Dallas, Texas, wrote to CNN.com, “they will know of the legacy that Dr. Jerry Falwell left.”

But what will that legacy be?

To Krieger, who had personal connections to Falwell — she attended the college he founded; he officiated at her wedding; her husband was his nurse — the evangelist “was a great leader and hero.”

Victoria Kidd of Winchester, Virginia, believes the exact opposite: “The damage he has done to the Christian faith is immeasurable,” she wrote to CNN.com

Others would prefer to think that he has no legacy at all.

“He should be erased from every history book and media story,” wrote Brian Pippinger of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jerry Falwell was the evangelical minister who founded the Moral Majority, the Christian right political movement, in 1980. He died Tuesday at age 73, and it’s clear from the differing assessments of his legacy that he was a controversial figure.

I agree with this assessment:

Tinky Winky

“He made it comfortable for churches to get actively involved in politics,” says the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “His strategy will be continued by his would-be successors — a focus on hot-button issues like gay marriage (rather than significant moral issues like child poverty and health care), and an eagerness to make outrageous statements to the media, in order to build a religious-political empire.”

Many now remember him most for outrageous statements he made after leaving the Moral Majority — in 1999, his house organ the National Liberty Journal warned parents that the Tinky Winky TV character was secretly gay and morally dangerous; in 2001, he blamed the September 11 terrorist attack on “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.”

Details here from CNN.


(CNN) — “When I have children one day,” Samantha Krieger of Dallas, Texas, wrote to CNN.com, “they will know of the legacy that Dr. Jerry Falwell left.”

But what will that legacy be?

To Krieger, who had personal connections to Falwell — she attended the college he founded; he officiated at her wedding; her husband was his nurse — the evangelist “was a great leader and hero.”

Victoria Kidd of Winchester, Virginia, believes the exact opposite: “The damage he has done to the Christian faith is immeasurable,” she wrote to CNN.com

Others would prefer to think that he has no legacy at all.

“He should be erased from every history book and media story,” wrote Brian Pippinger of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jerry Falwell was the evangelical minister who founded the Moral Majority, the Christian right political movement, in 1980. He died Tuesday at age 73, and it’s clear from the differing assessments of his legacy that he was a controversial figure.

I agree with this assessment:

Tinky Winky

“He made it comfortable for churches to get actively involved in politics,” says the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “His strategy will be continued by his would-be successors — a focus on hot-button issues like gay marriage (rather than significant moral issues like child poverty and health care), and an eagerness to make outrageous statements to the media, in order to build a religious-political empire.”

Many now remember him most for outrageous statements he made after leaving the Moral Majority — in 1999, his house organ the National Liberty Journal warned parents that the Tinky Winky TV character was secretly gay and morally dangerous; in 2001, he blamed the September 11 terrorist attack on “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.”

Details here from CNN.

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