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Jerry Falwell Fun Facts: 9 Things You Might Not Know About Evangelical Leader

Image: Jerry Falwell Fun Facts: 9 Things You Might Not Know About Evangelical Leader
(Jeff Fusco/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 12:05 PM

The basics about reverend Jerry Falwell are easy. He's a famous Baptist preacher, the founder of Liberty University and the former leader of the Moral Majority.

As somebody who stood on the front lines of fundamentalist Christian values and mingled with many a United States president, Falwell was a well-known public figure up until his death in 2007.

He was loved and hated with equal passion by many, as The New York Times said "he was a lightning for controversy and caricature" in his 2007 obituary.

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However, there are many other fun facts about Falwell that didn't make it into much mainstream media. The evangelical leader has things about him that most people simply do not know:

1. Falwell sued Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt for $45 million, regarding a 1983 parody ad, but the libel claims were rejected by a jury, according to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The jury did side with Falwell for $200,000 for intended emotional harm.

What's shocking is that Flynt and Falwell became friends later in life and toured together for speaking engagements.

2. Falwell drank a Snapple Diet Peach Tea each day, according to Relevant Magazine. A Liberty University student writing a profile on Falwell's personality was asked by Falwell to include it in his story for the magazine, and he obliged.

3. Falwell's favorite meal was steak and a baked potato, but with no butter, according to Relevant magazine.

4. Falwell's father and grandfather were atheists
, with their views formed by close tragedies, according to his New York Times obituary.

5. Falwell and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy were political opponents from opposite ends of the spectrum
. According to author Michael Sean Winters in an interview with the Center for American Progress, Falwell and Kennedy became friends and Kennedy asked Falwell to come pray with his ailing mother in Florida.

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6. Falwell loved to play pranks on friends and associates.
According to "Falwell, Inc.: Inside a Religious, Political, Educational, and Business Empire," author Dirk Smillie said Falwell had stink bombs in the center drawer of his desk and "Even at 73, he had delighted in silently setting them off as an unsuspecting victim sat nearby."

7. Falwell was an accomplished athlete. He turned down a chance to play professional baseball, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, instead heading to Lynchburg College in Virginia.

8. In 1983, Falwell was ranked as the second-most admired man in America. According to a poll by "Good Housekeeping," cited by Frank Rich's editorial in the New York Times, the only person he came in behind was the U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

9. Falwell had a twin brother named Gene, according to a piece from the Christian Broadcasting Network's website. That fact was in a book written by his widow, Macel Falwell, titled "Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy." Jerry and Gene were the youngest of five children.

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The basics about reverend Jerry Falwell are easy. He's a famous Baptist preacher, the founder of Liberty University and the former leader of the Moral Majority.
jerry falwell, fun facts, evangelical leader
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2015-05-01
Friday, 01 May 2015 12:05 PM
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