You earn your reputation. That Falwell's death is so roundly snickered at is simply him receiving his due. His actions dictated and I'll be damned if he gets any sympathy from me. Besides, the sonofabitch got what he wanted--he politicized religion or religionized conservative politics--however you want to see it. He changed America's socio-political landscape. Not for the better but he changed it.
I think the only legitimate transformation Falwell ever had was when he learned that money from a black man's pocket was worth every bit the same as the money from a white man's pocket and thereafter desegregated the Thomas Road Baptist Church. Anyone who gives him money is as morally and intellectual bankrupt as Falwell was himself. Just not as rich.