Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why I Won't Weep Over Jerry Falwell

So now, the old Snail has gotten to write again.

It has been a few weeks but I did not have the opportunity to do some proper research on anything for a while. I’ve been dealing with a few personal matters, and with me personal matters get very sticky.

Thank heavens Jerry Falwell reminded me of where my true focus should be!

Falwell was an interesting man who was a paradox in some ways yet in most he was very predictable. Pardon me, but I’ll stick to what made him predictable.

I always found his demeanor to be smug and condescending. It was as if he felt that he knew the secrets of the universe, and we were all merely his acolytes.

He did some good things. In 1967, Falwell created the Lynchburg Christian Academy, a fully accredited K-12 day school. He created and built up the Thomas Road Baptist congregation from a handful to a mega church. His founding of Liberty University and even the Moral Majority were all par for the course. If you believe in something create the mechanisms to attain your goal.

However, what I remember is that smug, blustering boob that pontificated to all, and condemned the innocent and undeserving to damnation, all according to his own special criteria.

His tunnel vision was strikingly obvious when he actually had the temerity to blame 9/11 on the courts, gays, lesbians, feminists, abortion, the A.C.L.U. and civil libertarians!

According to the Washington Post,"On September 14, 2001, on Pat Robertson’s show he said:

The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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.'

How’s that? The A.C.L.U. and P.F.AW. left us open to terrorism? Hardly! The inattention of the Bush gang to the red flags like a PDB of possible terrorism as well as our basically one-sided policy in the Middle East might actually have had something to do with 9/11. If anything, the intolerance manifested in Falwell’s statement is closer to that of bin Laden’s than anything the A.C.L.U. or the P.F.A.W. believes in.

All his life he had a tunnel vision that allowed him to make such divisive statements. In the Sixties, Falwell was pro segregation, and called the Civil Rights movement the “Civil Wrongs” movement. In the Eighties he, a man of God, defended the use of nuclear weapons.

Of course, after every gaffe Jerry would get religion and apologize after the nation showed appropriate indignation, outrage, or ridicule.

Which reminds me of Falwell the buffoon.

Poor, sweat Tinky Winky! How could he have known that carrying a purple purse constitutes portraying a gay character? Poor clumsy Falwell! Shouldn’t he have double checked his editor’s article on Tinky Winky in his National Liberty Journal? I don’t sem to recall him trying to distance himself from that article.

Falwell always made mountains out of molehills, whether it was prayer in schools, or same sex marriage. And of course, Falwell always made himself out to be more important than he was.

“Some people,” as Hannity would say, even postulated that Falwell’s importance to American politics was a little inflated.

Jonathan Alter was not as impressed with Falwell as most people were:

According to lore (and much of the coverage of his death), November, 1980 found Falwell at the peak of his powers. That was the month Ronald Reagan was elected president, after having met with Falwell and other members of his brilliantly-named organization, "The Moral Majority." While Falwell might have contributed slightly to Reagan's margin of victory, he was not even close to being instrumental in his election. With incumbent Jimmy Carter bogged down with the Iranian hostage crisis and double-digit inflation and interest rates, Reagan won with 57 percent of the vote -- a huge landslide. At best, the Moral Majority added a point or two to Reagan's totals. More likely, it contributed nothing. Exit polls showed that Carter bested Reagan among Southern Baptists, 50-46 percent. And abortion ranked well behind foreign policy and economics among issues that mattered most to voters that year.

Look, someone will undoubtedly feel the loss for Falwell's passing. It just won't be me. Too much water has passed under the bridge for too many people.

Wikipedia - Jerry Falwell

The National Liberty Journal

Positive Atheism's Big Scary List of
Jerry Falwell

Fallwell's Liberty University Bio

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