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Falwell criticizes Gates, Turner

June 24, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

The Rev. Jerry Falwell praised Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan and vilified Bill Gates and Ted Turner at the 44th annual Hagerstown Union Rescue Mission banquet Thursday night at the Ramada Inn.

Falwell, speaking to about 400 people attending the banquet, called Winston Churchill the greatest man in the first half of the 20th century.

Ronald Reagan was the greatest man of the second half of the 20th century, he said.

Ted Turner gave $1 billion to "the wrong people - the U.N.," and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who contributed to "population control," is nothing more than a pro-abortion activist, Falwell said.

"How can these people who have so much to give - for whatever reason - give it to the death industry. ... The mission is a life industry," Falwell said.

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Falwell said youth are not to blame for their problems with drugs, alcohol and violence, but the parents who raised them are at fault.

"There's nothing wrong with the kids today. It's not juvenile delinquency. It's parental delinquency," Falwell said.

The Rescue Mission is in the midst of a campaign to raise $750,000, and the work of the mission is "very much needed and very much overdue," Falwell said.

"My question to you tonight is are you ready to make a difference, or are you just taking up space," Falwell said.

"You lose more than you win and you spend more time in the valley than you do on the mountain top. ... That's where the Hagerstown Union Rescue Mission is: down in the valley."

The mission takes in men who are having trouble with life, including drug and alcohol problems, and turns them around in the direction of Christianity, said Becky Shank, mission Executive Director Bruce Shank's wife.

Harry Truitt has lived at the mission for 30 days. He participates in Bible study every morning and chapel services every evening. "I appreciate what (Falwell) has to say. He is a good man," Truitt said.

"I think (Falwell) was right on target," said John Miller, pastor of the Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport. "We've got to remind the community that it must carry the burden of the ministry."

Falwell was a longtime friend of the late Jim Resh, who founded the mission.

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