17 May 2007

Farewell to Jerry Falwell

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority has died of an apparent heart attack in his office at Liberty University, which he also founded. Guided by his Love for God and his concern for the well-being of his country, the United States of America, he gradually outgrew his early racism and anti-Semitism to focus on anti-feminism, anti-homosexuality, and anti-scientism. While some like Christopher Hitchens have impugned his sincerity, I have always assumed that he truly believed what he preached, even as it changed. That he did not preach violence to achieve his agenda, I find praiseworthy, given the world's recent struggles with clerics who do.

Perhaps one might wish that he had been guided by God's Love for him and for us all, and that he had outgrown his other anti- stances. Yes, he helped form the Christian Right into a more or less cohesive voting block. But the people who make up the Christian Right would still be with us even if he had not done so. Without him, they might have splintered into disenfranchised and bitter groups, some of which might have turned to violence in their increasing frustration. It's better to have them inside our polity than outside of it, and Jerry did his part.

So, thanks, Jerry. You did the best you knew how. I hope that you don't mind sharing Heaven with homosexuals, feminists, liberals and scientists, and I hope that at your eschatological banquet they don't serve you too much crow.

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