Moms Mabely used to do a bit about her cheap, late husband. She said her mother had told her, "Don't say anything about the dead unless you can say something good." So she said, "He's dead. Good!" Same with Jerry Falwell. In fact, I talked with the Lord who told me Falwell's death was retribution for doing intentional harm to so many of His children. While the candidates in the Republican debate fell all over themselves portraying Falwell as a great religious figure, I knew of no one outside of South Carolina who shed any tears for the pompous inquisitor. In fact, my phone started ringing with messages from people uplifted by his departure. In the sixties, Falwell would have been branded as the racist he is, along with figures like George Lincoln Rockwell and George Wallace. They cloaked their bigotry in Klan robes; Falwell cloaked his in the robes of the church. His South Carolina brand of divide and conquer preaching is no stranger to the South, and only another rigid fundamentalist could say that Falwell left this world any better for his presence in it.
Falwell liked to say he was "pro" things, like "pro" life, and "pro" family, as if anyone was against the family, but he was mainly known for the things for which he was opposed; Abortion, sex education, welfare, secularism, globalism, homosexuals, feminists, fornicators, and freeloaders. The Jews would have been at the top of the list, had it not been for Falwell's twisted desire to see the State of Israel used as a springboard for the return of Jesus and the judgement of the Jews. Some of his more outrageous statements made me believe he was reading from a different Bible than the other Christians, but what he calls the inerrancy of the Good Book was only his interpretation, just like everyone else. How else to explain Falwell's ghastly and cruel televised statement to his flock that the blame for 9/11 lied with "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.'" The doctors claim Falwell had a heart attack; how would they know where to find it?
Falwell wasn't the first evangelist to use religion to advance his petty prejudices. Father Coughlin, from the WWII era, comes to mind. But Falwell was the first to use Christian exclusivity as a political philosophy, and the most successful in marshaling like-minded followers into holding political candidates hostage to his views. He made his bones as an anti-gay crusader, howling about Disneyland and Tinky Winky the purple Telletubbie, but the Moral Majority was his creation and legacy to the political process. Who could have imagined that his rise to political power would find such official Washington sympathy, that the last two election cycles, in a time of war, would be decided on abortion rights and gay marriage? But what made me choke over Falwell's message, was his utter intolerance for people not sharing his rigid biblical views, and his towering ignorance of any faith other than his own.
Falwell was so unyielding in his "one way" ideal that the IRS found, in 1993, that he was diverting contributions from his "Old Time Gospel Hour" to right wing Political Action Committees. Falwell paid a fine and retroactively lost the program's tax-exempt status for the years involved. That's a lot of prayer cloths and poor people's hopes that went into the political coffers of the morality police. Falwell believed that absolute certainty in his faith made him a religious leader of great stature and wisdom. Of course, Moktada Al-Sadr believes the same thing. So does George Bush. But inflexibility never led to diplomacy, or cooperation, or peace. The fact that Republicans like John McCain, who called Falwell an "agent of intolerance" in 2004, now line up to talk at Liberty University, speaks of the moral bankruptcy of a party that has sold its soul to the Christian Right. Falwell has already promised that "the Anti-Christ would be Jewish," but I can't think of a less Christian approach to society than Falwell's. There were no sex scandals as there were with his compadres Bakker, Swaggert, and Haggard, but there was financial malfeasance galore, including the discovery of Falwell's participation in financing anti-Clinton materials that accused the former president of drug smuggling and murder.
Before Falwell is eulogised as a great defender of America and its freedoms by those who covet his followers' votes, let's us regular people stop to remember the man who gave us the Moral Majority and the abortion-driven, sledge hammer tactics they have used for the past thirty years. For all the crusades against public schools, all the attempts to force prayer into the public arena, the opinion that AIDS was God's scourge against homosexuals and all AIDS relief to impoverished countries be tied to abstinence only education, we will remember him. For the War on Christmas, the outing of Tinky Winky, the Hustler Magazine lawsuit, and the statement that "Global warming is a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan," we will remember Jerry Falwell as one of the fiercest Christian jihadists ever.
Since I don't actually believe in Hell, there's no way I can envision even a Jerry Falwell in such an eternal place. I do, however, believe in karma, or reaping what you sew, or what goes around comes around; but eternal damnation for only making it harder for people in just one lifetime? That only necessitates one lifetime's worth of rumination over the soul and the requirement to come back to this realm and do it all over again; in Falwell's case, probably as a professional baseball player, but gay. After watching the film, "The U.S. v. Larry Flint," I would prefer to see Jerry Falwell do his time in multi-century limbo as the spiritual advisor to Courtney Love. Then he would at least know what hell is like, and perhaps how obnoxious he seemed to those who had to listen to his inane yammering.
fact timeline from thecarpetbaggerreport.com