Needless to say, I can not count myself among his admirers. Expect to see the usual reactions from the "fair and balanced" media. But instead of offering my own, I thought it better to assess the Reverend's legacy in his own words.
In a sermon in 1976, he reportedly said:
The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.Presumably the "country" he's referring to is the USA. When did Christians come to "own" this country?
In the book Finding Inner Peace and Strength, he wrote:
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, etc.And from this we have his support of creationism, Intelligent Design and a particularly religious strain of anti-intellectualism. This quotation has been around for a long long time:
Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.It's related to the next quotation. According to the International Herald Tribune, at a rally in 1996 he said:
I want the members of Congress to understand...that the solution to America's serious moral and spiritual problem is not political. We're in need of a religious awakening.I'd always found this line of reasoning somewhat troubling - especially after 9/11. Imagine you're on your way to get onto one of those planes knowing that it'll be crashing one of those buildings in a few hours. You know you're going to die and you know you're going to kill alot of innocent people. There had to be a point at of no return - a point at which you couldn't turn back. What keeps you from saying to yourself, "Gee this might not be a good idea?"
What kept those guys from turning back?
It was the depth of their faith. True that faith was certainly different from Reverand Falwell's, but in light of the devastation a group of guys caused by acting according to their deeply held religious beliefs, shouldn't 9/11 have been some sort of warning about acting so irreversably according to something so fleeting as faith?
Of course not. We all know Falwell's infamous finger pointing after 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 try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen.Though in fairness, he did apologize:
When I talked about God lifting the curtain of protection on our nation, I should have made it very clear that no one on this earth knows whether or not that occurred or did not occur.Well, that certainly clears things up.
I could go on; about how homosexuals are "brute beasts" and one of the Teletubbies is gay and how the "the moslem faith teaches hate." But I think I made my point.
Reverend Jerry Falwell (August 11, 1933 - May 15 2007)