Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Posthumous vilification of Jerry Fallwell

The Posthumous vilification of Jerry Fallwell

The world learned today of the demise of Reverend Jerry Falwell; a man who had been very influential in religious and political matters since the late 70’s. The media coverage of his death, though, has been rather disappointing. In this time when his family and followers are trying to come to terms with his death, some is in the media are focused on creating a negative picture of this man of God. The news coverage has given some lip service to his biography (son of an atheist father, and devout mother, first among the televangelists, Thomas Road Baptist church, Moral Majority and Liberty University); but the bulk of the news has been focused on his views on homosexuality and some unfortunate remarks that he made on this topic. The most strident attack seen so far was courtesy of Christopher Hitchens, who appearing on CNN’s Anderson 360, belittled this giant, terming him a puissant and equating his religious beliefs to a: “get rich quick scheme.” His diatribe was distasteful and utterly disappointing: "The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing, that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September the 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God's punishment if they hadn't got some kind of clerical qualification?"

It is interesting that the focus has been on just the “homosexual agenda” and area where Falwell may have been on the minority of societal opinion. Little has been said of his anti-abortion, pro-school prayer positions, positions that many Americans would agree with. A caricature of Falwell as a “right wing nut” seems to be on the cards.

Disagreeing with Farwell’s views is one thing, but launching ad hominem attacks and developing caricatures to vilify this great man of God is unfortunate and detracts from the good that he achieved on earth.

Rest in Peace Rev. Falwell.

3 Comments:

Blogger No rhyme No reason said...

You cant be too indignant with those who remember Fallwell only for his anti-gay comments. Lets face it, its the only side of him that is known well out side the US.

His comments after 9/11 really irked many people. To be honest, the only thing I knew about him was this comment

"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,..... all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

Come on, with comments like those, what else would we remember him for?

5:53 AM  
Blogger Majonzi said...

I have never liked the man nor his stands. To be honest, Falwell and other religious leaders is the reason a lot of people don't believe in "religion". Jesus preached compassion and lived among the poor and the outcasts of society. And now there is a breed of men of God who preach the "wealth ministry".

Let's take the abortion issue, for instance, it is within one's right to be anti-abortion. What I don't understand is why the church is hardly addressing poverty (there is a co-relation between poverty and abortion) and the role of government and welfare?

I would not call moral majority a positive attribute. No one is the moral police!!!

All the same, in one's death or life, we should speak with respect toward everyone. In this vein, I was disgusted by Christopher Hitchens, totally uncalled for!! Making a sale of his book, perhaps?

6:12 PM  
Blogger Githush said...

@ rhym...I agree that folks have a right to condemn his past comments, however, should there not be a brief pause, u know a moment before all these caustic remarks inundate the airwaves?

@majonzi
"Mora polics" it is true that in a pluralistic society it is not possible to have "moral police" however, this does not mean that individual morality is absent, and the church/religion plays an important role in developing individual morality. But religion is but one aspect of a plural society and we can not force all peoples to abide by religious ethics. But American will tell you that religion is important to them and they try to lead moral lives.

On the Church and poverty, I'm not sure we can say that Falwell et al have abandoned those issues. It is true that their emphasis has been on matters of morality, but they also do play active roles in providing welfare assistance (Bush's faith based initiative is aimed at these soughts of programs)

6:21 AM  

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