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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

R.I.P Jerry Falwell.

Jerry Falwell died today at the age of 73.

He is said to be the founder of the "Moral Majority," a conservative movement initiated in reaction to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which established a woman's reproductive right to include abortion.

Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added: "Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation."

Perhaps Falwell will be remembered best for his . . ."analysis" . . .of the reason for the disaster of 9/11 as portrayed in the cartoon above.

I think his greatest legacy - and lasting curse - will be that he defined for the general public what it means to be "Christian."

A Falwell Christian is one with a negative, narrow view of the human condition, someone who is both judging and judgmental, who grants forgiveness contingent upon a pledge of allegiance to the god of Falwell's own imaging, and conformity to a way of life strictly prescribed by Falwell's own understanding of the will of God as revealed by his interpretation of the fundamentals of scripture.

When it is learned that someone has died, it has become as automatic to respond, "Rest in Peace" as it is to say, "God Bless You!" when someone sneezes.

As a Christian, I pray that's true for Mr. Falwell.

Because now, it's certainly true for many of the rest of us.

15 comments:

R S Bunker said...

Yes you can just feel the love when some one uses their "condolences" to launch and attack:

Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added: "Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation."

Yes you can just feel the human love and compassion pooring out of that remark. The sunshine this man is pooring out is just AMAZING.

The fact that someone who is ordained whoul use this person to convey here feeling about a fellow christian's death is as pathetic as it is low.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, and the love just drips off your words, Mr. Bunker. (Would your middle name be "Archie"?)

Merseymike said...

Well said.

The harm and damage that his comments and beliefs have caused should not be under-estimated.

People like Falwell must always be firmly challenged and opposed.

-frank said...

The cartoon sez it all.

Bill said...

The Rev. Falwell used his ministry to condemn and vilify gays for quite some time. It seems to me that the world will be a much more loving, inclusive, and tolerant place without Mr. Falwell.

Lauren Gough said...

Brother Bunker, the legacy of Mr. Falwell is one of politics, attacks, and appalling injury to the LGBTQ community. That Mr. Falwell used 9/11 and the death of over 3,000 people as a way to attack his political foes should not go unnoticed at his death.

While there are those who will miss his foul and hateful form of "christianity", those who have a relationship with the welcoming Christ will find it a bit quieter.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The man left quite a legacy. Check it out and, as Brother Bunker says, "feel the love."

"Jerry Falwells' Greatest Zits"

http://phoenixwoman.wordpress.com/2007/05/15/jerry-falwells-greatest-zits/

Mike in Texas said...

You're gonna love this one.

The Phelps Klan is planning to picket Falwell's funeral.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

If this (the Phelps story) weren't so evil, it would be laughable. All I can do is pick my jaw up off my chest and shake my head sadly.

Merseymike said...

All you can really say is that Phelps and Falwell deserve one another!

They are essentially on the same side in any case - scratch a conservative and the same old, same old is always there beneath

just another piskie said...

When someone at work approached me with the news (which I'd already read online) I said, "Well, now he sees face to face and knows better. That must have been quite an Ooops! moment for him."

An online friend of mine, who is remarkably charitable, I think, responded to my passing him the news with "He died doing his work. I hope that I do, too."

Suzer said...

I think many of us struggle with what the proper Christian response is to Rev. Falwell's death. I feel compassion for his family and loved ones, and grief at a life lived in what appeared to be deep hatred and divisiveness. How can we separate the man from his deeds? Can we at all?

What I do know is that Rev. Falwell is in Heaven. He has been released from his earthly bonds and forgiven, as we all will be. I trust he can now see Truth and the veil has been lifted from his eyes. I grieve that he was unable to see more clearly and hear the gospel message of Love during his lifetime.

It seems a bit unrealistic to expect the GLBT community in particular to be able to express sorrow while not also presenting the reality of Rev. Falwell's words and deeds. He spent a lifetime making truly outrageous and hateful statements in the name of Jesus. What I can say that I am sad about is his legacy. He had so much power to do Good, but any good he might have done is overshadowed by his hateful rhetoric.

Can you "feel the love" from the GLBT community? Hmmm. Perhaps you can feel as much love as Rev. Falwell showed toward us during his lifetime. (Actually, on the sites I frequent, the GLBT community has shown a thousand times more grace and Christian love than we ever received from Rev. Falwell. That is not to say there aren't other places where perhaps unChristian attitudes hold sway, but I generally don't visit those places.)

Bill said...

Suzer writes: “It seems a bit unrealistic to expect the GLBT community in particular to be able to express sorrow while not also presenting the reality of Rev. Falwell's words and deeds.”

I’m not sure how to respond to this. I’m of the GLBT community and although I don’t express sorrow, I also don’t hate. Hate is such a strong emotion and takes up so much time and energy. I really don’t think of him much at all. If anything he made me laugh a little. He was so far out there, so far wrong, that at times I felt a little sorry for him. Now there are those who would say that laughing at someone is the only true insult. So be it. I thought he was a moron. The really sad part of it is that some people took him seriously.

So, so sum it up, I didn’t love or hate him. He was, for me, a non-person.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bill,

Your comment reminds me of that wonderful song from that wonderful Broadway play, "A Chorus Line" that Morales sings:

"Six months later I heard that Karp had died.
And I dug right down to the bottom of my soul...
And cried.
'Cause I felt... nothing."

Suzer said...

Bill -- I hope I'm not misreading your comment, but I did not mean to make the suggestion that the GLBT community should hate Rev. Falwell. Far from it. I would never say that we should hate anyone. It is just that whatever sorrow we may feel for his family and loved ones is necessarily tempered by what we know of his deeds during his lifetime.

In fact, I do feel grief at a life lost which could have been lived more fully, which could have had such power to make positive change in this world. I am sad that Rev. Falwell never met what could have been an amazing potential to do good. He instead created hate and division. That is the sorrow I feel.