by Scoobie Davis
Falwell and his Sheep
I feel great about having confronted Hannity about the way in which Jerry Falwell was not only libeling then-president Clinton but stealing from his flock by hawking the phony Clinton Chronicles video to them through a fraudulent infomerical.
One thing I noticed when I watched Falwell's televised sermons is that he was great with both the carrot and the stick. Usually, the first half of Falwell's sermon entailed telling his flock how America was going to hell in a handbasket and how liberals groups (e.g., feminists, gays, or humanists) were behind it all. Falwell concluded the sermon by telling his flock that everything can be better by trusting him and voting Republican.
It's incredible how much open content Falwell had for his flock. Falwell once said that "Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions" (what a huge insult to Christians). I also remember Falwell saying that the first thing that they do for someone who has been "saved" is to register that person to vote--Falwell noted that the person is told how to vote. If you want to read an academic account of Falwell's relationship with his congregation, read Bob Altemayer's online book The Authoritarians. Also, Erich Fromm's Escape from Evil is also a good way to look at this dysfunctional relationship between the shepard and the sheep.
Falwell, like other bullies, loved to dish it out but couldn't take it. Falwell had not one bit of compunction about selling libelous videos such as The Clinton Chronicles and Bill and Hillary Clinton's Circle of Power (at a high markup to his flock) but he sued Larry Flynt over an ad parody. Back in the 1980's, Falwell sued a man who programmed his telephone to call Falwell's 800-number because his mother was bilked by Falwell (this was after Falwell had urged his sheep to jam the phone lines for a Democratic Party telethon).
It's great for America that Falwell is no longer around to mess things up. We just need to look out for more Falwell-bots coming out his diploma mill/fundy factory Liberty University (Tony Perkins is a graduate).
UPDATE: I almost forgot: another scam Falwell used to bilk people out of their hard-earned money was his relationship with Amway/Quixtar kingpin Dexter Yager. In exchange for generous contributions from Yager, Falwell spoke highly of the Amway/pyramid scam.
UPDATE II: I went to the library and skimmed Dinesh D'Souza's 1985 hagiography Falwell:Before the Millennium. It the kind of biography one would expect from someone who would write this.