Jerry Falwell

Jerry Falwell Biography.com

Minister, Radio Talk Show Host, Evangelist, Pastor, Television Personality(1933–2007)
Jerry Falwell is a religious leader, political activist and television evangelist. He restarted The Moral Majority Coalition in 2004.

Synopsis

Jerry Falwell was born August 11, 1933, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Shortly after graduation, he began the Old Time Gospel Hour, a radio and television program. He founded the Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1967 and Liberty Baptist College in 1971. By the end of the 1970s, he formed the Moral Majority, resigning as its president in 1987. He restarted it as The Moral Majority Coalition in 2004.

Early Life

Religious leader, political activist and television evangelist Jerry Falwell was born on August 11, 1933, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Reverend Jerry Falwell was a leading force behind in the political rise of the religious right in the 1980s and the founder of the Moral Majority, a fundamentalist Christian political organization. Raised listening to the Old-Fashioned Revival Hour on the radio, he graduated from Baptist Bible College in 1956.

Shortly after graduation, Jerry Falwell established the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg. Also around this time, he began the Old Time Gospel Hour, a religious radio and television program. Besides preaching the gospel, Falwell wanted to build a Christian educational system. He founded the Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1967 and Liberty Baptist College, which now known as Liberty University, in 1971.

Moral Majority

By the end of the 1970s, Jerry Falwell turned his attentions toward American politics, forming the Moral Majority. The organization worked to advance its conservative pro-life and pro-family agenda. Mobilizing religious voters, the Moral Majority threw its support behind Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Reagan won, and many believed that Falwell and the religious right had helped secure his victory. Falwell resigned as president of the Moral Majority in 1987, and the organization was dissolved two years later. At the time, he told The New York Times that "our mission is accomplished."

Along with his political activities, Jerry Falwell created a Christian media empire. In 1995, he started the National Liberty Journal, a monthly publication for evangelical Christians. Falwell went on to create the Liberty Channel, a satellite-based network, in 2002, which offers a variety of content - from entertainment to news - all from a Christian perspective. An author of more than a dozen books, he also shared his faith and ideas through such works as Champions for God (1985) and The New American Family (1992).

Controversy

Over the years, outspoken Jerry Falwell has offended numerous groups and individuals and has been in the middle of many media storms for sharing his particular religious and political point of views. In 1999, he caused a stir when he questioned the sexuality of a character on Teletubbies, a children’s television program and warned parents against letting their children watch the show. In 2001, Falwell said several groups, including gays and feminists, were partially to blame for September 11th terrorist attacks. He later apologized. The next year Falwell angered many Muslims when he reportedly described the prophet as a “terrorist” during an interview for 60 Minutes.

Jerry Falwell restarted his political organization as The Moral Majority Coalition in 2004, working to keep the evangelical movement as a strong force in politics. In his later years, he also devoted much of his time to Liberty University. Falwell faced health problems in 2005 and was hospitalized twice that year. He died on May 15, 2007, a short time after being discovered unconscious in his office at the school.

Jerry Falwell was married to his wife Macel for 49 years. The couple had three children: Jerry, Jr., Jeannie, and Jonathan.

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