Falwell Passes Away

15 05 2007

Filed under: Fallwell, Christianity, Politics, Moral Majority

UPDATED 11:00 PM – Gay community reacts. Scroll for update…

I took a break this afternoon during a conference I’m attending and was shocked and mortified to see the headline that Dr. Jerry Falwell had passed away this morning.

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the folksy, small-town preacher who used the power of television to found the Moral Majority and turn the Christian right into a mighty force in American politics during the Reagan years, died Tuesday at 73.

Falwell was found without a pulse in his office at Liberty University and pronounced dead at a hospital an hour later. Dr. Carl Moore, Falwell’s physician, said he had a heart condition and presumably died of a heart rhythm abnormality.

Driven into politics by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established the right to an abortion, Falwell founded the Moral Majority in 1979. One of the conservative lobbying group’s greatest triumphs came just a year later, when Ronald Reagan was elected president.

Falwell credited the Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, aiding in Reagan’s victory and giving Republicans control of the Senate.
“I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved,” he said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.

Fellow TV evangelist Pat Robertson, himself a one-time GOP candidate for president, pronounced Falwell “a tower of strength on many of the moral issues which have confronted our nation.”

The rise of Christian conservatism — and the Moral Majority’s full-throated condemnation of homosexuality, abortion and pornography — made Falwell perhaps the most recognizable figure on the evangelical right, and one of its most controversial ones, too.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State could not conceal his giddiness in his official statement:

Jerry Falwell politicized religion and failed to understand the genius of our Constitution, but there is no denying his impact on American political life. He will long be remembered as the face and voice of the Religious Right.

Falwell manipulated a powerful pulpit in exchange for access to political power and promotion of a narrow range of moral concerns. I appeared with him on news programs dozens of times over the years and, while I disagreed with just about everything Falwell stood for, he was a determined advocate for what he believed.

Americans United extends its condolences to members of Dr. Falwell’s family, the congregants of Thomas Road Baptist Church and the students and staff of Liberty University.

Barry needs a refresher course in tact, compassion not to mention politics and the Constitution. Keep your condolences, Barry. You need them more than his family does. Like most normal humans, the Falwell family would rather have true, heartfelt remarks than the lukewarm insult sandwich you’ve offered today.

UPDATED 11:00 PM – Gay community reacts.

“Jerry Falwell was one of the first and most visible advocates of a more-than-30-year-old movement to bring fundamentalist Christianity into the political sphere in ways that are particularly vicious and painful to millions of LGBT people around the country,” read a press release by the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center’s executive director.

“He blamed gays and lesbians for the tragedies of September 11. He fought to block civil rights for LGBT Americans,” wrote Thom Lynch. “Perhaps this will signal the end of an era and allow us to find ways to live and co-exist in a pluralistic democracy.”

Lynch closed: “We wish Rev. Falwell’s family as much peace and comfort as is possible during what will most surely be a difficult time for them.”

Meanwhile, a so-called “anti-memorial” is being planned in the city, where gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders plan to speak out about Falwell’s past efforts to demonize the gay community.

An anti-memorial? This is border-line Westboro-Phelps insanity. He’s completely out of touch with reality. Apparently, so is the gay community. I don’t deny that homosexuals are entitled to their opinions, but their choice of timing and method of displaying their choices are horrendous and embarrassing to the entire country.

Falwell did not single out gays in regards to 9/11, as implied by the statement. He included their sinful lifestyle choice in a list of sins that America has continued to tolerate implying that God might have allowed the punishment of 9/11 for these sins. And he did fight to block civil rights from them because they aren’t a minority. They are men and women who have chosen a sinful sexual lifestyle, which is fine, unless you attempt to obtain special rights, as gays are doing.

As far as a wish for peace? They have it already. As it goes for Barry Lynn, keep yours. You obviously need peace and comfort in your darkened hearts far more than Falwell’s family.

Found another classy quote today from Rev. BigDumbChimp:

I have sympathy for the family but the world is a better place. Good riddence.

F*ck you Falwell. If there was a hell you’d surely be heading there now.

Of course, I edited the quote for publication here. Wow, more maturity from the atheist crowd.

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One response

4 09 2008
jmuintx

While I don’t agree with the anti-memorial, or the vulgar denouncement by the atheist representative at the end of your article, you have to understand that Jerry Falwell embarrassed a lot of people while he was alive.

As a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, I can say that on more than one occasion old Jerr brought quite a bit of negative spotlight to my hometown.

With the example of blaming the gay community for 9-11: while it may have been only one part of a larger rant about the possible causes for the terrorist attacks, it was still completely and totally unacceptable, ESPECIALLY from someone in Jerry’s powerful and influential position.

Of course “America has continued to tolerate” these things: it’s America. From a very large group of people in Lynchburg that didn’t agree with Falwell while he was alive, stop hiding behind your religion and realize that there are people in the world that are different from you.

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