During an interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, fundamentalist Baptist pastor and Moral Majority founder Reverend Jerry Falwell denied ever having equated homosexuality to "smoking crack and bestiality" -- a comparison Falwell has in fact made on several occasions.
From the November 5 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
COOPER: I know in the past you believe homosexual behavior is immoral, a sin, you've equated it with smoking crack, bestiality. But what is the threat to you? What is -- I mean, two men saying that they love each to each other, what's the threat?
FALWELL: Well, I haven't equated it to anything, but I believe that the scripture makes it clear that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong, whether it's heterosexual promiscuity or homosexual activity.
COOPER: On homosexuality, I mean, you say you don't equate it to anything, but you do equate it to -- I mean, you have in plenty of interviews equated it to, you know, immoral behavior, smoking crack and bestiality.
FALWELL: Well, it is immoral behavior, of course. No, not bestiality, not crack -- taking crack. Those are different things, but homosexuality is sin.
Following are examples of Falwell equating homosexuality with smoking crack and bestiality:
• FALWELL: Well, look, first of all, Mr. Bush did not make this a 2004 issue. The Massachusetts Supreme Court did, the San Francisco mayor, the New Mexico officials, et cetera. This was made an issue when the Supreme Court gave constitutional protection to sodomy. So here we have now same-sex marriage. What's next, polygamy? ... Why not? And why not bestiality? [CNN, Wolf Blitzer Reports, 2/24/04]
• FALWELL: I don't want anybody in my bedroom any more than you want anybody in your bedroom. But I think this privacy issue goes too far. Is this right to privacy going to legalize prostitution, or bestiality, or the use of cocaine or heroin as long as you do it in your bedroom? Privacy can be taken to a great extent. ... [I]f we're going to do that, then why don't we just legalize bestiality since it's done in the privacy of one's home, perhaps? [MSNBC, Hardball, 6/27/03]
• INTERVIEWER: Then when you say, "Love the sinner but not the sin," aren't you saying that person is "less than?"
FALWELL: Absolutely not. We work with and help crack and alcohol abusers. That's not saying "You're less than." But we're saying that, right now, you're about to reduce yourself to where you cannot be useful, and where you have no joy in life...
INTERVIEWER: And most gays would say that being gay has nothing to do with living on crack.
FALWELL: It depends on the gay you're talking to. I could bring to you literally thousands of ex-gays who would tell you that they were in a destructive lifestyle until they came to Christ and got out of it. [PBS, Frontline, 2/15/00]
• In the latest letter, the Baptist minister [Falwell] said more money must be received to keep the Moral Majority newspaper and broadcasts going. "Perhaps the most disturbing situation is that our lobbying effort in Washington, D.C., to keep Congress from legalizing sodomy, bestiality, fornication, homosexuality and other perversions is also in danger," the letter added. [Associated Press, 10/23/81]
Falwell has a history of denying his own inflammatory remarks regarding homosexuality. In 1985, Falwell publicly denied having verbally attacked a gay community church until a videotape showed Falwell calling members of the church "brute beasts" and "part of a vile and satanic system [that] will one day be utterly annihilated," the Associated Press reported on September 25, 1985. When Falwell was ordered to pay $5,000 to a former pastor of the church, he responded: "This situation is only one more example of harassment by a militant homosexual group."
In addition to his roles as a pastor and Moral Majority founder, Falwell is chancellor of Liberty University, operates the Liberty Channel cable and satellite network, publishes the National Liberty Journal, and writes a weekly column published by conservative news outlets such as WorldNetDaily.com and NewsMax.com. Falwell endorsed President George W. Bush's reelection.