Magazine article Church & State

Back at the Falwell Follies: Jerry Jr.'s Bogus Complaint to the IRS

Magazine article Church & State

Back at the Falwell Follies: Jerry Jr.'s Bogus Complaint to the IRS

Article excerpt

An acorn, the adage states, does not fall far from the tree.

That's certainly the case with Jerry Falwell Jr. Co-heir to the fundamentalist empire in Lynchburg, Va., created by his late father, Falwell Jr. is turning out to be a clone of his dad--especially when it comes to partisan politics.

Falwell Sr. was notorious for his partisan behavior. He enjoyed having aspiring senators, governors and presidents come to him, seeking an endorsement.

Sometimes he went too far. In 1993, Falwell St. had to pay the IRS $50,000 in back taxes after his tax-exempt "Old Time Gospel Hour" broadcast ministry waded into some congressional elections. The ministry's tax exemption for the years 1986 and 1987 was retroactively revoked.

In 1997, Falwell attempted to intervene in a Virginia state election by urging pastors to stand in their pulpits and give "personal" endorsements of a candidate for attorney general. Americans United promptly notified the IRS, and the scheme went nowhere.

Falwell Sr. died in May of 2007, and now Americans United is left to tangle with Falwell Jr., who serves as chancellor of Liberty University. (Another Falwell son, Jonathan, got Thomas Road Baptist Church and the TV ministry.)

Late in 2007, Falwell used Liberty resources to endorse Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. AU reported him to the IRS.

Recently, he struck again. This time, Falwell signed off on a scheme by the university to curtail the activities of a College Democrats club that had formed on campus. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.