NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The United States is in a constitutional crisis and every Christian should pray for the country, said televangelist and pastor Jerry Falwell.
“When the vote recount is completed tonight, whichever candidate is leading should declare victory and begin gathering and putting together a cabinet,” Falwell said. “The other candidate should graciously bow out and do the honorable thing, putting an end to this national agony.”
Falwell suggested that Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush follow the lead of Sen. John Ashcroft. Ashcroft was defeated in his re-election bid by the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan. Carnahan was killed in an Oct. 16 plane crash. His wife agreed to serve in his place.
“There were many legal experts who said the election was illegal because Gov. Carnahan was no longer a resident of the state,” Falwell said. “Ashcroft, instead, as a Christian gentleman, said the election was over. He said the people had spoken and he would be standing by to assist Mrs. Carnahan as she assumes the office.
“That is the kind of graciousness and dignity that should characterize Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore’s behavior,” Falwell said.
While Falwell said the country is in a crisis mode, he is personally at ease. “I am at perfect peace about this,” he said. “I am a strong believer in the sovereignty of God and the Constitution of the United States. I believe that when the popular vote recount is concluded in Florida the winners should be undisputed.”
And the winner, Falwell believes, will be Bush. He doubts that Gore will go quietly into the night.
“It will be against Mr. Gore’s character to do the right thing,” Falwell said. “But I’m hoping cooler minds will prevail. I was on the Geraldo show last night debating this issue and surprisingly Geraldo agreed with me when I said that no matter what, the Constitution must prevail.”
“If Mr. Bush or Mr. Gore refuse to accept the constitutional edict on the plurality of electoral votes, they do so at their own peril,” Falwell warned. “They will be discredited.”
One area of contention with Falwell is the way Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigned in black churches. “If we evangelicals had done what Mr. Gore and the Clintons and Jesse Jackson had done in prostituting black churches in America, we would be under indictment right now and our tax-exempt status would be revoked,” Falwell said.
“Amazingly, the Gores broke every law in the book. Black churches were prostituted and it’s obvious because they voted 92 percent for Gore. I don’t blame the churches. I blame the politicians. They were the pimps,” Falwell added.
Falwell said the outcome of the election is crucial with a ban on partial-birth abortions and future Supreme Court nominees in the balance.
“If Bush becomes president he will take a position that is biblically based,” Falwell said. “If Gore becomes president, the family as we know it will be in great jeopardy.”