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Falwell and Race | jonmower.com

Falwell and Race

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I was shocked by the following passage from a recent article by Richard Hughes (Professor of Religion at Messiah College), the third article in his series on the Christian Right (link):

In 1958, four years after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, outlawing racial segregation in America's public schools, Falwell thundered from his Thomas Road Baptist Church pulpit, "If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made. ... The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line."

Later, he rejected the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as "civil wrongs," distributed FBI-generated propaganda defaming the character of Martin Luther King Jr., and attacked King as a Communist in a sermon he preached from the pulpit of his Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1964.

Then, in 1966, he side-stepped Brown v. Board of Education by establishing Lynchburg Christian Academy which the Lynchburg News described as "a private school for white students."

Falwell's school was one of literally thousands of segregationist academies established by white Christians in the American South to avoid compliance with federal law regarding racial integration.

Apparently Falwell's views evolved significantly during the subsequent decades, but I was ignorant of his shameful reaction to the civil rights movement.

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