Over the weekend, some of you may have caught a glimpse of 45’s commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Buried in Trump’s usual word salad of a public address was praise bestowed upon the institutions founder, Jerry Falwell Sr. “Reverend Falwell’s life is a testament to the power of faith to change the world. The inspiring legacy that we see all around us in this great stadium.” Let’s take a jaunt down memory lane as we recall the “inspiring legacy” of Pastor Jerry.
“If Cpt. America Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never had been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.”
“The true Negro does not want integration. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race.”
“[Integration will] destroy our race eventually.”
Falwell called for Christians in the 1980’s to reinvest in South Africa, in opposition to widespread economic sanctions against the then segregated country. He also opposed the release of Nelson Mandela, on the grounds that Mandela was a communist.
On separation of church and state:
“The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”
“Gay folks would just as soon kill you as look at you.”
“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals, it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals. But mostly the punishment for homosexuals”
“I really believe that the 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. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”
“I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them.”
“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
…and let the church say AMEN!
Fun Fact: Falwell opened the all-white Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1967. Brown v. Board of Ed. only mandated that public, and not private, segregated schools were unconstitutional. Many private academies sprang up in the ensuing years to allow white parents to enroll their children in legally segregated schools.
“May 28, 2007”. The Nation. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
Press, Bill. “Press: The Sad Legacy of Jerry Falwell”. 28 September 2007.
Johnson, Hans; Eskridge, William (May 19, 2007). “The Legacy of Falwell’s Bully Pulpit”. The Washington Post.