Jerry Falwell: The “Divider” Who Brought Us the “Decider”
Jerry Falwell, the granddaddy of the “Christian Right”, died this past Tuesday at the age of 73.
In his Op-Ed piece today, Cal Thomas sang the praises of old Jerry Falwell. He credited Falwell with the Phoenix like rise of the “Moral Majority” (His phrase, not mine. To me that rubber band is being stretched from both ends. Maybe “Selectively Moral Hodgepodge” is better). He said, “Without him (Falwell), it is doubtful Evangelical Christians would have ever mobilized into the significant voting bloc that elected Ronald Reagan twice, George W. Bush once, and the current President Bush.”
He does go on to throw a little criticism in Jerry’s direction (Although very gently). Saying the true message of Christianity is being lost because of the focus on Politics instead of the “good news”. But being a part of the “Christian Right” himself, Thomas falls into one of the myriad of pitfalls people inevitably face when adopting such rigid ideologies, he contradicts himself.
Cal Thomas is a political columnist. Regardless of the topic, Thomas always manages to put a little political spin in there somewhere. He could write an Op-ed on Cotton Candy and somehow navigate the column toward “Liberals,” and how they’re the reason Cotton Candy rots your teeth. Like all Partisans, Thomas is a hypocrite who hides behind rhetoric, double talk, and in the case of “Right Wing Christians,” the Bible.
In his column, Thomas conveniently skips over Falwell’s numerous, often vicious, rants against “Liberals”, “Secularists”, “Homosexuals” and pretty much anyone who dared disagree with him. (It may have to do with the fact that Thomas likes to rant himself, but who doesn’t?).
Falwell, if anything, was a demagogue who fed on desperate, lonely, and gullible people who thought he had a “hot-line to God”. The idea that he was even considered a “religious” leader is a clear demonstration of how little religions have changed in the last 2000 years. (In fact, anyone who’s truly interested in learning about God is probably best served by staying away from the “Religious”. They don’t teach “God’s Word,” they preach Subjugation and Assimilation).
The “Christian Right” is a political movement that uses religion as a shroud behind which they can hide and avoid criticism. Oh, they talk a good game don’t they? “We need to go to Church, follow Jesus, do good works blah blah blah.” But when you turn on the television, sign on to the Internet, or pick up a newspaper their tone, and message are suddenly drastically different. That once kind voice so filled with tenderness, and the “Spirit” is suddenly loud, bitter, consumed with anger. And that once smiling face is now twisted into a snarl.
Other than the gang members with whom I worked, I’ve never met angrier people than some of the people I know on the “Christian Right”. It radiates from them as though they sit at all times right on the edge of their anger waiting for a reason to jump.
I mentioned previously that I worked at a newspaper for a short time. The paper, despite the propaganda, was extremely Right Wing. I used to laugh when my editor complained when a rival paper referred to us as a “Right Wing Rag”. He’d feign offense, but he knew it was true. Most of the people there thought Pat Buchanan was “too Liberal”. Anyway.
We were at a staff meeting one night, and our main financial contributor decided to grace us with his presence. Fifteen or twenty minutes into the meeting he started a discussion about this “Liberal” who was in a position to put the poo poo on one of his business ventures. Before I knew it, every writer present offered to write a piece about the son of a bitch. One asked if there was any “dirt” on the guy that could possibly be used against him. Oh, Jesus’ Love flowed like lava that night.
Being the person I am, I just sat there; watching, listening, and thinking to myself, “this is how lynch mobs form”.
Understand, they condemned this man without knowing any of the details. This story wasn’t waiting in the queue. No one knew a thing about it until that night, and they were ready to break out the torches and head to this “Criminals” house based solely on the testimony of a man who would benefit financially if someone found some “dirt”.
I couldn’t help smiling a little self-righteous smile, after all, I was the “Godless, Baby-Killing Liberal”. But this is only one example.
In March of this year Albert Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.”
I can only imagine how popular Mr. Mohler would be in 1930-40 Germany. The Nazis were keen on Eugenics as well.
Needless to say, his comments spurred a great deal of outrage, even among the “Christian Right”. But you know what upset them about his comments? Was it the suggestion that we use our technology to alter, mutate “God’s Precious and Innocent Babies”? Nope. They were pissed he acknowledged that science is close to Proving that Homosexuality is Biological.
His remarks could turn the Right’s Bullshit claim that Homosexuality is a “choice” on its ear. People were furious. How could he do such a thing? Everyone knows Gay People “choose” to be gay. It says so right in there in the Bible.
Of course it says a lot of things in the Bible. Did you know that eating Shellfish was once considered “abomination”? Eating oysters would land you in Hell right along with Nero. But as society progressed and our knowledge about disease and other cultures grew that became a silly idea. So, in the New Testament eating shellfish is A-Ok.
I think the most telling thing about the Christian Right’s reaction, other than their lack of concern for the Unborn, is essentially they are telling us beforehand, “Even if science proves Homosexuality is Biological, we’re not going to accept it. We’ll continue to claim it’s a “choice”. We can’t/won’t even go there.”
Maybe it’s hate. The Right has no shortage of hatred that’s for sure. But I think it’s really because of fear.
People like Jerry Falwell told his Flock for decades that questioning the “Scriptures” is Heresy. Forget the fact the “Scriptures” have “Miraculously” changed along with Society since the very beginning. No, no, The Scriptures are infallible and written by “God’s Own Hand”, and the Fags can never be accepted. No matter what. They’ll destroy Society as we know it. Personally I thought we heterosexuals were doing a good job of that, but what do I know? I worship Satan/Karl Marx, and, I fornicate.
One of my friends claims these “Extremists”, even though he agrees with 99% of their agenda, give “Real Christians” a “Bad Name”. I’ve heard that tired rhetoric for 15 years. Where are the “Real Christians” then? Every time someone on the Right attempts to reach out, they are beaten back by the “Moral Majority”. If there are “Moderates” or at least reasonable people in the “Christian Right” they sure are quiet. Therefore, I must assume, as should you, they have no intention of compromising or finding common ground. It’s their way or “Burn in Hell Forever”.
Jerry Falwell’s impact on our society extends far beyond his “Sheep”, “Flock”, “Gaggle?” The “Religious Right”, as Thomas rightly pointed out, influenced several Presidential Elections. And maybe it was necessary.
The problem is, Extremists from both the Left, and the Right never know when to pack up and go home. But maybe with the death of Falwell we can move forward again without all these unnecessary Right and Left turns.