Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell, 1933-2007

I'd be remiss if I didn't pay tribute to a personal hero and a man who greatly impacted the American political spectrum. It really hit me today when I learned of Reverand Jerry Falwell's passing. Still active in the ministry, it just didn't seem like his work was done when the Lord called him home. However, Falwell certainly did live a life to the fullest. As our nation's leading televangelist and the founder of the Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University, Rev. Falwell enriched the souls and minds of millions of Christians. A robust man with an even bigger voice - whether you loved or hated him - you usually heard him. And for what more could any preacher preaching the word from the hills of rural Virginia ever hope?

Falwell helped give unapologetic Christians a mainstream voice in American culture and in American politics. Starting the Moral Majority in 1979, it was no coincidence that the Republican messiah, Ronald Reagan, finally landed in the White House in 1980. Though other ministries fell even quicker than they rose, Falwell's influence continued to be felt for 3 decades as the South became a GOP stronghold, Congress went Republican for the first time in 50 years, and Bush after Bush won the White House. And every conservative politican on the national scene came to Jerry Falwell hoping to tap into the millions of like-minded and politically-involved Christian voters who valued his endorsement.

I'll wrap this up since I know many readers may not share my fondness for Falwell. But, all that aside, as he passes I think it's only fair to pay respect to one who had such a large impact. If you're a Reagan Republican, if you're a Gingrich Republican, you owe Jerry Falwell a debt of gratitude. Like it or not, he helped make them possible.


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