Jerry Falwell

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Falwell was one of twin brothers born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Helen and Carey Hezekiah Falwell.[2] His father was an entrepreneur and onetime bootlegger who was agnostic.[2] His grandfather was a staunch atheist.[2][3] Falwell married the former Macel Pate on April 12, 1958. The couple had two sons and a daughter (Jerry Falwell, Jr., a lawyer; Jonathan Falwell, a pastor; Jeannie, a surgeon).

He graduated from Brookville High School in Lynchburg, Va. He graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in 1956. This Bible college was unaccredited until 2001.[4] Falwell was eventually awarded three honorary doctoral degrees, and he sometimes used the title "doctor". The honorary doctorates were Doctor of Divinity from Tennessee Temple Theological Seminary,[5] Doctor of Letters from California Graduate School of Theology, and Doctor of Laws from Central University in Seoul, South Korea.[6]

Associated organizations

Thomas Road Baptist Church

In 1956, at age 22, Falwell founded the Thomas Road Baptist Church of Lynchburg, (TRBC) where he served as pastor. The Church went on to become a megachurch, and is now run by Jerry Falwell's son Jonathan Falwell, who serves in the same capacity as his father.[7][8]

Liberty University

In 1971, Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University, a Christian liberal arts university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty University has approximately 62,000 students of whom about 12,000 are residential students and 50,000 are enrolled online.

Moral Majority

In 1979, Falwell founded the Moral Majority, which became one of the largest political lobby groups for evangelical Christians in the United States during the 1980s.[9] The Moral Majority was founded as being "pro-family", "pro-life", "pro-defense" and pro-Israel.[5] The group is credited with delivering two thirds of the white, evangelical Christian vote to Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election.[10][11] During his time as head of the Moral Majority, Falwell consistently pushed for Republican candidates and for conservative politics leading Billy Graham, and other conservative Christian leaders, to criticize him for sermons about political issues that lacked a moral element.[9]

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