Evangelism: The Bell Tolls for Falwell

The Bell Tolls for Falwell

Evangelist Jerry Falwell set up a toll-free telephone number a decade ago so followers could dial in to hear his inspirational messages and be massaged for donations. Things were heavenly until Atlanta's Edward Johnson, who holds a grudge against television evangelists, programmed his Atari to dial Falwell's number every 30 seconds. In December, Southern Bell got Johnson to deprogram his computer, but publicity over the incident inspired other Falwell foes to dial away. Among the harassers: homosexuals angered at Falwell's crusade against them. Some 25% of the 1 million toll-free calls a year were coming from cranks, at a cost to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!