The Reverend Jerry FalwellThe Rev. Jerry Falwell, a televison evangelist and moral activist, died today at the age of 73.

Falwell was, of course, one of the great bugaboos of the Left for the past three decades, and he earned that distinction largely by having non-atheist and non-latitudinarian principles and sticking to them.

Falwell had failed to install the theocracy that leftists had long insisted he was intent on creating in the United States.

Although I disagree with some of his theological positions and many of his political statements, I acknowledge that Jerry Falwell tried to work correctly within the American system to effect positive change.

He founded an institution, Liberty University, that may well hae a greater and more lasting influence on American society than any of his political activities did.

Falwell’s political activities were thoroughly justifiable on the basis of American history and our constitutional order, in great contrast to those of most other prominent political activists of our time, who wish to force their wandering desires and phony panics on us by dint of pure government power.

Far from trying to impose a theocracy, Falwell tried to work through the electoral process honestly to restore to the American people the opportunity to decide the important moral issues of our time. Despite his occasional rhetorical excesses, Jerry Falwell appears to have been an honorable man.

AP reports that Falwell enjoyed a good day at the university in his last hours: "The day before he died, Falwell ‘had been up on the mountain by the logo, and students were up there picnicking, and he had had a happy exchange with those students,’ [Liberty University executive vice president Ron] Godwin said. Tuesday morning, he said, Falwell was talking about plans for the future." That sounds like a fine way to leave this vale.

May God rest his soul.