|August 11, 1933
||Jerry Falwell, along with his twin brother Gene, is born in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Jerry lives almost his entire life in Lynchburg.
|June 19, 1956
||Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Chuch is founded - a break-away group from the church
where Jerry was saved.
||Falwell continues to denounce civil rights leaders, although he claims to have changed
his mind about segregation and racism in the early 1960s.
||Falwell sets up a racially segregated "Christian" school to avoid public
school desegregation, and is denounced by local religious leaders.
||Falwell begins his "Old-Time Gospel Hour" weekly television and radio broadcasts.
||Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church is finally desegregated.
||Falwell establishes the Lynchburg Baptist College, later to be renamed the Liberty
||The Securities and Exchange Commission charges Falwell's church with "fraud
and deciet" in the issuance of $6.5 million in unsecured church bonds. Falwell
admits that the SEC is "technically" correct, but a biography of Falwell
written by his staff claims that his church wins the suit and is cleared of the charges.
This is a lie and the church's finances are put in the hands of five local businessmen
to settle matters.
||Falwell is recruited by far-right activists
Howard Phillips, Ed McAteer and Paul Weyrich to form and lead the Moral Majority,
a vehicle for bringing fundamentalist Protestants into the Republican Party for the
purpose of defeating President Jimmy Carter.
|January 22, 1980
||Falwell attends a White House prayer breakfast with Jimmy Carter. He later lies about
asking the president why he has "well known practicing homosexuals" on
his staff, getting the answer that Carter considers himself the president of all
||The Moral Majority begins advocating for constitutional
amendments banning abortion and restoring school-sponsored prayer. The group also
demands government aid to private religious education.
||Falwell announces a drive to register 1 million
new voters before the November elections.
||Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry
Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell
denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches "brute beasts"
and "a vile and Satanic system" that will "one day be utterly annihilated
and there will be a celebration in heaven."
When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it.
Sloan did, Falwell refused to pay, and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed,
with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost
again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.
||Reports from the Federal Election Commission
show that Falwell's "I Love America Committee," a political action committee
formed in 1983, was a flop. The PAC raised $485,000 in its first year--but spent
$413,000 to do so.
||Falwell apologizes to a Jewish group for seeking
a "Christian" America. From now on, he says, he will use the term "Judeo-Christian."
||Falwell holds a Washington news conference
to announce that he is changing the name of the Moral Majority to the Liberty Foundation.
The new name never catches on and is soon abandoned.
||The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell
$6,000 for illegally transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his religious
ministry to political action committees.
Falwell writes in a letter attacking Surgeon General C. Everett Koop that homosexuals:
have expressed the
attitude that they know they are gong to die and they are gong to take a many people
with them as they can.
||Falwell tells reporters he is stepping down
as head of the Moral Majority and retiring from politics. "From now on, my real
platform is the pulpit, not politics," he says at a news conference.
||The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a $200,000
jury award to Falwell for "emotional distress" he said he suffered because
of a Hustler magazine parody.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, usually a Falwell favorite, wrote the unanimous
opinion in Hustler v. Falwell, ruling that the First Amendment protected the parody.
||Falwell announces that the Moral Majority will
disband and shut down its offices.
||In the wake of Bill Clinton's election to the
presidency, Falwell mails fund-raising letters nationwide asking people to vote on
whether he should reactivate the Moral Majority. He later refuses to say how much
money the effort raised and tells reporters he has no intention of reactivating the
||The Internal Revenue Service determines that
funds from Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political
action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and revoked the Old Time
Gospel Hour's tax-exempt status for 1986-87.
||Despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop
referring to America as a "Christian nation," Falwell gives a sermon saying,
"We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation.
We must take back what is rightfully ours."
||Falwell announces he will not reactivate the
Moral Majority but will instead do political work through a group called the Liberty
||Falwell announces the formation of a new group,
Mission America, which he claims will mobilize like-minded clergy across the
country. Falwell describes the group as a "personal ministry" and says
it will have no budget or staff. Nothing more is heard from it.
||Falwell endorses former Iran-Contra figure
Oliver North for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia. Falwell glosses over North's legal
problems, saying they happened "in the past."
||Falwell is criticized for using his "Old
Time Gospel Hour" to hawk a scurrilous video called "The Clinton Chronicles"
that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton - for
example that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies
Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence was later found that Falwell
helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest
||Falwell hosts a "Washington for Jesus"
rally in the nation's capital where he holds a mock trial of America for engaging
in seven deadly sins: persecution of the church, homosexuality, abortion, racism,
occultism, addictions and HIV/AIDS (acronym: PHAROAH). He declares the nation guilty
"of violating God's law...."
||Falwell announces plans to hold a series of
"God Save America" rallies in evangelical churches all over America to
stop the United States from entering a "post-Christian" era.
||Falwell sponsors a pastors' briefing in Washington,
during which he threatens to form a new political party if the Republicans waver
on opposing legal abortion.
||Falwell announces a new plan to urge fundamentalist
churches to intervene in partisan politics. He vows to send sample sermons endorsing
candidates for pastors to read in their churches and says he has already done this
in the Virginia attorney general's race. Falwell drops the plan after being reported
to the IRS by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
||Falwell pleads for funds for a new group, the
National Committee for the Restoration of the Judeo-Christian Ethic. In a
fund-raising letter, he promises to "get back in the ring" and be a "spiritual
George Foreman." He promises to register 4 million new voters and mobilize 50,000
pastors. After publishing a couple of fund-raising letters, the group is never heard
||Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group
representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University's
The donation, and several Falwell appearances at Moon conferences, raised eyebrows
because Moon claims to be the messiah sent to complete the failed mission of Jesus
Christ, a doctrine sharply at odds with Falwell's fundamentalist Christian theology.
||Falwell accepts a $70-million donation from
insurance magnate Art Williams for his debt-ridden Liberty University. Falwell says
the contribution will end Liberty's financial worries and free him to focus on politics
Confronted on national television with a
controversial quote from America Can Be Saved!, a published collection of
his sermons, Falwell denies having written the book. In the 1979 book, Falwell wrote,
I hope to 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.
What a happy day that will be!
Despite Falwell's denial, the book's publisher
confirms that Falwell wrote the book.
In a fund-raising letter, Falwell announces
plans to expand his ministry in Lynchburg, Va., and to
myself to use my God-given skills as a national spokesman for morality and return
to the moral/political arena....[W]ith God's anointing and your prayerful support,
you will soon think I am omnipresent.
||Falwell tells a pastors' conference in Kingsport,
Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and "of course
he'll be Jewish."
||Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule
after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a "parents alert" warning
that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children's show "Teletubbies,"
might be gay. (Americans United was responsible for releasing the information to
the national press.)
||Falwell begins to enter politics again. Backed
by $1 million in contributions from conservative business interests, he claims he
will register millions of conservative Christian voters in time for the November
election. He readily admits that his goal is to help elect Texas Gov. George W. Bush
and other Republican candidates.