Jerry Falwell hasn't been dead for more than a few hours. Yet, I've been inundated by emails and text messages touting the news. I've got mixed feelings on how to perceive the death of someone who would probably have celebrated my own death. So, I've decided to call a spade a spade, even in death. He was a hateful person who did not serve to inspire the better nature of America. Instead, he used religion to propagate hate and discrimination for as long we anyone can remember. Forgive me if I don't cry.
The Carpetbagger Report has a compilation of Jerry Falwell's most famous digressions from morality, ethics, and the law. Here is a classic from 2001:
Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "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.'"
I remember, in the wake of great tragedy, Falwell making this statement. I'm happy to call attention to it today so people who give commentary on his life see that it was filled with hate. Forgive me if I don't cry.
Howie Klein, at Down With Tyranny goes a little farther than I would, but shows he is well versed in literature. Howie's post actually reminds me of the book "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl. You can read about it here. If you're already familiar with the book, then you'll know that a "man of God" who does not follow the spirit of the Word is reserved a particularly painful punishment in Dante's Inferno. Forgive me if I don't cry.
American for Separation of Church and State show how Falwell illegally transferred money from tax exempt institutions to pay for partisan political activities. This was $6.7 million dollars that regular people gave to him for his Ministry. Instead, he transferred it to political committees. He showed no regard for the law or the spirit in which that money was given. Forgive me if I don't cry.
So, he hated women, blacks, gays, jews, liberals, progressives, atheists, agnostics, foreigners, and anybody else who disagreed with him. He broke the law. He established a university that institutionalized everything he was about. I hope it all goes with him. The brand of conservative hate he represented has no place in what this country should stand for. Forgive me if I don't cry.