Falwell defends marriage, decries double standard in same-sex debate
By Allen Palmeri
March 2, 2004
ARNOLD – Jerry Falwell was debating a lesbian activist on the Sean Hannity talk radio show Feb. 19 when he let it slip—kind of on purpose—that he was short on time because he had to catch a plane to “First Baptist Church, Arnold, south of St. Louis," that night.
Was it any coincidence that 1,200 people filled the pews that night to hear Falwell speak as part of the 20th annual Real Evangelism Bible Conference? The chancellor of Liberty University and pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., knew full well that Hannity has an estimated 12 million listeners, some of whom live in St. Louis.
Sure enough, as his private jet touched down at a nearby airport in Illinois, KMOX Radio, “the voice of St. Louis," was eager to do an interview on same-sex “marriage." When Falwell, 70, arrived at the church and settled into the chair of Pastor Gerald Davidson, he reiterated much of what he said earlier in the day in quiet, gentle tones.
“Adam and Eve were the first created beings, not Adam and Steve," Falwell told the radio interviewer. “Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God ordained that a man should leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife. The Scripture has never endorsed any marital relationship but that between a man and a woman."
The KMOX interviewer failed to ask Falwell about one of his main points on the Hannity show, that being the “acceptable" lawlessness of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as opposed to the unacceptable lawlessness of former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Newsom is advocating illegal same-sex “marriages"; Moore was terminated when he advocated obeying the Alabama Constitution instead of a federal court order in defending the public display of a Ten Commandments monument.
The Pathway asked Falwell to compare the two.
“It’s a double standard," he said. “I’m a supporter of Judge Roy Moore, and he was accused of having broken the law. A federal judge ordered him to do something and he refused to do it. He lost his job. The mayor of San Francisco has broken California and federal law to ‘marry’ gay people. Nobody’s even recommended that he be fired."
Falwell came to the conference to encourage pastors to evangelize, but the homosexual agenda was impossible to ignore. Jerry Johnston, pastor of First Family Church in Overland Park, Kan., set the stage for Falwell that afternoon by raising the issue in his message. Falwell was bound to say something, and he chose to put it directly into his introduction.
He read an article by Linda Harvey of www.missionamerica.com that warned of a homosexual agenda directed toward children that would extend far beyond same-sex “marriage" to an overall societal perversion.
“The point is, she concludes, with aggressive, well-funded homosexual activists already in key positions of influence in the media, education, academia and entertainment, gay marriage will be their turnkey to launch a brave, new world for kids," Falwell said. “Too bad so many of our children will have no choice but to live there."
The answer lies in part with www.onemanonewoman.com. That is a petition for the Federal Marriage Amendment that would help thwart the homosexual agenda. With homosexual activism now exploding in such states as New Mexico and Massachusetts as well as in California, President Bush came out in favor of the amendment Feb. 24. The president’s support could very well trigger a process that leads to a two-thirds vote of approval in both houses of Congress and a majority vote of three-fourths of the state legislatures, Falwell said.
“I think we can do it," Falwell said. “When that is done, it will be beyond the reach of any future judge or supreme court or legislature or mayor or governor. It will be the law of the land forever."
America is in the mess it is in, Falwell said, because her pastors have not been as effective as they need to be in evangelism. He held up a copy of The Pathway to the throng as evidence, pointing to front-page article on Missouri’s 30-year downward trend in baptisms.
“That’s got to change," Falwell said. “You know why we’re losing the same-sex ‘marriage’ issue, the abortion issue and all the rest? Because we’re losing the soul-winning issue."
For 48 years, Falwell has seen to it that his church wins souls. He talked about his passion to win his city for Christ, explaining that it motivated him to work especially hard the first year as the church grew from 35 people to 864. He then posed a question.
“How many pastors do you know who are aggressive, personal soul winners?"
His closing prayer was a sermon in and of itself.
“Oh Lord," Falwell prayed, “let every song we sing, every prayer we offer, every lesson we teach, every sermon we preach, every conversation we engage in have as its ultimate goal sharing the Gospel, sowing the seed, telling people how to be saved, for sure, forever."
Davidson marveled at the energy of his longtime friend. He noted that Liberty University, founded in 1971, has a goal of growing from 15,000 students on campus to 25,000, and 25,000 more off campus, in 12 years.
In 12 years the chancellor would be 82. There is no talk of retirement. He currently preaches an average of 25 messages a week.
Falwell is thrilled to report that a new law school will be opening in August. It will start with 100 students and hopefully expand to 450 in three years. The goal is to attack judicial activism.
“We are appealing to young men and young ladies who are committed to both the Bible and the American Constitution," Falwell said. “We want to train lawyers for the legislatures, for the judges’ benches—hopefully a Supreme Court justice one day.
“We’re training pastors, missionaries, evangelists, businessmen and women, educators, journalists and now lawyers. We need all of that — preachers to declare the truth, lawyers to make good laws."
Davidson said the conference was a success in that once again nationally known speakers and musicians ministered to Missouri Baptists. Besides Falwell and Johnston, other speakers were Bailey Smith of Atlanta , Harold Danley of Elaine, Ark., Junior Hill of Hartselle, Ala., Ted Traylor of Pensacola, Fla., Ergun Caner of Lynchburg, Va., and Phil Hoskins of Kingsport, Tenn. Musicians included Danny Funderburk, Allison Durham Speer, Greater Vision and the McKameys.
Smith, a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the founder of Real Evangelism conferences, which flow out of principles in his book, Real Evangelism, first published in 1978. Arnold was the third in a series of five conferences this year. The first two were in Knoxville, Tenn., and Woodstock, Ga., and the next two will be in Charlotte, N.C., and Brookhaven, Miss.