Some comments on the death of Jerry Falwell

News Leader, Springfield, Missouri/May 1, 2007

"Dr. Falwell's shadow falls across the face of the rebirth of conservative values in our nation, in the Southern Baptist Convention, and in the entire evangelical world. Only once in a generation will a man of his stature arise. We all owe him a debt of eternal gratitude." — Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

"Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation." — Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"I think the proper attitude at this juncture is to pass on our condolences and prayers. And we'll try to do the fixing in place in history a little later." — White House spokesman Tony Snow.

"An American who built and led a movement based on strong principles and strong faith has left us. He will be greatly missed, but the legacy of his important work will continue through his many ministries where he put his faith into action." — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Falwell's family at this difficult time." — Republican presidential candidate and Sen. John McCain.

"His life is a testament not only to the power of faith to move hearts, but to the strength of the American ethos that stresses the importance of citizenship ... He was a great leader, a person totally sustained by his faith but able to work with many people from many different backgrounds without imposing rigidity on anyone else." — Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"He was a man who set a direction. He was someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. We all have great respect for him ... he is a person who told you what he thought, and you knew where he stood." — Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

"Over the years we became friends; sometimes we had polar opposite points of view. ... I have many fond memories of him. He leaves a great legacy of service and a great university behind. He's left his footprints in the sands of time." — The Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"Jerry Falwell was a close personal friend for many years. We did not always agree on everything, but I knew him to be a man of God. His accomplishments went beyond most clergy of his generation. Some of my grandchildren have attended and currently attend Liberty University. He leaves a gigantic vacuum in the evangelical world." — Evangelist Billy Graham.

"My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. ... I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling." — Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt.

"Jerry Falwell politicized religion and failed to understand the genius of our Constitution, but there is no denying his impact on American political life. He will long be remembered as the face and voice of the religious right." — The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"It was a great shock to our family as we heard of the passing of Jerry Falwell today. Our prayers are with Jerry's wife, children, family, staff and the millions of those who have been touched by his ministry throughout the world." — Branson-based televangelist Jim Bakker, whose PTL Club ministry was taken over by Falwell.

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