Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell dies at 73 years old


I was about 9 years old when I joined the Moral Majority. I filled in a form, sent it into the main office in Lynchburg, Virginia and there it was. I sent some money...I think it was $9.

I got a card back, not lamenated but that was ok. I was interested in being Republican (I debated in favor of Ford in a classroom project at school in a little exercise) and I really believed in President Ford the way that only small kids can.

Well, I expected to get political tracts in the mail, as well as religious ones. This is why I didn't tell my parents I was doing it before I did. And there were some religious things that came. There were some political mailers. But there really was an overwhelming amount of requests for money. Alright, the Moral Majority was a PAC.

Even as a kid I knew that was a big part of what they did. And I sent the few dollars I saved up from allowance and the like (not all but some). I thought it was a kind of duty. But then one day I received another request for money almost immediately after I sent out my few dollars to the group in a recent request (a big appeal). I knew Republicanism had a lot to do with Moral Majority (remember, this stuff was all new at the time), so I usually tried to send something.

But this particular mailer was not signed from the Rev. Falwell. It was signed from some secretary at Moral Majority. The mailer said the office was soliciting funds from members to throw Rev. Falwell a "surprise party" for some occasion (I think it was a birthday). Well, as a kid of about 10 by this time, even I knew I had been took. In that one mailer, I was entirely satisfied that this Moral Majority movement was not a straight deal. I stayed Republican after that (until just a few years ago), but left the Moral Majority, et. al. in the rearview mirror in writing several times (they kept sending requests for money) sometime during 1976 or 77.

I reasoned that you can't argue in one breath about how important it was to raise every dollar for "the cause" and then turn around in the next and the same organization throw the same fervor into a cake and an office party for someone who was supposed to be a serious leader.

Disenchantment? Yes.

Even a kid knows that one.
And, oh yeah, I remember quite clearly the letter said it was a "surprise party," so no one should tell the Rev. Falwell. This was on a form letter.

I know the Rev. Falwell did some good works in his life. He founded Liberty University. I am sure he believed in what he did. His church did some very good things. His ministry has apparently helped many people.

Certainly, a lot of people followed Rev. Falwell. I even believed in him at one time. I did agree with him about supporting President Reagan. I definitely believed in his support of President Ford. But that was really about it.
I disagreed with him a great deal, in general, as I got older. An engaging person, with great conviction and persuasiveness, he is gone at 73 years old. He was very controversial and left a legacy that will probably be debated for some time.

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