2001 September 13

Jerry Falwell Blames 9/11 Attacks on ACLU, Secularism


Fundamentalist Christian leader and conservative political activist Rev. Jerry Falwell charged on this day that the ACLU, abortion providers, gay rights activists, and the federal courts had “weakened” the United States and thus helped lead to the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. “The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this,” he said. Falwell made his comments on the 700 Club, a religious television show hosted by the conservative leader Pat Robertson, who told Falwell “I totally concur.”

These comments were among many in which religious fundamentalists blamed the ACLU, secularism — and later President Barack Obama — for tragic events and social change in general. On April 14, 2014, for example, Rev. Pat Robertson asked God to “deliver” the U.S. from President Obama.

Falwell became a major force in American politics in the late 1970s and 1980s as part of the new Religious Right, providing important support for President Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election and while he was president. Falwell’s influence faded after the 1990s, however. See the origins of the Christian Broadcast Network on October 1, 1961, which by the 1970s grew into a major part of the Religious Right movement.

Learn more: Michael Winters, God’s Right-Hand Man: How Jerry Falwell Made God a Republican and Baptized the American Right (2012)

Watch Jerry Falwell’s sermon on how to be a “Champion for Christ”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Rr668knXk

Read: William C. Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (1996)

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