Televangelist Falwell Dead at 73

Controversial conservative mixed religion, politics
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2007 1:09 PM CDT
Rev. Jerry Falwell gestures in front of a portrait of himself during a interview at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in a June 20, 2006 file photo. A Liberty University executive says the Rev. Jerry...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and mixed evangelism with conservative social criticism, died today after collapsing in his office at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. He was 73. A lightning rod for controversy, Falwell once called AIDS "the wrath of a just God against homosexuals" and claimed that God is a Republican.

A leader of the religious right throughout the 1980s, Falwell crusaded against abortion, homosexuality, feminism and the Teletubbies character Tinky Winky. He started his first church at the age of 22 with a congregation of just 35 and at his death was the head of a "megachurch" with more than 20,000 members. (Read more Jerry Falwell stories.)