Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Word About Jerry Falwell

I'm wrestling with my feelings this morning as far as this goes. Not all my feelings are worthy of God's kingdom, that's for sure. I hardly agreed with him on anything, and he certainly infuriated me more than once. Consider the fabrication of a conversation with Jimmy Carter that helped cost Carter re-election. Consider his grand crusade against the Teletubbies or his blaming of 9/11 on feminists and homosexuals.

But on the other hand, a man who represented such hatred and abuse to some is now, post-mortem, receiving that hatred and abuse himself. Consider so-called "new atheist" Chris Hitchens' comments. A man who claims that religion inspires hatred demonstrates clearly that you can show hatred just fine without it. I'm in agreement with his basic point that the media could have done better than Falwell for soundbites, but it's possible to do that without lapsing into the same vitriolic tone that Falwell himself used. You can find similar comments across the internet from groups that he spent so much time villifying. The cycle never breaks, and these notions of loving one's enemy and extravagant welcome begins to look like a bunch of empty platitudinous crap.

Seems like we're really not so different or above one another after all. Maybe that's Falwell's gift to us.

Meanwhile, if you think Jerry Falwell exhibited such hateful behavior, then do better.