"God Gave U.S. 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says"
By John F. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 14, 2001; Page C03
Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," said Falwell, appearing yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club," hosted by Robertson.
"Jerry, that's my feeling," Robertson responded. "I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."
Falwell said the American Civil Liberties Union has "got to take a lot of blame for this," again winning Robertson's agreement: "Well, yes."
Then Falwell broadened his blast to include the federal courts and others who he said were "throwing God out of the public square." He added: "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 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.' "
People for the American Way transcribed the broadcast and denounced the comments as running directly counter to President Bush's call for national unity. Ralph G. Neas, the liberal group's president, called the remarks "absolutely inappropriate and irresponsible."
Robertson and others on the religious right gave critical backing to Bush last year when he was battling for the GOP presidential nomination. A White House official called the remarks "inappropriate" and added, "The president does not share those views."
Falwell was unrepentant, saying in an interview that he was "making a theological statement, not a legal statement."
"I put all the blame legally and morally on the actions of the terrorist," he said. But he said America's "secular and anti-Christian environment left us open to our Lord's [decision] not to protect. When a nation deserts God and expels God from the culture . . . the result is not good."
Robertson was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said. But she released a statement echoing the remarks he made on his show. An ACLU spokeswoman said the group "will not dignify the Falwell-Robertson remarks with a comment."
© 2001 The Washington Post Company