by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
I have disagreed with Jerry Falwell many times in the last few years, particularly as he moved from a fundamental to a new-evangelical position in several areas, and as he joined the Southern Baptist Convention. But I agreed with what he said about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Here is what he said, in full, from the Washington Post .
By John F. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 14, 2001; Page C03
Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," said Falwell, appearing yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club," hosted by Robertson.
"Jerry, that's my feeling," Robertson responded. "I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."
Falwell said the American Civil Liberties Union has "got to take a lot of blame for this," again winning Robertson's agreement: "Well, yes."
Then Falwell broadened his blast to include the federal courts and others who he said were "throwing God out of the public square." He added: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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.'"
People for the American Way transcribed the broadcast and denounced the comments as running directly counter to President Bush's call for national unity. Ralph G. Neas, the liberal group's president, called the remarks "absolutely inappropriate and irresponsible."
Robertson and others on the religious right gave critical backing to Bush last year when he was battling for the GOP presidential nomination. A White House official called the remarks "inappropriate" and added, "The President does not share those views."
Falwell was unrepentant, saying in an interview that he was "making a theological statement, not a legal statement."
"I put all the blame legally and morally on the actions of the terrorist," he said. But he said America's "secular and anti-Christian environment left us open to our Lord's [decision] not to protect. When a nation deserts God and expels God from the culturethe result is not good."
Robertson was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said. But she released a statement echoing the remarks he made on his show. An ACLU spokeswoman said the group "will not dignify the Falwell-Robertson remarks with a comment."
Falwell is only half right. Yes, abortion and other sins are back of God's judgment. But God is also judging us for the weakness of our pulpits. We cannot have revival unless preachers give Hell-fire and Blood sermons and counsel the lost personally afterwards.
My friend, Dr. John S. Waldrip, gave the following comments:
Preachers who do not see and will not comment on the obvious connection between our nation's genocide of the unborn and the terrorist's actions of Tuesday need to resign the Gospel ministry.
This country is ill served by feminized wimps who stand on platforms every Sunday, but who refuse to thunder forth the judgments of God against a wicked and gainsaying nation.
God repeatedly judged Israel and Judah in days gone by for their wickedness and their sin, yet some would in sissified fashion now say, "We mustn't be harsh, John. We must be sweet and kind and nurturing."
That's nonsense and drivel. I commend Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for having the guts to reach the kind of conclusion every God-called Gospel preacher ought to reach and to speak their minds.
Would to God more preachers would do the same. When Pearl Harbor was attacked John R. Rice thundered forth, calling it the judgment of God upon a wicked nation that sold scrap iron to the Japanese so they could make bombs and weapons to use on the Chinese. But John R. Rice, a man of God whose tenderness and compassion could not be denied by anyone, was not afraid to blame America for Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. This was very courageous and prophetic. His sermon was "America Gets Back Her Scrap Iron" (in When Skeletons Come Out of Their Closets, Sword of the Lord, 1943, pp. 45-57). We need preachers to speak out on this terrorist attack as Dr. Rice spoke out after Pearl Harbor. Preachers ought to blame this judgment on America's sins.
Way to go, Jerry!
Dr. John S. Waldrip
Pat Robertson later waffled on these statements, agreeing with the press that Falwell's words were "inappropriate." This is typical of Robertson. But, thank God, Dr. Falwell has stood by what he said. We are glad that someone has spoken the truth.
Dr. Hymers' post-postscript
Tonight (9-17-01) Jerry Falwell also waffled! He apologized for telling America the truth! Are there no prophets like John R. Rice left in our land?