God called a good and dear friend of mine, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, home yesterday.QuoteJerry ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents before becoming a born-again Christian at 19. He turned down an offer to play professional baseball and transferred from Lynchburg College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo."My heart was burning to serve Christ," he once said in an interview. "I knew nothing would ever be the same again."The church that Jerry started in an abandoned bottling plant in 1956 grew into a religious empire that included the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the "Old Time Gospel Hour" carried on television stations around the country and 7,700-student Liberty University, which began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971. He built Christian elementary schools, homes for unwed mothers and a home for alcoholics. "Jerry has been a tower of strength on many of the moral issues which have confronted our nation," Pat Robertson said Tuesday. "I join the students, faculty and staff of Liberty University and Americans of all faiths in mourning the loss of Reverend Jerry Falwell. Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country," Senator McCain said. "Jerry was the seminal figure in bringing evangelical and fundamentalist Christians out of the catacombs and energizing them into a political voting bloc that helped elect Ronald Reagan twice and was responsible for a lot of Republican success after that," said Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist and vice president of the Moral Majority from 1980-85.Jerry survived a 2002 fatwa by Iranian cleric Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari calling for his death.