Jerry Falwell's media representative for 17 years ends professional ties

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2001

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell's media representative the past 17 years has ended professional ties with the Virginia preacher, who was denounced over remarks after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

''While we have occasionally disagreed on public relations issues and tactics, our friendship has never wavered,'' said a prepared statement from publicist Mark DeMoss, who will continue to chair the trustees' executive committee for Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

DeMoss declined an interview to explain his decision. Falwell's new spokesman, Ron Godwin, said DeMoss simply wanted to concentrate on helping the university.

DeMoss's Georgia agency represents major evangelical groups, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Samaritan's Purse, led by Franklin Graham; Campus Crusade for Christ International and Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship.

Two days after the attacks, Falwell said on Pat Robertson's TV show that those trying to secularize America ''helped this happen,'' citing abortionists, feminists, homosexuals, pagans, the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way.

''God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve,'' Falwell said.

After the White House and others called the remarks inappropriate, Falwell apologized, saying they were insensitive and divisive.

An Oct. 4 fund-raising letter from Falwell's son Jonathan told supporters his father blamed only the terrorists, but a media ''wolf pack'' was spreading ''liberal lies'' in a ''vicious smear campaign.'' He said the ministry had lost more than $500,000 income since Sept. 11.

Godwin said mail problems caused the funding falloff, not concern over Falwell's remarks, and that contributions have rebounded since Jonathan's appeal.

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