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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

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Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

16 May 2007

Jerry Falwell

Mr. Falwell’s Legacy

By Mustang Bobby Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Seeing as how Fred Phelps and his sorry family have announced that they’re going to picket the funeral of Jerry Falwell, I thought about writing about his passing and the interesting legacy that he’s left behind. But Alan Wolfe of Salon.com beat me to it, and he says pretty much what I was thinking.

One never wants to speak ill of the dead, but in the case of Jerry Falwell, how can one not? Falwell will always be remembered for his “700 Club” comment in the wake of Sept. 11: “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.’” Even though Falwell later apologized, the damage had been done: A sacred moment had been used for profane purpose.

And that, really, is Falwell’s legacy. To the religious life of the United States he made no significant contribution. But to the political life of the country, he made one: He founded the Moral Majority. In so doing, Falwell managed to take something holy — one does not have to be a Christian to admire the life and teachings of Jesus Christ — and turned it into something partisan and divisive. Falwell, the quintessential conservative Christian, was always more conservative than Christian. To the extent that history will remember him, it will be as a politician, not as a preacher.

[…]Instead of pondering Jerry Falwell’s legacy, we would be better off asking how this man ever become a public figure in the first place. America has had more than its share of religiously inspired demagogues — Dr. Fred Swartz, Billy James Hargis, Carl McIntyre come to mind — but they are forgotten figures, marginal even to the times in which lived. One would like to believe that the United States has become a bigger and better country since the days when men like them preached about captive nations and denounced the pernicious influence of rock ‘n’ roll. But then there is Jerry Falwell. In death, as he did in life, he reminds us that demagoguery never dies; it just changes its form. Jerry Falwell expressed great hate for a lot of his fellow Americans. It is no wonder that so many of them will greet his death with something less than love.I didn’t hate Jerry Falwell. Hating someone requires that you actually care about them, and Jerry Falwell meant nothing to me personally.

The greatest legacy you can achieve is to leave the world a better place than you found it. I don’t believe Mr. Falwell did that, and I believe that a great deal of the fear and divisiveness in this country can be attributed to him and his work. I did not like the fact that he was very skillful at taking something as intensely personal and spiritual as a religious belief and turn it into a political weapon, nor did I like it that he used his considerable abilities as a huckster to grow rich by exploiting the greed, fear, and paranoia of the foolish and the weak.

But Mr. Falwell’s death means nothing to me, and that is perhaps the most damning thing you can say about someone and their life.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Scott Hughes said...

I like when you said that Falwell is "more conservative than christian". In fact, I thnk that can be said about the christian right as a group. Thanks!

Oh yeah, you might like the OnlineYogaClub.com.

15:24  
Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Jerry Falwell was a horrible man and no better than a Nazi. He was a man for the poor, uneducated, and easily led.

04:23  
Blogger Melissa said...

I believe that James Dobson will fill Falwell's shoes as the next leader of The Immoral Majority.

Most of the poor in urban areas are not Republican. Followers of Falwell, Phelps and Dobson are those who live in the solitude of the great wide open and find comfort and friendship in a church. There should be a library next to every church.

22:58  
Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

The fleecers of flocks prosper in the wake of Fahrenheit 451 and NCLB.

14:30  

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