Archive for May 18th, 2007

De mortuis: Jerry Falwell

May 18, 2007

Brother Jerry Falwell has passed and maybe the most honest and witty line about his death was that penned by writer Alan Wolfe of who wrote:

“One never wants to speak ill of the dead, but in the case of Jerry Falwell, how can one not? “

One can not think of anything worthwhile Falwell said or did as a Christian minister with a bully pulpit. A master of spite, division and anti-intellectualism, he played into the darkest fears of evangelical Christians conflating America and the Republican Party with the kingdom of God…and then in turn he would demonize the same US of A as hopelessly sunk in depravity.And then there’s this classic which should have insured his absolute marginalization as a Chrsitian gospeller. Jerry on 9/11:

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”

Falwell was a low level southern bigot who when he catapulted to notoriety tried to excise his racist past and lines like this:

“The true Negro does not want integration… He realizes his potential is far better among his own race… It will destroy our race eventually… In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife… It boils down to whether we are going to take God’s Word as final.”

In the end he helped denigrate the message of God’s reign of peace and justice, turned Jesus into moralizing judge and did little for the poor of America. He spouted biblical words but knew very little about scripture or serious theology.”The Bible is the inerrant … word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etcetera.” A pure product of television and its dumbing down effects, Jerry was living proof of P.T. Barnum’s adage that there is a sucker born every minute. To think of all those poor folks who sent his “ministry” their hard earned dollars is enough to make one weep.

One can only hope that in his personal life he was a decent human being but the worst thing that ever happened was that someone once put a mike in front of him and convinced him he had something useful to say which would enoble the human condition and help heal the nations. It never happened.