A little over a month after a vanity lounge profile on Jerry Falwell Jr. caused a stir in evangelical circles, it was announced that Lionsgate Television will adapt the article into a limited scripted series.
The Vanity Fair article, written by Gabriel Sherman and published Jan. 24, chronicled Falwell’s upbringing in the home of famed televangelist and conservative activist Jerry Falwell Sr., his rise to prominence at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. , a sex scandal involving his wife and a Miami pool boy, and Falwell’s eventual resignation as president of Liberty University.
One of the most shocking revelations in the article It was when Falwell, the former president of a Christian college, said, “Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I am not.”
“Nothing in history has done more to turn people away from Christianity than organized religion,” Falwell told Vanity Fair. “The religious elite have this idea that somehow their sins aren’t as bad as other people’s.”
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As someone who has been the head of one of the largest evangelical educational institutions in the country for more than a decade, is the son of one of the founders of the Moral Majorityand had a personal relationship with a President of the United States, the statement came across as somewhat ironic.
In a response article, director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project Russell Moore expressed a lack of surprise to Falwell’s revelation, saying, “In many ways, Jerry Falwell Jr. didn’t hide who he was from us. He told us [by his actions while president of Liberty University]again and again.”
Falwell later clarified that while he does not consider himself a “religious person”, he is nonetheless a Christian.
“The Vanity Fair article made it clear that while I haven’t worn my religion on my sleeve to be seen by others, I have nonetheless had a strong faith in Christ and His teachings since college. “Falwell said in a statement. “Other outlets have misrepresented Vanity Fair’s comments.”
The Lionsgate Television-produced show will explore the complexity and tumult of Falwell’s rise and fall.
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