In a statement released the evening of Sept. 18, Jerry Falwell apologized for remarks he made last week on "The 700 Club," in which he blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on feminists, gays and others.
"After enduring a round of criticism that included rebuke from the White House, Mr. Falwell issued a statement saying he regretted his remarks," wrote Gustav Niebuhr in the New York Times.
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way--all of them have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'" Falwell had said on the Sept. 13 show.
He had said God was punishing America for its secularization.
Pat Robertson, the show's host, who quickly concurred with Falwell's accusations of blame, later condemned the remarks.
In Falwell's apology he called his earlier remarks "insensitive," "uncalled for" and "unnecessary."
"In the midst of the shock and mourning of a dark week for America, I made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret," Falwell said in his apology statement. "I apologize that, during a week when everyone appropriately dropped all labels and no one was seen as liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, religious or secular, I singled out for blame certain groups of Americans."
Falwell also said, "I do not know if the horrific events of September 11 are the judgment of God, but if they are, that judgment is on all of America--including me and all fellow sinners--and not on any particular group."