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Falwell: Evangelicals 'Energized' for Bush

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  • J.R.
    Falwell: Evangelicals Energized for Bush Jon E. Dougherty, NewsMax.com Wednesday September 1, 2004 The Reverend Dr. Jerry Falwell has long been a best friend
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2004
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      Falwell: Evangelicals 'Energized' for Bush
      Jon E. Dougherty, NewsMax.com
      Wednesday September 1, 2004
      The Reverend Dr. Jerry Falwell has long been a best
      friend to the Republican Party, as well as a tireless
      champion of traditional and conservative causes.
      In an exclusive interview with NewsMax, one of
      America's most influential evangelical leaders says
      the he expects this election to energize Christians as
      never before.

      Dr. Falwell believes this election is critical for the
      future of America - and that George Bush ranks with
      Ronald Reagan as one of America's greatest presidents.

      A minister as well as a conservative stalwart for more
      than 50 years, Dr. Falwell rose to national prominence
      in 1980 when Ronald Reagan embraced him and his Moral
      Majority as part of his conservative coalition.

      But life for Dr. Falwell is much more than politics.
      He is also the founder of Liberty University, a
      Christian-based institute of higher education in
      Lynchburg, Va. Since its beginning in 1971, the school
      has grown to become the largest "distinctly Christian"
      university in the world.

      Dr. Falwell took time during the week leading to the
      Republican National Convention in New York City, which
      he will attend "from the first gavel to the end," to
      talk with NewsMax about President Bush, the
      Republicans' agenda, conservatism, Liberty University,
      and even offering his thoughts on the Second Coming of
      Jesus Christ.

      NM: There has been some angst, some difficulty, within
      Republican ranks concerning some of President Bush's
      policies. How strongly would you gauge your support
      for the president?

      JF: I would gauge my support for George W. Bush right
      along side Ronald Reagan among one of the most
      endeared men among evangelical Christians in modern
      history.

      In the last four years, he has taken a bold,
      unswerving stand for the unborn; he has initiated the
      Federal Marriage Amendment; he has waged what I
      believe to be a most successful war on terrorism; he
      has been a man of his word; he and his wife Laura are
      a great example to Christian young people everywhere.

      I feel it is a must that he be re-elected.

      NM: Are other Christians mustering as much support for
      the president?

      JF: I don't believe there has ever been a more
      energized constituency of social conservatives than
      this time.

      I remember 1984, President Reagan's second campaign,
      there was a high energy level among religious
      conservatives. I believe it's just as high, if not
      more so, right now, whereas four years ago, there was
      a laxity in our camp. We didn't have a turnout like we
      should have.

      I think this November will be the largest percentage
      and head-count turnout of religious conservatives
      ever.

      NM: Have you heard from religious conservatives? Is
      this what they're saying?

      JF: I speak about 25 times a week and travel about
      300,000 miles a year. I speak to more pastors across
      America, I suspect, than any other one person. I think
      I have my thumb on the pulse of evangelical community
      more closely than anyone I know. And this is what I
      sense to be the case, in every part of the nation.

      NM: What are your thoughts on the so-called gay
      marriage amendment? Do you think the White House
      pushed strongly enough for its passage?

      JF: The president initiated the Federal Marriage
      Amendment and the president came out strongly for it.
      We lost 48 to 50 in the [Senate]. In September we'll
      do a little better, but the issue will come up again
      in January, assuming the president's re-election.

      I believe that during his second term we could get a
      two-thirds vote [for passage] in both Houses, and be
      on our way to 38 states ratifying. So, I think the
      president gave great leadership and will continue to
      do so.

      NM: Do you think Mr. Bush is on the right side of the
      stem-cell research debate?

      JF: I totally agree with the president's position on
      stem cell research. He has been reasonable, is
      allowing private research on certain existing
      stem-cell lines, but at the same time is not allowing
      the termination of embryonic lives. Most evangelicals
      and pro-life people I know feel very comfortable with
      the president's position.

      NM: The United States has had a long and close
      relationship with the nation of Israel. Do you think
      the Bush administration has been friendly to Israel,
      despite recent criticism of the Jewish state's
      positions over settlements and so forth?

      JF: The Israel issue is the stickiest one any
      president has to deal with. But I think if you were to
      ask the leaders of Israel today, they would tell you,
      'George Bush is our friend.'

      He has tried very hard to be fair with the
      Palestinians. He has found, as other presidents before
      him, that [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat is not a
      credible partner with whom to negotiate, because his
      word means nothing. So yes, I think the president has
      been fair to Israel. I'm a strong Christian-Zionist,
      and I feel very comfortable with the president's
      positions there.

      NM: Would a Kerry administration be more or less
      dangerous, in terms of dealing with the Middle East,
      terrorism, and the like?

      JF: I can only look at Mr. Kerry's voting record over
      the past 19 years, and he has been the most liberal
      senator in the Senate, and he's in the same Senate
      with [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-Mass.] and [Sen.] Hillary
      Clinton [D-N.Y.]. So that's making a strong statement.


      He, I think, is probably the most untrustworthy member
      of the Senate, and with would make the same kind of
      president.

      He is for and against every issue dealing with our
      safety, whether it�s the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or
      his dealings with terrorism. And now with the swift
      boat controversy � and that book becoming No. 1
      bestseller on the New York Times' bestseller list � I
      think the American people's confidence is eroding as
      they look at putting this man in position of
      commander-in-chief, being responsible for the safety
      of our children.

      NM: How confident are you about a second Bush term �
      do you think he will be more or less conservative?

      JF: I think the president will be the president in a
      second term.

      He will get probably anywhere from two to four
      appointments to the high court, simply on the basis of
      age and health. I think his appointees would be far
      more desirable than anything Mr. Kerry would put
      forth. And considering the fact that same-sex marriage
      is, I think, near the top of the agenda for the
      present court.

      Following the Lawrence case, which grants
      constitutional protection for sodomy, and looking at
      what the Massachusetts supreme court has done [in
      legalizing gay marriages in that state], I think we
      definitely need a president who will load that court
      with people who are committed to the constitution and
      to faith and family.

      NM: The United Nations had said something about
      monitoring our election so there isn't a repeat of the
      controversy of the 2000 election. How do you feel
      about that?

      JF: Well, I'm just a Baptist preacher in Virginia, but
      if I were the president of the United States, I
      wouldn't issue a-one of them a [travel] visa.

      NM: Things seem to be going well at Liberty
      University. Tell us about the school's progress over
      the past few years and plans for the future.

      JF: Liberty University opened for its 34th year August
      25. We have slightly more than 20,000 students in our
      resident and distance-learning programs from 50 states
      and 80 nations. Liberty has about half of those on
      campus.

      We opened our school of law and a new school of
      government [at the beginning of the current semester],
      and we already train, as a liberal arts university, in
      almost every vocation and field.

      We are a distinctively Christian university, with all
      of our professors being committed Christians who
      believe the Bible to be the infallible word of God. We
      are committed to free enterprise and capitalism, and
      we're as conservative as Harvard is liberal. We had
      16,500 applicants for this year's freshman class, but
      only 4,000 openings, so the school is booming and our
      goal, in the next 15 years, is to have a university of
      50,000 students � 25,000 in the resident campus
      program and 25,000 in distance learning.

      We have a 4,400-acre campus, and about 2,000 faculty,
      staff and administrators, all of them committed
      Christians.

      NM: We hear a lot these days that many Christians
      believe that, based on current events, perhaps
      Christ's second coming is near. What do you tell
      people who ask you about that?

      JF: Well, Scripture is clear on that. No man knows the
      day or hour of His second coming.

      It is my feeling, and has been for the 52 years I've
      been a Christian, that we're to live every day as
      though the Lord were returning today�but we're to plan
      and work as though we had another 100 years, with the
      next generation in mind.

      The danger, if there is a danger in believing in the
      imminence of the Lord's return � and I do, is to
      become a fatalist, that certain things are going to
      happen regardless and there's nothing we can do about
      them. That isn't true. We're told to occupy until He
      comes. We're told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
      And we're given clear instructions about raising our
      children up in the nurture and admonition of Christ.





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