Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell, dead at 73

The Carpetbagger Report tackles the difficult position of discussing Falwell just hours after his death by recounting the events of his life.

I'm always quick to talk about my experiences spending two summers at Baptist boot camp at Falwell's Liberty University, because a lot of who I am today really traces back to those experiences, how disingenuous and manipulative they were. Most of what I really found important spiritually growing up just never felt legitimate again. I don't have a personal beef with Pat Robertson or James Dobson, although I do think they are bad people. But Jerry Falwell, I shook that guy's hand. And he shook my faith. And I hate him for it.

Falwell and his evangelical cronies have done a lot of emotional and psychological damage to a lot of people under an umbrella of an extremely hateful reading of a sacred text. He was a bad person. I can't imagine the good things he might have done could possibly surpass the bad things he did.

To quote Death Cab for Cutie, "Styrofoam Plates":

I won't join the procession that's speaking their peace
using five dollar words while praising his integrity
and just because he's gone, it doesn't change the fact
he was a bastard in life, thus a bastard in death.
Update: Here is the particular camp I'm talking about. I guess that would have been the summers of 1996 and 1997 for me. Looks like they still hold camps at Liberty even today.

Update 2: Some indefensible Falwell quotes.
"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers ... AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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 have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
Update 3: Tim Noah includes some more quotes, including those denouncing feminists, Jews, and Martin Luther King, as well as a fit epitaph: "Rest in peace, you blowhard."


JHearne said...

I think that a certain church might be going there this summer, actually.

Garrett said...

Josh, how did we make it out alive?

JHearne said...

Grace of God? Guidance of the Holy Spirit? Dumb luck? We didn't really make it out "alive?"

Pick any of the above.