Bryant Gumbel, host of CBS’ “The Early Show,” demonstrated his true
political colors last week and it was an ugly sight. In what he thought
was a private moment — out of the range of video and audio equipment —
Mr. Gumbel uttered a profane comment about guest Robert Knight, the
articulate conservative spokesman from the Family Research Council.

Mr. Gumbel had finished what the Associated Press called a “tense
interview” last Thursday regarding the recent decision allowing the Boy
Scouts of America to abide by their historic moral guidelines for
leaders — guidelines that are utilized to prevent homosexuals from
serving in leadership roles.

During the interview, Mr. Gumbel was visibly perturbed by Mr.
Knight’s conservative perspective on the Boy Scouts decision.

After concluding the interview and introducing a weather report, the
camera mysteriously switched to Gumbel getting up from his chair. Mr.
Gumbel, an outspoken liberal, was heard to say, “What a …” before his
microphone was quickly switched off. Bob Knight, who is the senior
director of Cultural Studies at FRC, says Mr. Gumbel completed the
sentence, saying in full, “What a f—— idiot.” The AP reported that
while the words cannot be fully heard, videotape appears to support Mr.
Knight’s assertion.

And to think it is Christians who are habitually accused of being
motivated by hate.

Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association has issued a statement
calling for Mr. Gumbel’s firing. While Mr. Knight has said he doesn’t
think sacking Mr. Gumbel is necessary, he thinks the host owes him an
apology. I agree that firing Mr. Gumbel is probably unwarranted, but
one would think that he would at least imitate President Clinton by
issuing a patronizing apology or two.

I wonder if this had been a white announcer privately denouncing a
liberal black leader if CBS would be maintaining their present
lackluster response to this incident. Imagine also the response if a
conservative host had made the same deplorable on-air statement
regarding a homosexual guest. (At present, California’s Labor
commissioner is suing Fox for not apologizing for the private
anti “gay” remarks allegedly made by Fox TV Entertainment Group Chairman
Sandy Grushow to a former Fox talent executive.)

I don’t need to tell you the unremitting outrage that would be
pouring down on CBS right now if Mr. Gumbel had uttered such a remark
against a “gay” representative. This is outright hypocrisy.

Chalk up the Gumbel episode to yet another example of a conservative
Christian being the target of blatant liberal condemnation with no
reckoning — no admission of guilt or request for forgiveness — in
sight. This is the one-way street of hostility on which liberals
frequently travel.

As an aside to this story, on the same day as the Gumbel offense, Bob
Knight was scheduled to appear on Sam Donaldson’s ABCNEWS.com show,
debating the same topic. That morning, a network car arrived at FRC to
pick up Mr. Knight. However, the show’s producer later cancelled his
appearance, explaining to FRC’s Media Director Kristen Hansen that
homosexual attorney Evan Wolfson refused to debate Mr. Knight. In his
place, James Dale, the one-time homosexual Scout leader at the core of
the Supreme Court case, appeared.

FRC’s Janet Parshall said this confirms the fact that “homosexual
activists and their allies are no longer content with securing biased
coverage, but are now vilifying or silencing opponents. … The ‘gay’
thought police are undermining our tradition of freedom of speech and
open debate.”

It is evident that the networks are offering the homosexual community
great latitude in gaining a dominant and controlling position in
“debates” on issues directly relating to them. However, since truth is
not on their side, it is easy to see why they fear honest debate.

Just ask Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Her new Paramount TV show has been
targeted for elimination by hostile homosexuals who do not want her
moral and biblical perspective aired even though a vast number of the
general public agrees with her position. They don’t want debate, they
want suppression.

The real shame in this scheme of silence is that the networks —
where open debate should be embraced — allow this cowardly action to
continue.

Falwell v. Clinton

On Wednesday, I took my case against the White House to federal
court, urging that the White House should release information that I
believe is being kept on me — and other pro-life leaders — in a
Department of Justice database.

White House lawyers say I do not have a right to the information
because the White House is exempt from the Privacy Act of 1974 and is
not required to release such information.

I have contended, through my attorneys

Larry Klayman of Judicial
Watch
and my son Jerry Falwell Jr., that the database known as VAAPCON (Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy) is being utilized to damage the reputations of countless pro-life leaders who do not endorse violence. FBI and White House officials admit the database exists but insist information is not used for such purposes, yet they refuse to release the files for public scrutiny.

“There is nothing in the Privacy Act,” said Mr. Klayman, “that excludes the executive office of the president. The files are used to intimidate people of faith. It is for the purpose of keeping these people quiet during an election time.”

I have never done anything remotely illegal in my pro-life efforts, so keeping a file on other upright pro-life leaders and me is simply unjustifiable and indefensible. Recent media reports have stated that the late Cardinal John O’Connor is another of the pro-life names concealed in this clandestine database.

U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Wilson is expected to make a decision in this case within a few days, and I will keep you abreast of his ruling. If the motion to dismiss is upheld and the White House is removed from the lawsuit, Mr. Klayman believes we should maintain our lawsuit against the FBI. Both Mr. Klayman and my son believe Judge Wilson will rule in our favor.

For the sake of the pro-life movement — and privacy — I hope and pray they are right.

More than 22,000 Celebrate TRBC’S 44th Anniversary
On June 21, 1956, 35 adults attended the first Sunday morning service of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. One year later, 864 persons attended our first anniversary Sunday morning service. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the rapid growth of the fledgling congregation.

On our 16th anniversary, June 1972, we observed our church’s birthday in the Lynchburg Municipal Football Stadium. Evangelist Bob Harrington and Colonel Harland Sanders were our special guest speakers as 19,020 people gathered at the stadium and back at the church where the youth and children remained.

This year, for TRBC’s 44th anniversary, we decided to celebrate our church’s birthday on Sunday, July 2, in another outdoor venue. This time, we utilized the Arthur L. Williams Football Stadium on the campus of our Liberty University, located only minutes away from TRBC. God gave us beautiful weather and yet another record attendance. I suspect our attendance last Sunday was one of America’s largest ever for a single local church gathering on the Lord’s Day, with all attending at the exact same time and in the very same location.

Over 22,000 persons filed through the stadium’s gates to celebrate our 44th — and America’s 224th — birthday. Music minister Mike Speck led the spectacular worship and praise music program. After my sermon, God blessed with a multitude of decisions for Jesus Christ. We TRBCers went home rejoicing at what God has wrought in our first 44 years.

As I stood at the podium on the 50-yard line, looking out over the great throng of people singing glorious hymns of praise that could be heard all over this city of 64,000 population, my mind went back to our humble beginning in June 1956. I had just graduated from Baptist Bible College, in Springfield, Mo., one month earlier. I was homegrown, graduating from Lynchburg’s Brookville High School in May 1950, at age 16. I then enrolled in Lynchburg College and began my training to become a journalist. However, during my second year at Lynchburg on Jan. 20, 1952, I was converted to Jesus Christ and my life was forever changed. Only two months later, I felt God calling me to full-time ministry. I enrolled in Baptist Bible College in September 1952, and graduated in May 1956, immediately traveling back to Lynchburg to plant the brand new church in my beloved hometown.

I am 66 years old now and I have witnessed many significant miracles in leading this wonderful congregation. During the past more-than four decades, God has used this small town church to give birth to Liberty University — the largest Christian university of its kind in the world — the international “Old Time Gospel Hour” television and radio ministries, the Liberty Godparent Home for unwed mothers, the Family Life Services national adoption agency, the Elim Home for Alcohol and Drug Addicted Men, my National Liberty Journal newspaper, and many other worldwide evangelistic outreaches. As an example of this ministry of outreach, each year hundreds of Liberty University students travel to many world locales to proclaim the message of Christ to their fellow man. This year alone, students ministered in Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, India and Kenya.

Through our many outreaches, untold thousands have been led to salvation in Christ. Over $2.5 billion has been raised to advance the Kingdom of Christ. Truly, we had much for which to praise God at our celebration last Sunday, and we shouted the victory loud enough for all to hear. We also televised the event and our international “Old-Time Gospel Hour” audience will witness the magnitude of this magnificent event — featuring the testimony of the Flying Wallenda Family — in a near future broadcast.

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