Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: Jerry Falwell: Founder of the Religious Right

Part One: Jerry Falwell: Founder of the Religious Right

Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:00

Part One: Jerry Falwell: Founder of the Religious Right

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Survive on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Introduce the biz tape you're all things music business and media podcast. Join me, Joe Waslewski and my co-host Colin McKay every Wednesday where we discussed the breaking news, changing the music industry, and what your favorite artists and creatives are up to. Listen to new episodes of the biz tape every Wednesday on the Nashville podcast network, available on iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. What's operating dangerous prehistoric weaponry in a recording studio? My me. I'm Robert Evans, host of behind the ******** podcast. Bad people talk about here with my friends Sophie and Sophia. How you doing, Sophia? That was the worst opening of all time. You think that was the worst? I really do that. We should go back to something more episodes. Well, I opened it that way because one of my wonderful fans sent me a a sling. Like a shepherd sling, which was like a one of the deadliest weapons of the ancient era but modified to throw bagels, got a huge David and Goliath vibe. It does. It's exactly that kind of sling, except for it throws bagels. And I've got a very moldy bagel in there because we don't change the bagel. I know you look horrified. I am. I I'm very touched by this gift. And the one thing he said on the note card that vaguely. Explained how to operate it was do not use it inside. So I'm going to immediately do that. You already did immediately do that. You tried to use it in a kitchen, but not in the tiny confines of the recording studio. So I'm just. I'm just gonna do it, yeah. I'm so ******* lucky this moldy bagel didn't touch the almond butter I've been squeezing in my mouth. It did knock the soundproofing off the wall slightly. So, Sophie, so mad. Sophie, you knew as soon as I got that in the mail, I was going to have to throw it in the room where it would do damage. Now you've taken it away. That's the only way this was going to go. Over. How are you doing today, Sophia? I'm great. How are you, Robert? I'm doing fantastic. I got to throw a bagel. That's with quotation marks about it, because you didn't really it. It did not work. It hit with some force it did. My goal is always to do damage to the room, and it did damage to the room. Sophie's shooting daggers at you. With her beautiful big eyes, I'm slowly sipping a coffee. Making eye contact the whole time. Sophie, this is what the fans love. It's not the well researched essays. And we can continue. Yeah, Anderson's fine. Sophia, yes. What do you know? About Jerry falwell. I mean nothing great. And the answer you are not gonna learn nothing good. I'm just excited to not be here for another baby murder themed episode. This is not baby murder themed. If, if you've heard me on this podcast before, you know that Robert Delights in torturing me with only the most innocent deaths. No, you know, Sophia, it's it's that most people aren't tough enough to handle the baby murder episodes. I feel like that's what an abusive dad says when he, like, hits you with his belt. He's like, no, just make your character. Better through character. What if? Is it abuse? If it's accidental and just based purely on, like, irresponsibility and recklessness? Yes. OK, well, fair. Like what if your dad just doesn't make you buckle up? I don't know. Because it's fun. This is purely hypothetical for you. Yeah, well, Jerry Falwell was kind of America's dad and his career, I'll say this, it's the opposite of killing babies. Yes, that is true, I guess, kind of. I mean, he would say it's the opposite of killing babies. I would say it's stripping people of their reproductive health, right. Interest of clumps of cells. But there's a disagreement on that at a fundamental level, which is why. Are American's sliding towards the precipice of and you want to talk about Jerry Falwell to do it? OK, let's just get into this. According to some ******** scrap of paper called the Constitution, religion and politics are supposed to be separate things in this country. In fact, churches can technically lose their tax exempt status if they're seen to advocate for a specific party or candidate too strongly. Oddly enough, that never seems to happen, and a few million Christian fundamentalists have succeeded in holding large chunks of our national discourse hostage for decades now. How did this happen, do you tell? Well, it wasn't always this way, Sophia. It was. It used to not be normal for religion and. Politics to be as directly a thing as they are today, and the answer to how things got where they are starts with a fella named Jerry Falwell today. He is, thankfully, a dead person, but Once Upon a time he was alive and he ****** ** a truly shocking amount of things for the rest of us. So that's what this story is. This is the tale of how all of the different chunks of American Christianity, at least the unreasonable chunks of American Christianity, got together to really limit the rights of women. And gay people, that's that's that's the story of Jerry Falwell. I feel like you hate me because you're like, let's invite a bisexual woman to talk about. I I wanna invite the person who's gonna be angriest about what we talk about today. Hey, fair enough. Yeah, I get I I got ****** *** writing it like it was not a good time. Jerry Lemon Falwell was born on August 11th, 1933. That's a dope middle name. Why are we not focusing on that lemon? It is a cool middle name. Yeah, he had a twin brother named Jean who was born roughly at the same time. But Gene was boring and we're not going to talk about him today. What about his sister Lulu Lemon? I'm so sorry. Wouldn't it be weird if that was the the reality of the situation that, like, there was the same family gave us the religious right and lululemon yoga pants? I mean, it's all evil, so it is all evil. Yeah, very overpriced yoga pants. Gene and Jerry were born in Lynchburg, VA, a town named for the man who invented lynching. Fortunately, he invented lynching for the well, OK, but it's not actually a sad story. He invented lynching to do it to British people, so it's not racist. Yeah, I guess it's I'm fine with lynching British people. Alright, swayed. Alienate our British shot. Oh, they know what they did, Sophie. We've done so many episodes on British people. Hey British fans, I don't feel the same. Me too big English. English anglophile. *** **** it. Just trying to get the name right. See, I know Prince Harry's hot. Continue. I don't. Yeah, you know what's not hot? The British Empire and the millions of people that killed. You're such a Debbie Downer, I know, and that's what lynching was invented. It was it was invented to Lynch colonial overlords. So I'm just saying lynching turned into something problematic, but it started from a good place, a desire to hang colonial oppressors by their thumbs. That was also the original lynching. I can't wait to see the T-shirts. This is going to inspire. I don't know how I got a bad rap. Robert Evans weighs in to defend lynching. Seriously, you're making headlines right now that no one needs I I am always trying to be cancelled, which is why I recklessly throw moldy bagels in a room. Well, miles and I haven't vented can Sylvania, and he lives there frequently. You can be his roommate. All right, Jerry Falwell's father, Kerry Falwell. Which is frustrating to me. Frustrating to write, Harry and Jerry? Yeah, yeah. Jerry Falwell was an incredibly successful businessman. He broke away from his family's history of being poor farmers to start a grocery store in 1915 at the age of 22. By 1921, he'd done well enough to start opening a series of service stations around Lynchburg to provide fuel for the growing automotive community carries. Main innovation was to add a small store or restaurant to each of his stations. This idea proved. Popular enough that he eventually opened 17 stores in the Lynchburg area. So he invented that? Yeah, I think. I think he was like one of the guests, I think station 711 type thing. He was rented one of the guys, like, I think a few people hit upon the idea like, oh, we're selling gas. We might as well sell some ******* other slurpies. Yeah, yeah. But he's like one of the one of The Pioneers of the gas station market industry. That's pretty rad. Pretty rad. He's a, he's a cool dude, good guy, or all the other things he does is going. You're gonna like him more than than Jerry. I mean, that's not hard. Yeah, that's not hard. He was an objectively better person. Although still pretty terrible, uh, yeah. So Kerry success in the fuel business led to him starting a new company distributing oil and gas to 16 counties in Virginia. Jerry Falwell's best biographer, Michael Sean Winters, describes Jerry's upbringing as affluent. I prefer the term rich as hell. Jerry grew up with no financial worries of any kind, but that does not mean his childhood was easy. See, Kerry? What? Falwell was great at business, but the rest of his life was kind of a train wreck. For one thing, he was not the kind of dude who could keep on the straight and narrow. He opened a hotel in a dance hall, which led him to sponsoring **** fights and dog fights in a variety of venues. This was illegal at the time. These were not, you know, respectable **** fights. These were this is the things you're going down for in this episode. You're dying on the hill of lynching and **** fights. Well, I'm not dying. I'm just saying it was an illegal. No. There's a subterranean level to cancel Vania. It's like underneath regular Pennsylvania and it's smells a lot there. Yeah, it's it's so welcome. Probably worse than a cock fight smells. It's just, are we just going to ignore the dogfight part of this story? What the ****? It's ****** **. I'm saying it's bad. I'm just saying he's dying on the hill. Apologized to Anderson. I am sorry, Anderson. I just wanted to make it clear, like Virginia in 19 teens, anything could be legal. I just wanted to make it clear that even even among in that, like these, these were not, these were not legitimate dogfights. Again, the fact that you keep separating it, it's like people who say, what is it they're like, Oh yeah. There's consensual sex and non consensual sex. No, non consensual sex is rape. I feel like you're doing a real similar job over there. Well, I just. I assume there were legal dog fights in Virginia as well. The good kind, right? Fighting is bad. Ohh, I'm glad it took you, but I I suspect I'm just saying these were particularly bad dog fights. Just like the original lynchings of Lynchburg can't even get out of here. Dog linger. If you split hairs enough, eventually you split an atom that blows up your career. It's a beautiful saying. Thank you. So Carrie Fallwell got into the bootlegging business after getting into the dog fighting business. His partner in bootlegging was his brother Garland. They would use the trucks for their oil and gas business to deliver liquor to all of his sundry stores. So that's how they would hide the liquors and the gas trucks, which I'm sure made it taste great. These illegal venues were incredibly profitable. In the 1927, Jerry Falwell started another legitimate business, the first bus company with routes between Lynchburg and Washington DC. That's good. Bringing lynching to other places? Pretty cool, as long as it's the kind of thumb lynching that's not racist. Yeah. Hmm. Gary was too rich and too smart to get caught breaking the law constantly, but everyone in town knew that he was the shadiest ************ in the city. This meant that the falls were ostracized from high society. So they were rich, but they weren't allowed to hang out with the other rich folks. That sounds cool as hell. That does sound like the best kind of rich to be right. You don't want to hang out with other losers. You're just ******* throwing your money, and you're just like, not because that around the dorky ******* other rich people. It's like, cotillions, right? That's all they're doing. Just cotillions left and right? Yeah, it sounds like a nightmare. Constant debutante ball sounds like nothing I want to be a part of. No, no, but I think this this was this was a bummer for Jerry Falwell as a little kid, but he loved to debut. He was a big debuter. So exacerbating their sort of pariah status was the fact that Jerry Falwell had an unfortunate habit of playing profoundly abusive pranks on everyone around him. I'm going to quote now from a very fantastic book, God's Right hand, by Michael Winters. Jerry Falwell would later recall that. The father was a prankster. Jerry once brought a friend home who admitted he was scared of carry. Jerry told his father of his friend's fear, half cautioning, half goading carry as he brought the young man into the house. When the young friend walked in, Carrie shouted, stopped, aimed a pistol at the boy's feet, and shot a hole in the floor a few inches in front of his shoes. I've been trying to get that fly all day, Jerry's father announced, returning to his newspaper. While the boy fled the house, Jerry admitted that he and his father held with laughter. Some of the pranks were cruel. However, some of them were cruel, as opposed to that other good prank. What happened was naturally shooting at somebody. It was a playful gunshot, Sophia, not one of those mean gunshots. Some of the pranks were cruel, however, as when Carrie decided he had enough complaints from one of his workers. When the man called in sick, Kerry offered to have lunch, brought to his house, then killed and skinned the man's cat, putting it into a squirrel Stew, and sent it to the man's home for lunch the next day. The man complained that the squirrel meat and the Stew had been tough, and Kerry told him he had eaten his own cat. That is not a joke. No, that's not a break. That's a great. It's not a Greek myth thing. The ******* myth they they fed due to his own, his own kids. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. The trade up. ******* ancient evil. That's like, not even, like, modern. Yeah, that's like what a Greek God would do to fund something because, like, they have no sense of human morality. Yeah, it's like an Olympic prank. It's unhinged. It's serial killer. ****. Mount Olympus. That is ******* insane. Yeah, that's a something a serial killer does as a joke. Oh, 100%. I'm gonna kill him. I made you eat your cat like so crazy. What does he think the payoff is when he tells the guy just watches him cry? I think it's just he's the guy's boss, so there's nothing the dude can do against him. No, I mean, but, like, what's the reaction he's hoping for? For him to cry? Yeah, I think so. Probably. That's so crazy. He's just a ***** ** ****. He's really bad person. Way better person than his kid turns out to be. Yeah, so hearing all that, it probably won't surprise you to learn that Jerry Falwell was an outrageous drunk. His brother Garland was too. And while Carrie was a relatively peaceful drunk, preferring to get wasted at home alone most of the time, Garland was pretty much the worst case scenario for an alcoholic. He had a tendency to fall into violent rages. In 1931, he was arrested for shooting at some teenagers who'd annoyed him. This was not an isolated incident, Garland. Falwell had numerous arrests for violent drunken behavior. All of this came to a head in 1931, which was probably the worst. Year of Young Jerry Falwell's life. It was certainly the worst year of his father's life. Carrie's daughter Rasha and Jerry's sister was struck ill with appendicitis. Kerry didn't believe in hospital, so he tried to treat her at home. Her appendix burst and she died of peritonitis. At age 10, there is a dead kid. And that also like you *** ** * ***** you got me. I snuck one in there. I got me. Isn't it also an incredibly painful way to die? Oh, one of the worst. Yeah, from what I understand, if you when you're an appendix explodes, it's like the most painful. It sounds like a terrible way to die. Yeah. Also pretty cool that you have so much like hubris that you're like, no, I'll treat this. No, I'll treat this. Yeah, yeah, in 1931 too. There's actual medicine by that point. For real? Yeah. Now, just a few months after Ross had died, while Kerry was still deep in grief, Garland got incredibly drunk and started shooting off firecrackers. Someone in town called the cops on him for some unclear reason, probably boiling down to the fact that he was really wasted, Garland became convinced that his brother Carrie is the one that called the cops on him. He tracked Kerry down and started shooting. With him, Carrie grabbed his shotgun, returned fire, and killed his brother instantly. OHS. OK, that delights me. Yeah, that's great. You're gonna like this too, the local newspaper wrote of the event. Garland Falwell is dead. Thus his turbulent career of terrorizing the police and populace was brought to an abrupt close. Even the paper **** on him. **** this. They're like, this is the worst guy in our city. Yeah, who wants to dance on his grave tonight? That's literally the tone of it. It's just like, what a ***** ** ****. Thank God he's dead. Ding Dong it. And it's one of those things. Like Jerry Falwell is obviously a bad guy. Sounds like this was a totally justified homicide. I mean, if it's just ******* horrible people killing each other, it's just it's all a win win. They're both people who use guns as ways to punctuate like gunfire to punctuate their arguments. Yeah. I mean, I feel like the only people then they should argue with is each other, and that's what happened. That's so great. Yeah. Yeah. I I prefer to use a nice throwing bagel on a sling as a way to punctuate my rages. I mean, again would be more impressive. You could actually master the throat, you know? It's it's it's new. You got to stop. You have? Well I can throw them with my hand. I'm trying to learn how to use the sling. Alright, it's do it outside like they said in the note. No, I'm only ever going to use it in recording studios. You're fired at at some point, yes. Eventually I will cross a final line and damage equipment in this studio and that will be the end of this podcast. Anyway, back to the fall wells. So things are going great for the Falwell family. In 1931, daughter dies of appendicitis. Gunfight between the two brothers leads to one of them dying. Yeah, this all broke. Jerry falwell. His alcoholism got worse after this point, and Jerry would later recall the many nights that his father spent drinking heavily and sobbing over his brother and daughter. All these scandals further isolated the Falwell clan from mainstream society in Lynchburg, and this was all exacerbated by the fact that. Harry was a second generation atheist, so he was not in line with the values of the town either. Now, Jerry's mother, Helen, was a very different person. Her family were ******** Baptists. Some sources will say that she wasn't religious until her son started his church, but this seems to be untrue. She even made sure that Jerry and Jane went to church every Sunday. Religion was a part of Jerry's life from the beginning, but it wasn't a huge part, and for a long time it seems like he kind of took after his dad in that regard. So he he grows up a little bit of a wild child. Now the third person who helped to raise Jerry and Gene Falwell was their black nanny, David Brown, Jerry would later write. In the mornings he bathed and dressed us. He held and rocked us. At nap time, he fed and changed us. He helped us with our first faltering steps, and he picked us up off the ground when we stumbled or fought or fell. He was practically a member of our family, but he ate alone on the back porch and sat in the shadows when he wasn't needed. Wow. Sounds like they really valued him as a human being. Yeah. Yeah. This is something that he writes regretfully about as an adult, as a kid. You know, he's a kid from the beginning. He took after his father, both in the fact that he was filled with ambition and reckless energy. His father taught he and his brother to drive when they were both 10 years old, which is, you know, the right age to start doing that at. They were allowed to drive around the family property as much as they wanted when they were 13. Kerry lied about their ages to get them drivers licenses. He was so Jerry Falwell was the first kid at his school. With the car which obviously helped his social life, kind of. Kind of washes away a little bit of the shame of your your dad killing your uncle. People are like, cool a car. He's got a car. I don't even care that his dad shoots at us. Jerry was a good student. He took after his father. He was intelligent, ambitious and energetic, but he also took after his dad with a dedication to mean spirited pranks. When he was in fifth grade, he let a snake loose in his classroom. This will be the least disturbing of the pranks that Jerry Falwell commits. You look so excited to tell me. I'm so excited to talk about it. I love it. It's like I love it. Whenever these people have pranks in their history, it's it's like talking about Saddam Hussein threatening his principle with a gun like that. These are the things that they call pranks. It's like. Yeah, for rich people, it's springs. Yeah, poor people, it's like a prison. Attempted murder. Ah, yeah. 1948 When Jerry was 15 his father died of liver failure. This hit Jerry Hart and quite possibly had an effect on his behavior in high school. But also was the least surprising way the non alcoholic was gonna go. Yeah yeah that was the only way Kerry Falwell was gonna go. Better shooting himself accidentally. Yeah. Yeah. Jerry formed a gang called The Wall Gang with his friends based on the fact that they would meet at a wall to hang out. That's a that's very creative, very creative. I don't know if you're aware of this, but Virginia in the 1940s. Was the World Center of Creativity. Jerry was the leader of the gang because he was the only one with a car and he liked to lead his group into a series of fist fights with other gangs around town. Winters writes that Falwell insisted things never went beyond quote a few split lips, the occasional broken bone, and small scale property damage. Geez, the the odd broken bone like. Who of us hasn't formed a gang to break other people's bones a little bit? Why do you think I was late today? Youthfully just cracking somebody over the head with a 2 by 4. You know how I like to be a Rascal. If you do it with a smile on your face, it's rascally yeah, exactly. As long as you're not frowning. Now, uh, Jerry's pranks grew more brutal in his late teens. I'm going to quote again from God's right hand once to punish a neighbor the gang thought had called the police on them. They grabbed some old tar soaked railroad ties and lit them on fire in front of the offender's home. They did not anticipate that the asphalt on the street would catch fire, but it did, and soon the entire St was in flames. Falwell skill is a prankster also took a darker turn. Like his dad, he could be cruel. Many years later he would recall taking on a teacher whom he described as a mean little man who pranced about in our physical Ed classes. And who? Exhibited prissy falsetto ways. Falwell tackled him, took off his pants, locked him in a storage closet, and then pinned the man's pants to a bulletin board in another part of the school. Another time he placed a live race. Is a teacher he did. This is his gym teacher. Holy ****. Gym teachers are usually the abusers. Yeah, I think this guy. I think, like, and he clearly did it because he was like, you're gay. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That's what Falwell things rips his pants off blocks in the closet of school for that. No, he's rich. Wow. Another time teacher pancing a ******* teacher, dancing and locking in a closet and nailing the pants to a wall. God, that's so ****** **. Yeah, it's amazing. Another time he placed a live rat and the teachers drawer. When she opened the drawer, the Rat jumped out and the teacher fell unconscious to the floor. Now that's a classic prank. Yeah, I mean, that's the only one you could actually consider a prank. Yeah. Then I guess the snake. Those are like good-natured country pranks that if the snake bite is like. Yeah, it's like a gardener snake or something. Yeah. Then it's fine. Yeah, then it's fine. good-natured fun. Yeah. Abusing physically and panting or lighting someone's house on fire. I don't know if that's your pranks. Uh. Later in life, Jerry would say that these pranks and straight up assaults are how he began to understand the principle of cause and effect. Actions responsible or irresponsible lead to consequences. But of course, there's no evidence that Jerry Falwell ever suffered any consequences as a result of his incredibly bad behavior. As an older man, he smoked with regret about these actions, and the idea he seems to want to push by telling these stories is that he had a growing realization of how bad he'd been, and that helped drive him to God. And this is where I have to point out something important. If you spend any time at all around evangelical Christian communities, at least the mainstream ones, you'll notice something peculiar. A shocking number of high profile figures in that community will claim to have some sort of tremendously dark past, selling drugs or being involved in prostitution, or being, you know, some sort of criminal, being violent, or whatever. For many popular evangelical speakers, this dark past is an integral part of their back story. These stories are usually lies and always exaggerated, and they serve primarily to highlight the power of Christ's grace most of our details on Jerry's early life. Come from Jerry himself. And while Winters, who researched the man thoroughly, does believe the stuff that I've related to you is true, I have my doubts that fall will ever regretted any of his actions. But in any case, it's important to Jerry Falwell. Or it was because now he's dead that you know, that he was a bad guy before he found the light of the Lord. Always really creeps me out whenever, like, really horrible people will say, like, oh, you know, I was horrible. And then I had a daughter and then I was like, oh man, I've been horrible. They're like, ohh. And then I it's always very confusing to me that they don't understand empathy yet at all and that they literally need to torture people to learn empathy. How is it not something that you just feel towards people? Towards people? I think in a lot of cases because you grow up rich and you don't have to. But that's what's so crazy, right? It seems like money just takes away peoples, like, value systems or replaces it. And then they're like, Oh no, I need to rape a girl like Brock Turner or something to to understand, you know, like, Oh yeah, things. Actions have consequences. Why do we need to be your like? It's like experiment like other people. That's not right for you to learn your morals on other people. And it only, it really only seems to be with girls in particular because you only usually hear the story with like, and when I had a daughter, I understood. And it's like, nobody's ever like, you know, I thought it was cool to kill cats until I had a kitten. And then I was like, oh, all this cat murdering I've been doing is a bad thing. Nobody, nobody says that. They just say, like, I thought sexual harassment was fun until I had a daughter. Now I realize it's not. Yeah. And it's same. Same with these. Like rich *** guys like Jerry. It's like, Oh well, I didn't know that you couldn't actually do these really ****** ** abusive things. Yeah, until I did them and nothing happened to me. It's like why I suffered no consequences. That makes no sense. Little guys house on fire. Jerry Falwell, Sophie's telling me that it's well past time for an ad break. Sophia, you you have any ads you want to tell? I mean, as you know, I love any kind of goods and services. But personally, I have a podcast named Private Parts Unknown that I co-host with Courtney Cosack. And it's about love and sexuality around the world. And we're about to go to Mexico City. It's going to be really fun. That's one of my favorite cities. We're going to talk after the podcast for your tips, OK? It's ******* great. Mexico City. Well, thank you for bringing that up. I forgot because I got so excited by the bagel thing at this. Should we go to ads now, Sophie? Sophie saying we should go to ads products. It's the most wonderful time of the year, but of course, wonderful people are generally boring, and if you're a fan of behind the ******** you probably would prefer to hear about the very worst people in all of history. Which is why you're listening to this show and why you should listen to the wonderful audio books on audible right now. Behind the ******** has partnered with Audible to give you the gift of an audible membership for 53% off for your first three months. Using audible, you can listen to the stories of famed terrible people like Kaiser. Wilhelm the second with Kaiser Willhelm the second a life from beginning to end on audible. Or you can check out the story of our old pal J stall in the court of the Red Tsar, which is also on audible 27 hours and 30 minutes long. So you'll have, you know, plenty of terrible person listening time. So right now, for a limited time, you can get three months of audible for just 695 per month. That's more than half off the regular price. And when you sign up, you'll get to choose one audiobook and two audible originals. Absolutely free Behind or text behind to 505 hundred in order to get this deal again. That's, or text behind to 505 hundred. We're back and Sophie is refusing to give me back my sling, which is probably a responsible move, but I'm I'm still furious with it. Angry sandrine. How furious I would be if you slung something and it hit Anderson. Ohh it's a bagel. Dogs love them. But if it hits moldy and with a force, it's not. So she doesn't like everything. Bagels? What kind of bagels does she like? Blueberry? Alright, I'll throw blueberry next time. Anderson's in the room. See this is this is how empathy works? This is this is a man who understands empathy. Hackers lying though? Sorry, fair enough. We're talking Jerry Falwell, Jay fall so. Weird. I don't like that. Jay fall. Jay fall. I always give my subjects a terrible nickname. I don't like it. You don't like that, Jerry? Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff sounds like it's a Missy Elliott exclusive cheer the good thing. I don't know. He doesn't get that reference, but I did and I liked, Sophie says. It's good. Do you seriously not know who Missy Elliott is? Feel like you're doing this on purpose? I'm really not. I thought it was Ariana Grande for a very long time. That is what it is. You call. Oh wait no. I called her grand. He called her Ariana Grande. There we go. I forgot which embarrassing thing I got wrong. Only one of Jeffs pranks had any sort of long term impact on him. In his senior year, Jerry and his friends got the combination of the school safe. They stole huge numbers of lunch tickets and handed them out to their friends and the locker room. They considered this a harmless prank. The school considered this thousands of dollars and theft. Jerry certainly could have faced criminal charges for this because it was thousands of dollars of theft. Instead, he was simply denied the privilege of addressing the school as class valedictorian. So God, the consequences really ruined his life. Yeah, yeah, that really ****** things up for him. Jerry went to Lynchburg College after high school. Jerry Falwell majored in mechanical engineering and excelled at math and physics. He didn't spend any school time studying religion. He later recalled, though, that his mother's habit of listening to Charles Fuller's old Fashioned revival hour on the radio. Every Sunday he had an impact on him. Early in 1952, while hanging out at the cafe with his wall gang friends, Falwell asked if anyone in town knew a church that had preaching like Charles Fuller Show. One of his friends advised the Park Ave Baptist Church. He said the church had good music and most importantly, pretty girls. In search of these girls, Jerry Falwell made the fateful decision to attend church on January 20th, 1952. Done. Done. During that service, he met a young woman, Macel Pate, who played piano for the church. Soon after, Maisel and Jerry would wind up dating and then marrying. They would be together for the rest of Jerry's life, and young Fallwell found more. I think she was pretty ****** too. Ohh yeah, **** her, yeah. Young Falwell found more than just a soul mate. At the Park Ave Church he found Jesus. He would later recall that his journey to becoming a born again Christian started when he learned that the world of man was run by Satan while the world of God was ruled by Jesus. Jerry had seen more of the dark side of the world of man than most kids by this point. He turned away from the dark him from himself in darkness. The darkness call came from inside the house. Jerry Falwell is burning the terrible ship that you've been witness to. You did. These strips a man's pants off, beats them up and locks him in a closet. Boy, people are awful. Yeah, he's like, this is really a lot of arson and assault going on and, I don't know, at least around me. Seems like people are really violent right around me. Yeah, it's it's crazy. I'm like at the epicenter. ******* idiot. Yeah. So, uh, yeah. Jerry decided after this point that he was going to turn away from the darkness of the world of man and align himself with the light of the world of God. In 1956, at age 22, Jerry Falwell founded a Church of his own, the Thomas Rd Baptist Church. He made himself the pastor, and he started preaching. According to the Western Illinois Historical Review quote, from the time he founded his church, all of his activities flowed from his efforts to build it. TRBC built a home for Alcoholics, a haven for unwed mothers, and established a television. Ministry at the urging of Falwell, Jerry's television and radio show the old Time Gospel Hour was a direct imitation of the radio preacher his mother had loved. By making the jump to television, Falwell became one of The Pioneers of televangelism. A guy named Percy Crawford was the actual first televangelist, and both men owed a debt to fascist slash Catholic priest Charles Coughlin and their attempts to create a media empire based around his preaching. But Jerry was one of the first ones to really like make a televangelist thing like as the as like the foundation of his career. Quick question. How does pastoring work? You can just make yourself a pastor. Yeah, I'm pretty sure. Yeah. OK. I'm a pastor now. Yeah. This is America. There's. I don't think there's really any more to it than that. That's ******* awesome. Yeah, it's pretty great. I've I've been considering coming. I've, I've, I've, I'm considering becoming a freelance cult leader. So I've been looking into how easy it is to just declare yourself a whatever of whatever religion you can. It turns out there's no rules around that sort of thing. If you need a sidekick, I'm here and I love. Just, I don't know, brainwashing people. I guess that's how other people put it. The key is we can't spend more than 20 hours a week on cult related business. Good. I don't have time for that. Yeah, I I want for this to be more than a part time thing. Yeah, exactly. It's a side hustle. Yes, like that. I want it to be a cult for millennials. And as a result of that, we've got to be like contract employees. Yeah, I mean, it's like 5 hours driving for Lyft, couple hours running, running a call. Then I do stand up at night and no health care. Beautiful way to live. Our generations really got it made in the shade. So, like his father, Jerry Falwell proved to have a brilliant head for business. Unlike his father, all of Jerry's businesses were aboveboard and legal. And yeah, I actually see. I told you you're going to like Jerry Falwell way better. I already miss him. Yeah, I miss him. What you doing, Carrie? Wholesale. He's shooting at people's feet in heaven now. Hell must be missing an Angel. In 1967, Jerry founded his first school, the Lynchburg Christian Academy. He became convinced of the necessity of creating a separate Christian education system, one that could protect students from the evils of the world of Satan. Some of the evils he preached against were eminently sensible, given his difficult upbringing. He railed against alcohol and drunkenness, due in part to the horrifying example set down by his dad and uncle. But Jerry also preached against integration, so I was waiting for one that was going to reach ugly head. We get a get a nice dose of racism here. I'm going to quote again from God's right hand. One early sermon from 1958 has come down to us, printed in the newsletter that Falwell distributed to those who watched his television show. It is curious that he chose his sermon for the first installment of the newsletter because it did not treat one of his usual subject topics. The sermon is entitled segregation or Integration, which unsurprisingly, given the sermon was preached in 1958 in South Central Virginia. Falwell argued in favor of segregation. Falwell sermon begins by blaming the Supreme Court. With the chaos and racial tension that was then on the rise, he also noted that the communist countries were using the racial tension as a propaganda tool throughout the world. Indeed, Falwell did not blame blacks for causing the trouble. The true ***** does not want integration. He realizes his potential is far better among his own. Falwell blamed the push for integration first on Moscow, second on politicians using the issue for their own ends, and finally on the devil himself, who boxed God out of the Supreme Court's jurisprudence when it rendered its 1954 decision in Brown versus the Board of Education. Ending legal segregation. If Chief Justice Earl Warren and his associates had known God's word and decided to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made, Falwell said. What could possibly have been worked out in a scriptural and orderly way has now become a touchy problem. Touchy. Just a deep sigh of yeah. It's obviously terrible, although it's also obviously like. Like you, you throw a rock in Virginia and you'll find somebody who believes basically the same thing. Of course, yeah, yeah. And in a little bit of fairness, Jerry would completely change his mind on segregation later in life and would devote years to preaching against it, not that long after this. But while the civil rights movement saw its most crucial difficult hours, Jerry Fallwell preached against it. He believed God had decreed the segregation of races, and he cited for one things God's decision that the Jews should be his chosen people as evidence of the fundamental validity of segregation. Ohh, I've never heard that spin. That is quite, quite the racist logic there. That's pretty insane. Yeah, it's neat to run into new racist logic that I hadn't run into before. Yeah, I was like, whoa, that's. I've never connected those before. So thanks for bringing us into the fold. Yeah, thanks for connecting the dots, Jerry. Now Jerry started to change his mind about segregation in the mid 1960s. There were a number of events that led to this, but the single searing experience he would later cite as key to his conversion on the issue was the day that his shoe Shiner, a black man named Lewis, asked him a question. He told Jerry he was a fan of the pastor's sermons and listened to them on the radio regularly. Then he asked if he would be able to join Falwell's Church. Jerry later wrote that this question left him utterly speechless because, like, he wasn't allowing black people in his church. No **** suddenly was confronted directly with the. Fact that he was racist as ****. In the mid 1960s, Jerry Falwell hired his first non white employee, the Indonesian musician Paul Tan. In 1968, he opened the Thomas Rd. Baptist Church to black members. And in 1969, wait, hold on a second. He opened the church to black members in 68. When did he talk to his shoe Shiner? That was like in the somewhere like 64 or 65. It took him a while. So. So he had he had an epiphany and then it took him three to four years to still change his mind. Again, we're talking these are his regulations is such *********. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it's also like. Exactly what we were saying. Like, oh, I needed to 1st think that black people weren't human to then be like, oh, I've learned a powerful lesson. What the ****? I don't buy any of this. Yeah. And it's also, it's worth noting that when he does open his church up is like when the civil rights movement hit that point of critical mass. Like, it's not like he got on board segregation when it was still like, it's one thing to be like in favor of segregation, then realize you're wrong at a time when, like, it takes some courage to, like, be like, no, I was wrong. Like once the civil rights movements. Asked its critical point. He's like, oh **** I guess this is the way things are going. I'm going to open my church up. Yeah. Like, oh, progress seems to be happening everywhere. OK, I'll join. Yeah. It's like, it's like being cool with gay marriage in 2015. Yeah. Yeah. That being your first step there. And The thing is, it's it's weird because right now everybody talks about, like, cancel culture and like, oh, what? You can't be better or like, change or anything. And I absolutely think that that is what we want from people. But I don't. Now, how much of the story that Jerry Falwell made-up about himself? Is actually real. Yeah. Or true. And that's really what I object to you, not the fact that he changed from being a racist to not being a racist. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's good that he got better on segregation. But the question is, do I think that it was a matter of moral courage and realizing he was wrong? Or do I think it was a matter of he realized where the wind was blowing? Exactly. And I do think in his head, he does believe the version of the story where he has a change of heart. I do think he believes that in his head. Because I think he needs to think he's a good person and people like that make up stories to justify himself as like a better person. Just like he justified burning that house down by they were cold inside inside. Central heating wasn't around yet. I was being helpful. Yeah, just like his dad justified shooting at that kid's feet because he had to deal with the fly. I'm going to use that. That was a joke. OK? You know, just don't get it. Yeah. Snowflake. Snowflake. Snowflakes hate being shot at, yeah. So yeah, Jerry was always adamant that the civil rights movement had no impact on his decision to integrate his church and school. He framed his change as entirely an internal revelation. I realized that I was completely wrong. What I had been taught was completely wrong. For me, it was a scriptural and personal realization that segregation was evil. I realized it was not taught in the Bible. So, OK, kind of weird that he's, like, specifically doesn't give credit to the civil rights movement. He's like, specifically. None of you made a difference. Martin Luther King had nothing to do with me letting black people into my church. It was all me, baby. That's so much more. That's still so racist. I, Jerry Falwell, had my own civil rights movement in my head, and it was way better than the one. My version? Yeah. I was the leader. Yeah, actually was an MLK. There was no Malcolm X. There was no one, really. It was Black Panther. I didn't break it. Changed everything. I did a great job. I did a great job. You're welcome. You're welcome. Jerry falwell. Ohh boy yeah. So in 1971 Jerry Falwell started the Lynchburg Baptist College. It was later renamed Liberty University. The college was something of a lost leader for Falwell's burgeoning empire. It relied heavily on donations and endowments from major donors, and was in heavy debt for much of Jerry's tenure as the head of the school. But still, it succeeded in providing religious higher education to whole generations of evangelical Christians. All these things would probably have been enough to keep a normal man occupied his entire life, and perhaps they would have done so for Jerry. All well, but in 1973, something happened that would change his life and the very essence of American Christianity forever. The Supreme Court ruled on Roe V Wade. This landmark case established a woman's right to get an abortion without excessive governmental interference, Falwell later wrote when he read about the ruling in the newspaper quote. I sat there staring at the Roe V Wade story, growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court's act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it. And when we come back, we're going to talk a little bit about the surprising history of how American evangelical Christians thought about abortion prior to 1973. Don't leave me hanging like that. I mean, it's an ad plug time. You know what is also? Protected from excessive government interference. The products and services that advertise on our show. Was that a good? I liked it. Thank you, Sophie. Sophie approves. Sophia. Yeah, no cosign. I feel like you need to have both the self support. Alright. Yeah, it's a rubber stamp, this. It's like when you need to launch a nuclear missile from a submarine. Exactly. We can't go, but now we can. Right parallel, sitting across from we've surrounded him yourself, surrounded, so frowned and and and now I'm capable of empathetically viewing women as people. All that took was this. You didn't even need to have a daughter or nothing. I have a sister. She's a dog. Oh my God. You called interstellar? Girl, I'm so proud of you. I know I usually call all dogs boys, but Anderson is a girl. You're right. We've we've you beat that into my head. We should really go to ads. This has been taken. Yeah. Yeah. All for all the fans. Anderson is a girl, so stop calling her boy on Twitter. Also, stop stop asking me to post pic. I think a lot of them think Anderson's my dog. I mean, she she she's in your family. She is in my family. Yeah. Whoo, boy. Thrown from my forehead. We are Zeus. OK. 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See, for a very long time in America it was seen as somewhat foul, even obscene, for pastors to wade directly into national politics. Sharon overcast and the evangelical Christian who later worked with Falwell recalled that prior to the 70s politics was always labeled as dirty, as something to stay out of. For Falwell and many other Christian extremists, Roe V Wade was a wake up call. I'm going to quote now from an essay on Jerry Falwell by Doug Banwart of the Western Illinois Historical Review. Many religious conservatives, like Falwell, would later identify the road decision as the critical issue that awakened them from a long political slumber after largely being inactive in the 1960s, as Falwell put it, the decision by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion on demand did more to destroy our nation than any other decision it is made. Moeller later called the 1973 Roe decision the Stick of Dynamite that exploded the issue for evangelicals. Roe V Wade was truly explosive in that it legitimized abortion international law, a practice deemed offensive, barbaric, savage, and a violation of God's precious handiwork here on Earth. Not only did Roe V Wade provide a wake up call to Falwell and religious conservatives, and also resulted in later mobilization and activism on 2 closely related areas, gay rights and women's liberation rights for gays and women were often closely tied to the abortion issue as family issues. If women could get an abortion, no longer did they need a man to take care of them. No longer would they be confined to the kitchen, household or local PTA. Meeting their newfound independence could result in a full frontal assault on the traditional nuclear family, which many conservatives believe to be the way God desired the family structure to look like. Yeah, also Saturday was an international safe abortion day. So ohh good Apple Pappy that day to everybody have a happy that day today we did a Series 2 on it on the podcast. Private parts and you should check it out. Check it out. International Safe Abortion day. It's a good holiday. Better holiday than International Podcast Day, which it is today. Every day is national something day. Yeah, it's been like national siblings day, like four times. And I text my brother who is a Doctor Who is not amused. I'm trying to do. I'm tired of doing the same joke where I just take a picture of an empty chair and I'm like, I love my sister for my brother because I'm an only child. I'm tired of doing it. Now, Jerry got together with several other aggrieved religious people in order to fight back against the Supreme Court's overreach. One of these people was Paul Weyrich, a Catholic, and another was Howard Phillips, a Jew. Together, they formed a political Action Group called the Moral majority in 1979. And Howard. Yeah. Phillip seemed to mostly be there could be. No, we're not just Christians. I know. We got ashamed of him. He's he disown you. Pretty lame. So the moral majority. Was formed specifically to lobby to end abortion, reinstate school prayer, and force men and women back into traditional gender roles. Their goal was nothing less than to legislate fundamentalist Christian morality as the law of the land, and most sources you'll read on this, including Michael Winters, will note that Roe V Wade was the catalyst for all this. But not everyone agrees on that point. Other researchers were point out that segregation may itself have been a more direct inspiration for the formation of the moral majority than abortion. Randall Balmer, a professor at Dartmouth University and a historian, calls the idea that abortion. With the inciting incident for the moral majority one of the most durable myths in modern history, it is certainly true and documented beyond debate that abortion was the primary issue the moral majority put at the center of their activism. They even called themselves new abolitionists and their quest to end abortion, the act of comparing themselves to anti slavery crusaders takes some enormous balls, given what I'm about to read next quote. The abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn't until 1969, a full six years after Roe, that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion, not for moral reasons, but as a rallying cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious rights real motive protecting segregated schools. See? Yeah, well, it's a tough competition. Who do we hate more? Women or black people? Oh my God, black women. Yeah, that that is the number one hated group. Yeah. So Balmer points out with exhaustive documentation that throughout the 1960s and early 70s, abortion was not a big deal for most Christians, even fundamentalist ones. In 1968, the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today wrote that abortion was not sinful. In that quote, individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility could all justify the termination of a pregnancy. Fine now, in 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention had passed a resolution stating, quote Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother. Relatively well for Christians today, at least. The Convention reaffirmed this decision twice, after Roe V Wade in 1974 and in 1976. In the immediate wake of the ruling, WA Criswell, the Convention's former president and one of the most prominent Evangelical Christians in America, said, I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always therefore seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed. Hallelujah? Yep. It really took a turn, yeah. Abortion had been a significant issue for Catholics for quite some time, however. So it was like evangelical Protestants didn't really care about abortion prior to 1979. Catholics, you know, they didn't. They weren't down with condoms. I mean, they certainly weren't down with abortion. The church has been pretty consistently anti choice for quite a while, but American Protestants and evangelicals didn't really care about the matter one way or the other. What many of them did care about, however, was integration, because they were Southerners in the 1960s and 70s. And just really, really racist. I'm going to quote from Balmer again. In May 1969, a group of African American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent 3 new whites only K through 12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered charitable institutions. The schools have been founded in the mid 1960s in response to the desegregation of public schools, set in motion by Brown, versus the Board of Education decision of 1954. In 1969, the first year of desegregation, the number of white students enrolled in public schools in Holmes County dropped from 771. The 28, the following year, that number fell to 0. So one of the responses of the Christian community throughout the South was to open private schools so that they did not have to if they were private religious schools. You can keep black people out and then we can still have our whites just like Jesus intended, just like Jesus intended. And to love everyone in stages. Yeah, that's kind of the birth of the private religious school system in America. Excluding black people, ****. Pretty cool. In green versus Kennedy, David Kennedy was secretary of Treasury at the time decided in 1970. The plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction which denied the segregation academy's tax exempt status until further review. In the meantime, the government was solidifying its position on such schools. Later that year, President Richard Nixon ordered the Internal Revenue Service to enact a new policy denying taxes that exemptions to all segregated schools in the United States. Wow. And she did a good thing. Yeah, Nixon was actually pretty good on that issue. Was not really like the religion again. This is before the religious right exists. Like, fundamentalist Christians are not a voting bloc at this point in any meaningful. Yeah. But Nixon also, like, dropped a lot of slurs and stuff. That's why I'm like, ohh yeah, OK, but he didn't give a **** about God. I mean, I'm. I'm in terms of black people. I just didn't know. Yeah, he would fall on that. You know, he was good about this one. Yeah, nixon's. One of those weird ones where it's like you can listen to hours of him using racial slurs and then he'll ban racist schools from being tax exempt, and you can listen to him like threatened to have journalists murdered and he'll start the EPA too. Yeah, he's a confusing one. He's a confusing one. Now I'm reading all of this added some additional context to something I'd read in God's right hand, which definitely takes the the angle that, like the moral majority, was all about abortion. Like this. Balmer is kind of an opposed to other scholars when he puts segregation at the center of why the Christian right becomes a political thing, but it did add some extra context to this quote. Falwell had been profoundly disturbed by the actions of the federal government legalizing abortion, removing prayer from the public schools, sending the IRS after Christian academies. To him, this amounted to a political assault on his turf. The moral fiber of the nation. And he could begin to envision politics as the means to beating back the assault. So this is one of the weird thing. God's right hand is like a really good biography by winters. It has a lot of really good info in it. But Winters is also kind of comes across as well. He's critical of a lot that Falwell did, fundamentally sympathetic to the man as a human being. And I think he misses like the fact that he phrases it as sending the IRS after Christian academies. And I'm sure that's how Falwell would like to report it. Like what Falwell was ****** about was them stopping Christians from segregating. Sure. Yeah. And it is something that I winters doesn't really touch on enough, but I I really think balmer's probably on the right side of this one, but I'm not a scholar. So yeah, Balmer makes a strong case that the birth of the Christian right as a political movement was very much inspired by evangelical religious leaders to keep black people out of their churches and schools. Quote The Green V Connolly ruling provided a necessary first step. It captured the attention of evangelical leaders, especially as the IRS began sending questionnaires to church related segregation academies, including Falwell's own Lynchburg. Christian School inquiring about their racial policies, Falwell was furious, and some states he famously complained it's easier to open a massage parlor than a Christian School. That massage parlor opened to people of all races, Jerry. Because if it is, I don't have any problem with it. Yeah, not if you could help it. Yeah, not if he could help it. One such school, Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist College in Greenville, SC, was especially obdurate. The IRS had sent its first letter to Bob Jones University in November 1970 to ascertain whether or not it discriminated on the basis of race. The school responded defiantly. It did not admit African Americans wasn't, isn't even. They didn't. You couldn't be taking someone of a different race to. I think what, like their school stuff even recently, right? Yeah, that they were in the news for that. Yeah, that's continued up until the modern era. Yeah, they Bob Jones really sticks by segregation. We kind of wild. This is so recent. Of the religious right is very much tied into Bob Jones University wanting to be as racist to school as they can possibly be. Cool Mission, cool mission. Now, Bob Jones University did try to throw the IRS a bone to maintain their tax exempt status. They took in a single black student. He dropped out a month later for reasons that I'm sure are completely unfathomable to everybody listening. Yeah, why would that have happened? Yeah, well, he didn't like, love the new school. That's so crazy. It seems like he would have been totally comfortable. Seems like it would have been a great time for him. Yeah, in 1975, the school was finally forced to admit black students on a wider basis, but they qualified that they were only admitting married black people. The fear was that. Unmarried black students might wind up ******* white students. Couldn't have that interracial dating was strictly prohibited. So in 1976, the IRS, who are the heroes of the story today rescinded Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status. Good. It's weird. Yeah, the hey man, they're on the right side of this one. Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell were deeply unhappy at all this government overreach. They chose to focus on the Carter administration, which actually doesn't make a lot of sense. The Nixon administration had started going after evangelical schools. Bob Jones University had lost its tax-exempt status more than a year before Carter took office. But Weyrich and Falwell ignored all this. They made it their overriding goal to ensure a conservative kicked Carter out of office. Interesting. That fact, they don't attack the Republican Party for their role in this, they just go after Jimmy Carter. Interesting. Kind of makes you wonder if maybe it had more to do with the fact that these were rich men than Christians, but that's just a conspiracy theory on my part. I mean being rich. Like crazy rich in this country is a conspiracy theory, yeah. Now, the leaders of the moral majority knew that segregation was not exactly a major vote winning issue in 1979. They were not going to ignite an evangelical political movement by focusing on racism or any of the other issues they were most obsessed with. At the time. Way rich and Falwell were also both opponents of the equal Rights amendment. They supported the banning of ***********. But as Weyrich later recalled, I was trying to get these people interested in those issues, and I utterly failed. So they're trying to, like, get the religious right on board with, like, banning the ERA. Getting *********** allowing schools to segregate and like, they really they can't get anybody on board. Nobody wants to like anybody hype about these issues. People are like, yeah, yeah, yeah, it it's it was a different time. But abortion provided the moral majority with an easy cause to crusade against a banner other propagandized Christians could rally behind. Stop killing babies is an easier battle cry than keep black people out of our schools. So that is why they pick abortion as at least the public face of the movement. And this brings up the question, how did the moral majority organize evangelicals against abortion if abortion hadn't been a big part of evangelical politics prior to that point? The answer to this, as with so many great questions in American history, boils down to they hated women being free. Yeah, of course that isn't a great vote getter either. So they frame their opposition to abortion and the equal rights amendment as being pro family. There we go. That's how you get a ******* censorship. I'm going to quote Doug Bannwart again. Over the course of the 1970s, ministers connected defense of the traditional family with opposition to abortion, feminism, and gay rights. Such rights to those in the moral majority attacked the tried and true social order that had persevered for generations according to the moral majority, who could possibly be anti family in addition. Was this returned to moral sanity? That was trying to restore America from the upheaval of the recent past? Rather than speak out directly against gays, feminists, and abortionists, they often delivered the same message. Shrouded in Pro family terms, for example, moral majority leaders defined traditional families as those with two heterosexual parents. This carried significant appeal among conservatives in the wake of the 1960s. By framing the issue as defense of the family, the leaders of the Christian right effectively turned liberals into enemies of the family, at least in the eyes of millions of voters. And this is what led them to their violent opposition. Of the equal Rights Amendment, this was the first Test of the moral majority. Jerry Falwell warned that passage of the amendment could quote, sanction homosexual marriage, send mothers and girls into combat, and generally injure the dignity of the traditional family. Gasp. Yeah. You say as you hug your traditional family member, Anderson the dog. Now, for reference, I think I should read out the main portions of the suggested amendment, the Equal Rights amendment. This very scary family destroying Amendment, Section 1, equality of rights under the law, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article, Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification. So that, I mean that that was the family right out. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That that families should be destroyed. Amendment to the amendment was a was real extreme. Yeah. Cool. So obviously we couldn't have that happen. Falwell and his fellow conservatives were terrified that the NRA would lead to nightmares like government funded daycare and paternity leave. There were two things that they cited directly is why the NRA was bad. It just seems like, how can you not feel like the biggest nerd when you're like, I'm anti **** I'm anti. Like all the things you're anti makes you such a ******* nerd. I mean, is that party not ever being like, dudes? We're doing the nerdiest **** out here. What are we doing? They're keeping women under lock and key. So crazy to me. Like, it's like, if you're a reasonable person, being opposed to government funded daycare and paternity leave sounds like lunacy. But the fear among conservatives was that, like, if there's government funded daycare, women can have jobs and then they won't. Yeah, then they won't be. Like, reliant on a man for everything. And if there's paternity leave, then dads could take care of kids too. And then moms could have careers and be independent people. Just defending gender roles is so nerdy, too. It's another to be like, this is what I care about. I want to make sure that the man does man things and the woman does woman things, and we've decided with those things are like, how did he even get? How do you even get enough energy to care about that? It's the only thing you care about if you're the kind of person. Who cares about that? It's just so crazy to me. I'm like, oh, live your life. Yeah, that's the like, the core of this is a bunch of people who, like, can't ******* deal with other people wanting a different thing out of life than they do, which is really usually the core of like, 60% of bastardy. Speaking of a gigantic ******* Phyllis Schlafly, a Christian activist, and a gigantic ***** ** **** wrote that the equal Rights Amendment would be, quote, the first anti family amendment in the Constitution. It would protect bigamists, legalize prostitution, and defang rape laws. The social and political goals of, ER, layers are radical, irrational, and unacceptable to Americans. In the essay where she wrote this, Schlafly created the acronym Stop ERA Stop stood for stop taking our privileges. She made an acronym. With the word that the acronym is in the acronym, that's like saying the title of the movie in the movie, yeah, yeah, or wearing a band shirt to the concert. Like, no, don't do that. And so Jerry Falwell and his comrades leapt into the 1980 election with the intent to restore their version of God to a position of primacy in American politics. In 1980, Falwell told his congregation, we're fighting a holy war. What's happened to America is that the wicked are bearing rule. We have to lead the nation back to the moral stance that made America great. We have to weird influence on those who govern us. Just trying to make America great. Everyone's having fun. **** them. Yeah, yeah, this does happen and like. Well, no, I guess 1980 was about to be a fun year. I mean, people were cocaine everywhere. And disco, yeah, coming off of the fun *** Rock'n'roll 70s. Yeah, people are just having a good time. It's Jerry. Making nerds are out here trying to ruin it for everybody. It's that pendulum. You have, like, sexual liberation and, like, the the, the civil rights movement and stuff. And then all of the ******** organized to, like, push the pendulum back. It's kind of like what's happening now, except it happened earlier. I know, it's just upsetting. It's like, let women work. They'll just buy stuff for you. Yeah, they're so nice, you know what I mean? Like, like, we're so nice. Yeah, you just you just want to participate in the flawless. System of capitalism. Like everybody else, we just wanna buy ****. We just wanna buy ****. We weren't even allowed to have our own credit cards. Still like the 70s? Well, that's a fair rule. Because ******* be shopping. I'm I right? Shopping I. That's going to be the core of my stand up act. I don't think anybody's joked about that before. It's going to break new ground. So you should really talk about the differences between black people and white people. I'm going to do that when I get my new Netflix show cancelled. Bold title. Really gonna break new ground with that. I can't wait. Or or something to do with safe spaces. I one of those two is going to be the title for sure. I'll really be groundbreaking. Can't wait to open for you. I'm going to get $8 million to complain about how I've been cancelled by social justice warriors. Miles performs in Pennsylvania. He opens for Lucy K and Aziz opens for miles. Oh, great. Yeah, yeah, that's who you want. Opening for you is this season. Sorry. OK. I'm just saying that's how Kane Sylvania works. I mean. It is. That's literally how it works, yeah. So let's be still performs on cancel Vania because it's Pennsylvania. I mean, he's huge there, yeah, just stumbling onto the stage, can't see anything because he's, I mean. He's crushing it. Or he's attempting to, but he's blind so he can't make his way up onto the stage. It doesn't matter what people in Pennsylvania will clap for that. So when Jerry Falwell spoke, millions of people listened. At the start of the 1980s, his TV show was hosted on 373 stations, more than Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. His church, the Thomas Rd Baptist Church, had grown to become one of the very first mega churches, with regular attendance of more than 17,000. But the true genius of Jerry Falwell and guiding the moral majority, was his ability to unify different types of Christians together. Catholics and Protestants did not traditionally see one another as groups with much in common. They regularly found themselves in opposition likewise. Mainstream Protestants, Pentecostals, evangelicals, and fundamentalists were all distinct groups of Christians, and they had no real history of organizing together towards a common purpose. Falwell succeeded in welding them together for the first time. He was criticized by the president of Bob Jones University for creating an unholy alliance with the evil Catholics. It's a weird to relieve. Like that's where our religion used to be in America, where somebody was like, I want to get all the Christians together to stop people from letting women work and someone's like, but we're going to work with the Catholics to do that. That's hilarious. ******* nuts. So, Falwell replied to that I am indeed considered to be dangerous to liberals, feminists, abortionists, and homosexuals, but not to Bible believing Christians. This time, preaching would not be enough. It is my duty as a Christian to apply the truths of Scripture to every act of government. That seems national. Yeah. No one asked you. Yeah, that's yeah. Why are you volunteering for a job that Liz literally does not exist? You just appointed yourself when we started the mastering on a huge *** level. Yeah, he's like, well, this is what I do now. No one ******* asked you. Yeah, this this is worked in Virginia, so clearly the entire country should have to have me as their pastor. Yeah, I I love that. Like, this is the, the, the. Like, we have to apply. It's my duty to apply the truth of Scripture to every active government. It's like, no, dude, like when we hold started this whole country thing, like, the whole idea was that, like, that's not how we're going to do it. You're not going to have religion be involved in politics. No, ***** your duty is to, like, groom yourself, go out into the world and be someone that improves it. And that's literally it. Just that's it. Stay away from everybody. Pay taxes. And don't assault people. Yeah, that's really the only goals we want you to work. That's all we ask of anyone. That's all we wanted. Don't ******* feed people their cats and **** like that. That's. I mean, is that a two too big an ask? Too big of an ASK for his dad's big cat feeder to people? Guy Jesus. Yeah, so Jerry Falwell's chief innovation, the one which has shaped American politics ever since, was to convince all Christian conservatives that they're really on the same side, fighting for the sanctity of the family. Abortion, opposition to gay rights, advocating for the return of prayer in school, all these things can be bundled together as saving the family, Falwell wrote. The family is the fundamental building, block and basic unit of our society and its continued health as a prerequisite for a healthy and prosperous nation. No nation has ever been stronger than the families within her. And so the moral majority set to work, they start, honestly, just reconnect with your own dad. You know, this sounds like a personal situation. He's dead as ****. No, I mean, like, whatever you need to do is say once, like, write him a letter, then burn it, whatever. It sounds like you have a lot of personal yeah, in in his memory, shoot at someone's feet. But honestly, it just sounds like you need to work out your ******* daddy issues instead of trying to daddy the whole ******* country. I think that really is the core of a lot of this. His dad was a ***** ** ****. Yeah, and that's trying to make up for it. Solved. Next case, the moral majority set to work preparing morality ratings for every member of Congress. See, that's not terrifying. I love to be rated. Everybody does. It's like Airbnb. But for Congress. They funded documentaries attacking homosexuals as degenerates and decrying abortion as murder. And they launched a national voter registration Dr aimed at Americans concerned with family values issues from bandwidth article. Moral majority sprang into action, mobilizing politicians and religious leaders. Help support their platform. The movement boasted a wide variety of accomplishments and energy to influence the election. We're going to change the country, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch declared. ******* ******* Orrin Hatch. The moral majority boasted a political war chest worth millions of dollars. By the summer of 1980, it opened offices in Washington DC, and in just one year gained 83,000 new addresses for its mailing list. It's like the Black said in the 1960s, Falwell said. And this time we're going to win. Oh my God. Roughly 3 months before the 1980 election, the Moral majority officially announced its support of Ronald Wilson Reagan. Surprise, surprise. And that is where we're going to leave off for the episode. In Part 2, we're going to learn about Jerry Falwell's reaction to the AIDS crisis, the moral majority under Reagan, and just a little bit about how a certain conservative firebrand reacted to 911. And we're going to talk about Larry Flint, who's going to be the hero of the next episode. Hell yeah. Hell yeah. But first, Sophia, you have a podcast. That's right. I have a podcast called Private Parts Unknown Unknown. I co-host it with Courtney Kosak. And it's a podcast about love and sexuality around the world. And it's really fun. And soon, my 90 day Fiance podcast with miles grey called 420 Day fiance is coming out. So watch out for that. I'm going to issue a challenge. To the listeners of both of our podcasts, if if you're a fan of ******** pod and private parts unknown because your podcast is essentially the oral opposite of Jerry Falwell, like condensed into sound waves. So if you if you live near Virginia where he's buried fans of the show get some speakers find is great, which episode would you want blasted into Jerry Falwell's corpse? Men talking about their experiences with abortion? Nailing it? Oh yeah, yeah, play that. One directly into Jerry Falwell's grave. You're gonna have to go to the Liberty University campus to do it, and they will kick you out. But but please get that video. Yeah, **** that would really make my life actually. Yeah, yeah, that there will that you you will be beloved by all of us if you if you succeed in beaming an episode of private parts unknown into Jerry Falwell's rotting bones into his ghost body, which is now in the most subterranean levels of Pennsylvania. Yeah, I think that will destroy his ghost. Wow, that's not that's the only way you can get rid of God. That's the only way you can get rid of a ghost. You find their their their opposite, condense it into sound waves, and then blast it into their corpse. It's like a silver bullet for vampires. It's like a silver bullet for vampires, but for ghosts. Truth. And you can just download it on your phone using Spotify. Now you want to plug your social needs so that when fans beam their music into Jerry Falwell's court or your podcast into Jerry Falwell's corpse, they can let you know. Yeah, please, I am the Sophie on Twitter and Instagram SOFIYA. Ulcer spoilers. He's dead. I just realized we hadn't gotten there yet. I think people know he's dead, but I really appreciate the spoiler alert. That's the episode. I website, T-shirts, teepublic. Other podcast worst year ever. Buying the ******** ******* pot at on Twitter Instagram episode done. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting creation distribution. And monetization of your podcast go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Introducing the biz tape you're all things music business and media podcast. Join me, Joe Waslewski, and my co-host Colin McKay every Wednesday where we discuss the breaking news, changing the music industry, and what your favorite artists and creatives are up to. Listen to new episodes of the biz tape every Wednesday on the Nashville podcast network, available on iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.