- His father and his grandfather were militant atheists, he wrote in his autobiography. He said his father made a fortune off his businesses — including bootlegging during Prohibition. [cool!]
- As a student, he was a star athlete and a prankster who was barred from giving his high school valedictorian's speech after he was caught using counterfeit lunch tickets his senior year. [shocking behavior! what a cad!]
- He ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents before becoming a born-again Christian at age 19. [you little rapscallion!]
- He turned down an offer to play professional baseball and transferred from Lynchburg College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.
- The fundamentalist church he started in an abandoned bottling plant in 1956 grew into a religious empire that included the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the "Old Time Gospel Hour" carried on television stations around the country and 7,700-student Liberty University, which began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971.
- He had once opposed mixing preaching with politics, but he changed his view and in 1979, founded the Moral Majority. The political lobbying organization grew to 6.5 million members and raised $69 million as it supported conservative politicians and campaigned against abortion, homosexuality, pornography and bans on school prayer. [good for you - making Momma proud!]
- In 1983, U.S. News & World Report named him one of 25 most influential people in America. [wow! America must be scary!]
- In 1984, he sued Hustler magazine for $45 million, charging that he was libeled by an ad parody depicting him as an incestuous drunkard. A federal jury found the fake ad did not libel him, but awarded him $200,000 for emotional distress. That verdict was overturned, however, in a landmark 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that even pornographic spoofs about a public figure enjoy First Amendment protection. [damn liberal court system!]
- In 1987, he took over the PTL (Praise the Lord) ministry in South Carolina after Jim Bakker's troubles. he slid fully clothed down a theme park water slide after donors met his fund-raising goal to help rescue the rival ministry. He gave it up seven months later after learning the depth of PTL's financial problems. Largely because of the Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals, donations to his ministry dropped from $135 million in 1986 to less than $100 million the following year. Hundreds of workers were laid off and viewers of his television show dwindled. [awww...poor Bakker and Swaggert gettin' caught swindlin' all them poor folks...I'll take over your racket!]
- He quit the Moral Majority in 1987, saying he was tired of being "a lightning rod" and wanted to devote his time to his ministry and Liberty University. But he remained outspoken and continued to draw criticism for his remarks. ['cause he couldn't shut up...even when he tried, it just made it worse!]
- In 1999, he told an evangelical conference that the Antichrist was a male Jew who was probably already alive. He later apologized for the remark but not for holding the belief. [see above]
- A month later, his National Liberty Journal warned parents that Tinky Winky, a purple, purse-toting character on television's "Teletubbies" show, was a gay role model and morally damaging to children. [what did I say]
- Days after Sept. 11, 2001, he essentially blamed feminists, gays, lesbians and liberal groups for bringing on the terrorist attacks. He later apologized. [what? space aliens aren't fault?!]
As a minor digression, it's interesting how the word "fundamental" was used to describe certain Christian groups like Falwell's Moral Majority. It basically inferred that they were a large group of voters who don't tolerate gays, non-white folks, people who don't think like members of a like cult...in my opinion. Now it's a word getting some negative press because of certain "fundamentalist" Islamic groups. And while many Islamic states have historically shared a hybrid church-state government, throw in the trend of American government getting to home base with our Puritanical roots, and we have a wonderful little board game of Risk all laid out for us. Thanks for helping making the world a more polarized place, Jer!
It's so sweet. These two factions wanting to destroy a global community and eliminate all non-believers...I'm sure it's just what Jesus and Mohammed had in mind.
Speaking of mind and coherent thought, I also wonder what Jerry and the Moral Majority would've done when had Reagan was in office and been grossly afflicted with Alzheimer's...would Ron and Nancy still find their support from Jerry's mob? For that matter, what did Jerry think about Dick Cheney's daughter, who happens to be a lesbian? Did that create a dilemma for him? Maybe he shorted out like so many AIs on Star Trek, where Capt. Kirk always "out-logicked" an alien supercomputer.
Speaking of supercomputers, I'm sure Kurt Vonnegut is staring down at from his celestial Tralfamadorian vessel and chuckling as ol' Jer is being stewed in order to make tallow for candles for the kids being served by the World Bank.
For more Jerry related material, check out the plethora of video material readily available on Youtube. I recommend the Pat Robertson-Jerry Falwell make out *parody* from Family Guy.