Thursday, May 17, 2007


It is hard today to recall how APPARENTLY hostile the environment was when Dr. Jerry Falwell began the Moral Majority in the 1970's. In Washington, liberals dominated the House, the Senate, and the Presidency...the US Supreme Court had just usurped the legislatures of all 50 states to approve abortion-on-demand for the first time in our history...Leftists ran wild on the universities, while Hollywood, triumphally confident in the post-Vietnam and post-Nixon era that "traditional values" had been rendered obsolete, churned out a steady river of works glorifying socialism, sex (so long as it was outside of marriage), drugs and rock and roll.

Against all this, what could one single preacher do? A rambunctious SOUTHERN preacher? "Don't make us laugh."

Well, they stopped laughing about the time in 1980 that Gov. Ronald Reagan surged past Jimmy Carter in the polls. They started crying on Election Night 1980, as Reagan took the Presidency and a raft of liberal icons (Church, McGovern, Bayh) were wiped out of the US Senate, which turned over to the Republicans for the first time since 1952. And they've been crying ever since.

Dr. Falwell's good-natured combativeness and knack for an incendiary phrase served to cloak the fact that he was a masterful media and political strategist. In today's Internet age, it is not appreciated that Jerry Falwell was the first, and most successful pioneer to marshall an "alternative media" against the titans of the MSM, awaaaayyyy back in the day. While the Big Three networks and the smug broadsheets deluded themselves into thinking they had a monopoly on opinion-making, Jerry Falwell (and a few other brilliant activists, like Phyllis Schlafly) used direct mail, UHF TV, then cable TV, and radio to construct an invisible and mighty army in the vast wastelands of flyover country. Those of us who recall the ashen faces of the network newsreaders and sputtering pundits the night of November 4, 1980, will always carry a debt of gratitude in our hearts for Dr. Falwell's devastating effectiveness.

I shall always remember Dr. Falwell's staunch defense of Israel, at a time when many American Jews were denouncing her at the swankiest parties and in the pages of the most respected Eastern magazines. He was a righteous gentile in the truest and best sense of the word.

In recent years the MSM tried to strike back at Dr. Falwell by seizing on a few off-hand remarks and blowing them up so as to belittle him as just a loudmouth Southern preacher. How petty, and typical. Here was a man who was a national religious and political leader, who had created a media empire, and founded an accredited university and a law school. Oh, and he raised three children who became a pastor, an attorney, and a surgeon, respectively.

Sure, just a loudmouth Southern preacher...Like spitballs off a battleship.

Just a few years ago, Dr. Falwell wrote:
"Early in his first term, I met privately with President Reagan in the Oval Office to communicate to our new leader a list of the major concerns of the so-called “religious right.” I was so impressed with his crisp and convictioned responses, making it very clear to me that he was as pro-life, pro-family, pro–national defense and pro-Israel as we were.

I left that meeting with a fire burning in my heart. In answer to prayer and hard work, God had given us a great leader."

That fire went out only just the other day.

Farewell, Dr. Falwell, we'll miss you.

No comments: