Jerry Falwell

Jerry Falwell

Influential American pastor and televangelist.
Date of Birth: 11.08.1933
Country: USA

  1. Jerry Falwell: An Influential American Pastor
  2. Founder of Liberty University
  3. Strong Beliefs on Family and Social Issues
  4. Political Influence
  5. Controversial Stance on Apartheid
  6. The Hustler Lawsuit

Jerry Falwell: An Influential American Pastor

Jerry Falwell was an influential American pastor and televangelist. Initially, Falwell belonged to one of the branches of the Baptist denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, but later joined the Evangelical Christians of a fundamentalist nature.

Founder of Liberty University

Falwell founded the Baptist university, Liberty College, in 1971. In 1985, the college changed its name to Liberty University. He also established the religious-political organization called "Moral Majority" in 1979, which according to Falwell had over 6 million members in the early 1980s. However, it was dissolved in 1989.

Strong Beliefs on Family and Social Issues

Falwell held patriarchal views on family, considering the church to be the foundation of the family and the center of community life. He vehemently opposed abortion, fought against the rights of sexual minorities, feminism, and secular education in schools.

Political Influence

Falwell was known for his consistent support of the Republican Party. It is believed that the "Moral Majority" played a significant role in Ronald Reagan's victory in the 1980 election.

Controversial Stance on Apartheid

In 1985, amidst the apartheid era, Falwell spoke out against economic sanctions on South Africa. He argued that apartheid would be a lesser evil compared to the potential alignment of South Africa with the Soviet Union.

The Hustler Lawsuit

In 1983, the pornographic magazine Hustler published a satirical interview with Jerry Falwell, in which he supposedly promoted the alcoholic beverage "Campari" and talked about having sex with his mother while intoxicated. This interview was a parody of a real advertising campaign for "Campari," in which famous personalities shared their first experience with the drink. At the bottom of the page, in small print, it was stated that the entire interview was a parody.

Falwell filed a lawsuit for defamation and the recovery of moral damages against Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler, and the magazine's distribution company. The defamation claim was dismissed, but the claim for moral damages was upheld. The case was later reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court's decision to grant damages to Falwell. The Supreme Court cited the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects the right to create caricatures of public figures.

This lawsuit, known as Hustler v. Falwell, was extensively depicted in Milos Forman's biographical film "The People vs. Larry Flynt."