Falwell Apologizes For Remarks

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Falwell Apologizes For Remarks

By John F. Harris

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 18, 2001; Page C04

Conservative evangelist Jerry Falwell, who sparked an uproar by saying that liberal civil-rights groups, homosexuals and abortion-rights supporters were partly responsible for last week's terrorist attacks, yesterday apologized for making remarks that he acknowledged "seemed harsh and ill-timed."

Falwell, who made the comments in a discussion with fellow evangelist Pat Robertson on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club," said in a statement posted on his Web site that he was making a nuanced theological point that was misunderstood by a "secular media and audience."

Meanwhile, Robertson -- who on the show had responded to Falwell's comments by saying "I totally concur" and "Amen" -- and later said the minister had been quoted out of context -- yesterday issued a news release calling Falwell's remarks "totally inappropriate." During the broadcast, Robertson said, he was caught off guard by remarks he considered "severe and harsh in tone," and said his colleague's discourse was "frankly, not fully understood" by him or the show's other hosts.

Falwell maintained yesterday that his remarks were lifted from their context, though many who were offended said the lengthy passages cited in media accounts made Falwell's meaning plain. He said an angry God had lifted the protection he previously bestowed on the nation, allowing "the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."

"Jerry, that's my feeling," Robertson replied.

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,' " Falwell said.

Falwell said yesterday that asserting these groups had incited God to lift his protection was not saying that they were responsible. "I hold no one other than the terrorists, and the people and nations who have enabled and harbored them, responsible for the September 11 attacks on this nation," he said.

He added that he wished he had not mentioned specific groups like the American Civil Liberties Union by name, and had not mentioned the failure of churches to halt "a generation of departure from God." Falwell said "I sincerely regret" that the timing and wording of the comments "have detracted from the spirit of this time of mourning." Whatever their intent, both ministers caused a storm. A White House official said Bush, who has drawn strong support from Robertson's backers, considered them inappropriate. Among the deluge of e-mails to this newspaper regarding the remarks was one from a student who claimed he was so offended that he was dropping out of the Falwell-founded Liberty University.

In a common response, another correspondent wrote: "Falwell and Robertson would do well to reflect on the fact that this tragedy was begat by men who bear a remarkable resemblance to themselves: that is, religious zealots who are motivated by deep hatreds."

-- PHO (owennos@bigfoot.com), September 18, 2001


its all about MONEY he only wanted to hopefully get a few more pennies from sheep.fuckin greddy bastard!

-- cant stand holy ghost money thieves (fallwell@thephony.schmuck), September 18, 2001.

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