Jerry Falwell, who took his Final Taxi at 73, was a fundamentalist preacher who made evangelical Christianity a political force as never before in American history.
He was given to statements that other segments of the citizenry regarded as outrageous, such as “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew” (he later took it back) and blaming the attacks of September 11, 2001, on God’s wrath at the American Civil Liberties Union and gays (he later took that back, too). He even accused Tinky Winky of the children’s television show “Teletubbies” of being gay; in that indictment he persevered.
Yet for all his bluster, Falwell was a potent politico-religious organizer, and no matter how offensive or absurd his rhetoric, politicians feared to cross him.Falwell established the Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1956 where he was pastor for over 50 years. He founded Liberty University in 1971 and oversaw its rise to prominence as the largest evangelical University in America.