Today In Gay History- June 19, 1983: Founder of the Moral Majority Jerry Falwell: “AIDS Is God’s Punishment For Homosexuals.”
June 19, 1983 – In Lynchburg, Virginia, hate-monger Jerry Falwell told his followers that “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals, it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
Falwell founded Lynchburg Christian Academy (now Liberty Christian Academy) in 1967 and Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979 which was the beginning of the LGBT hate groups of the day suck as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association .
By 1975, the Internal Revenue Service moved to revoke the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University, which forbade interracial dating (blacks had been denied entry until 1971). The decisions infuriated Falwell. “In some states it’s easier to open a massage parlor than to open a Christian school”, Falwell complained.
On his evangelist program The Old-Time Gospel Hour in the mid 1960s, Falwell regularly featured segregationist politicians like Lester Maddox and George Wallace. About Martin Luther King he said: “I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left wing associations.”
In speaking of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, he said, in 1958:
“If Chief Justice 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 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.”
In 1977, Falwell supported Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign, to overturn an ordinance in Dade County, Florida prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In urging the repeal of the ordinance, Falwell told one crowd, “Gay folks would just as soon kill you as look at you. Falwell also supported the similar “Brigg’s Initiative” that Harvey Milk helped defeat in California.
The Moral Majority became one of the largest political lobby groups for evangelical Christians in the United States during the 1980s. The Moral Majority was promoted as being “pro-life”, “pro-traditional family”, “pro-moral” and “pro-American” and was credited with delivering two thirds of the white, evangelical Christian vote to Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election. It is believed that Falwell’s close ties to Reagan also directly contributed to the Reagan administrations refusal to recognize AIDS.
Falwell also regularly linked the AIDS pandemic to gay issues. Amongst his many remarks over the years he is probably most known for statements attributed to him about a Teletubby being a homosexual role model for homosexual recruitment and stating that LGBT organizations angered God, thereby in part causing God to let the September 11 attacks happen .
In early 2005, Falwell was hospitalized with a viral infection, discharged, and then hospitalized again on May 30, 2005, in respiratory arrest. President George W. Bush contacted Falwell to “wish him well”.
On May 15, 2007, Falwell was found without pulse and unconscious in his office at about 10:45 a.m., after he missed a morning appointment, and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. “I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast…He went to his office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive” said Ron Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell’s Liberty University. His condition was initially reported as “gravely serious”; CPR was administered unsuccessfully.
Christopher Hitchens described Falwell as aa “faith-based fraud.” Hitchens took special umbrage with declaration that 9/11 represented God’s judgment on America’s sinful behavior; deeming it “extraordinary that not even such a scandalous career is enough to shake our dumb addiction to the ‘faith-based.'” Appearing on CNN a day after Falwell’s death, Hitchens said, “The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called ‘reverend’.” On C-SPAN, Hitchens made the comment that “if Farwell had been given an enema before his death, he could have been buried in a matchbox.