Falwell: Evangelicals back Bush on his values, not because of GOP

PLANO?Evangelical Christians support President Bush because of his values, not because he’s a Republican, Jerry Falwell told the 4,500 people gathered at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano Oct. 26 during the closing session of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s annual meeting.

“We couldn’t care less that Bush is a Republican. If (Bush) were a Democrat, we’d still be behind him because of who he is and what he believes,” said Falwell, the pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., and founder of the Moral Majority organization that mobilized millions of evangelical voters in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Falwell’s sermon drew the two-day convention’s highest attendance, estimated at 4,500. The SBTC registered a record 2,040 people, including 1,035 messengers.

Contending that “t1:country-region>America is on the rebound” and that Christian influence is unprecedented, Falwell left no doubt whom he would vote for one week before the Nov. 2 presidential election.

“The next president is going to appoint between two and four Supreme Court justices, and that’s going to be 20 or 30 years of stability in whichever direction. The federal marriage amendment ? we’re bringing that back up in January, and with Mr. Daschle (Senate majority leader) unemployed by that time and some others having the fear of God in their hearts, I believe we have a real good chance of defining the family as one man married to one woman on a permanent basis beyond the reach of any court ever in the future. I believe that.”

Noting his “yellow-dog Democrat” upbringing under a father “who would vote for the devil” if he were on the Democratic ticket, Falwell said, “And I’m not a Republican today; I vote Christian. I vote for the man or the woman who follows most closely what the Bible teaches.”

Christians must play the hand dealt them, and that leaves Bush as the only viable candidate, Falwell said, though he repeated several times he prays for a day when both parties offer Christian-friendly candidates for office.

Falwell said he told a group of wealthy Republicans the week before the Republican National Convention last summer that if the GOP ever decides to “get cute” and “run a pro-choice candidate who doesn’t know what a family is, just put it down: You are going to lose. I’m not making any threats. I’m just telling you the way it is.”

He told the same group that ultimately, Jesus Christ is the only hope for America. “And then things got real quiet,” he said.

Of the 2004 presidential election, he said: “We need to win this election with all the saints.”

He said if 80 million evangelicals would vote, “then everything will be OK.”

Falwell noted David’s question in 1 Samuel 17:29? “Is there not a cause?” speaking of King Saul’s army and its doubt at David’s courage to confront Goliath?in assessing today’s culture wars.

“I submit to you that America is in crisis. When our nation is about to expel God from the public square and the Ten Commandments from the schoolhouses and the courthouses and legalize same-sex marriage and take over the culture for a secular cause to create America into something she was not founded to be, that is crucial.”

A preacher for 52 years and a former independent Baptist before joining the Southern Baptist Convention in the mid-1990s, Falwell said he avoided politics early in his ministry.

At Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo., his professors taught him politics and religion don’t mix. Not until he met the noted philosopher and Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer in the 1960s did his views on Christian political involvement change, he said.

“Back in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, of my generation he was the guru of all the evangelicals. I’d never been to L’Abri (Schaeffer’s learning center in Switzerland) but I’d read everything Dr. Schaeffer had written and his sermons and lessons. And when he called me it just so humbled me that this guy, listening to my television program, would say ‘I want to meet with you.’

“We weren’t together very long until the meeting got a little negative, because he said, ‘You know, Jerry, you’re doing a great job preaching the gospel but you’re a total failure confronting the culture. I’ve never heard you mention abortion.”

Schaeffer predicted that abortion would lead to infanticide and euthanasia and that the country had entered a “death mode” and “would self-destruct barring prophets of God standing.”

“He convinced me he was right, though I thought he was a little bit overstating as an alarmist the case in America. Turns out he was right.”

After the 1973 Roe</

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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