On Sept. 13, two days after the terrorist attacks that killed more than 4,400, Jerry Falwell appeared on "The 700 Club", the Rev. Pat Robertson’s TV show, and made a statement that has inspired widespread anger and mockery.
"What we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is," he said on the show, "could be miniscule if in fact God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
"Jerry, that's my feeling," Robertson replied.
"The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this," Falwell said.
"Well, yes," Robertson agreed.
"And I know that I'll hear from them on this," Falwell continued. "But throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and 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.'"
Over the next several weeks, Falwell's comments about those controversial comments kept changing. A few hours after the TV show, he reiterated his remarks, telling the New York Times that "the collective efforts of many secularists . . . has left us vulnerable."
The next day he issued a statement saying that his comments were made during "a long theological discussion" and were "taken out of context." A few days later, he appeared on Geraldo Rivera's cable TV show and repudiated everything he'd said on "The 700 Club": "This is not what I believe and I therefore repudiate it and ask God's forgiveness and yours."
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