A rabbi has called on anti anti-gay televangelist Jerry Falwell to be more tolerant towards homosexuality, stating they pose no threat to him.

He delivered the message yesterday at the minister’s Christian based Liberty University.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the American Union for Reform Judaism, said: “You oppose gay marriage while we believe in legal protection for gay couples. We understand your reading of the Biblical texts, even if we read those texts in a different way.

“But gay Americans pose no threat to their friends, neighbours, or co-workers, and when two people make a lifelong commitment to each other, we believe it is wrong to deny them the legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society.”

He warned him against religion interfering with government, “It is understandable, perhaps, that we may feel victimized and under attack and look for quick fixes. And so we hear calls, sometimes from evangelicals and sometimes from others, for prayer in the schools and lowering the wall of church-state separation.

“But let us beware of simple answers. As a Jew, I don’t like it when other Jews find an anti-Semite under every bed; I don’t believe that Judaism is seriously imperilled, and I don’t think that Christianity is under siege either.

“Neither do I want to ask the government to solve our problems by imposing its will. Government coercion generates resentment, not godliness, and it is never a good idea to put the government in charge of our thinking.

Mr Falwell is known fro banning gay organisations and groups from his school based on Christian teachings.