LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell — founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s — was in “gravely serious” condition Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.
Ron Godwin, Liberty's executive vice president, said Falwell was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but “he has a history of heart challenges.”
“I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast,” Godwin said. “He went to his office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive.”
A hospital spokeswoman said she had “no information to release at this time” on Falwell.
Falwell, a television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority in 1979, became the face of the religious right in the 1980s. He later founded the conservative Liberty University and serves as its chancellor.
In the 1980s, Falwell saw his political lobbying organization grow to 6.5 million members, raising millions for conservative politicians.
Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then hospitalized again a few weeks later with congestive heart failure after being found unconscious. At that time he had to be resuscitated by EMTs at the hospital emergency room.
"Heart challenges" is a beautiful example of misleading religious euphemism. A brief history of the world according to Jerry Falwell:
“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
“I do not believe the homosexual community deserves minority status. One’s misbehavior does not qualify him or her for minority status. Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc., are God-ordained minorities who do indeed deserve minority status.”
“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah’s chariotters.”
“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’” — Falwell assigning blame for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
UPDATE: God's Little Goatfucker is dead. And his lack of common decency extended all the way to the bitter end; he didn't even suffer a long, slow, painful death.