Born: 11 August 1933
Died: 15 May 2007
Birthplace: Lynchburg, Virginia
Best known as: Founder of the Moral Majority
Jerry Falwell was the evangelical minister who founded the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia (1956) and gained national prominence through television and radio on the Old Time Gospel Hour. In the late 1970s he became active in politics, founding and leading the Moral Majority, a lobbying group made up of conservative Christians. Falwell also founded Liberty University (originally called Lynchburg Baptist College) and headed a variety of educational organizations that include a theological seminary and a correspondence school. Outspoken and charismatic, his sometimes controversial opinions often made national headlines. In 2001 he was vilified in the press for blaming terrorist attacks in the United States on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union and People For The American Way, saying "I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" He later amended his statements, saying that secularization had "created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812." Falwell died in 2007 after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University.
Extra credit: Falwell famously sued Hustler publisher Larry Flynt over a 1983 cartoon. The incident was depicted in the 1996 feature film The People v. Larry Flynt.
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