Jerry Falwell Down, James Dobson And Tony Perkins Yet To Go
In the world of those who abuse and market off the name of God, few were bigger than Jerry Falwell. This son of a drunken bootlegger and an atheist grandfather, seemed to spend his adult life trying hard to rebel from his family background by overcompensating with a "holier than thou" philosophy condemning the least of sins in others, but completely overlooking his own huge shortcomings. In almost every regard he was little more than just a latter day pharisee.
Falwell may have been genial in personality, but was largely a cartoonish joke. He often referred to himself as Dr. Jerry Falwell, although he personally held no such formal degree, but did have some honorary ones given to him, two of which are from unaccredited institutions including one from South Korea. This was ironic because he charged students a hefty sum to attend his mail order religious university, Liberty University, when he never bothered to secure such an education himself. But such was just one part of the absurd and outrageous hypocrisy of Jerry Falwell. Falwell rakes in about $16,000 per student in tuition costs from his college, which is one of his most profitable enterprises. Not bad for someone with no formal advanced degree themself.
Falwell was a tireless critic of abortion, homosexuality, pornography, or any other nanny state issue in which he believed that the role of government was in the bedroom's of the citizens. He constantly advocated for Christians to act politically rather than follow the Biblical example of Jesus and the early church followers who believed in the coming kingdom of God, not of some man. But Falwell only followed portions of the Bible he agreed with anyway. It was the ultimate in cafeteria-style Christianity.
Falwell was absolutely no stranger to controversy, expressing support for the evil of apartheid during the 1980's. But during the 1960's used his OLD TIME GOSPEL HOUR program to promote segregationist politicians such as George Wallace and Lester Maddox. Falwell often ended up in lawuits over various issues, on one side or the other. His church was found innocent of a"fraud and deceit" case involving the sale of $6.5 million in unsecured bonds brought by the SEC in 1973.
Fawell used $200,000 to help fund an 80 minute attack ad film on President Bill Clinton entitled, THE CLINTON CHRONICLES, in 1994, however one of two Arkansas policemen that Falwell paid to claim Clinton guilt in the Paula Jones affair was later disgraced when he lied to the FBI about an unrelated matter. Falwell later admitted that he was not sure of the accuracy of the allegations against Clinton in the film.
When Jim and Tammy Bakker fell into a huge scandal involving their televangelist empire, Tammy Faye Bakker at first acccusedFalwell of atempting to "steal" their ministry and take their property. But some later evidence suggests that the Bakkers eventually had little choice but to allow Falwell to get involved as a Christian theme park and other holdings fell into huge debt and Falwell raised $20 million to bail out the Bakker organization's holdings.
While Falwell often impressed one as slightly likable, he still had such huge faults and self righteousness that you could drive a truck through the holes in his own values which were about as holey as Swiss cheese.
No one wants to see bad happen to anyone. And certainly you cannot help but feel sorry for the family of Jerry Falwell. But just because he is gone from the scene of profiting off God and abusing the name of God to promote his political agenda does not mean that this is the end of this type of political preacher for profit. James Dobson and Tony Perkins are only too happy to have a bigger cut of this pie for themselves, and are only likely to step up their activity in 2007 and 2008.