I come not to praise Jerry Falwell, but to bury him, quickly, before he starts to stink up the place:
The Rev Jerry Falwell, whose evangelical convictions and organisational abilities, including as a founder in1979 of the Moral Majority movement, did much to place religious conservatives in a role of great influence in American politics, died on Tuesday in Lynchburg, Virginia, of apparent heart failure at the age of 73.He was a figure of immense controversy over the last 40 years, outspoken to the point that his apologies appeared almost as regularly as his thundering denunciations. To him the three great scourges afflicting his country were “atheism, secularism and humanism,” and nothing would deter him from defeating his evil trinity.
Most notoriously, he laid the blame for the terrorist attacks of September11 2001, at the feet of his domestic opponents. “I really believe,” he said at the time, “that the pagans, the abortionists and the lesbians â€¦and all those who have tried to secularise America helped this happen.”His subsequent recantation attracted less attention.
Few people have been as outspoken in their intolerance and hatred– all in the name of religion– as Jerry Falwell. He never met a racist he didn’t like, a bigot he couldn’t find common ground with (so long as they were rich, white and as arrogant as he was– sorry Dr. Farrakhan) or a decent human being he couldn’t tar and feather as enemies incarnate to his withered and archaic ideals. With him gone, there is one less roadblock to making this a just and humanistic society.
I’d like to say that I’m not pleased by the news of this spiteful old coot’s passing but part of me is. I can admit that. I never wish anyone harm but neither do I shy away from the fact that some people far outlive the age into which they were born, lingering on well past their prime to embarrass their descendants with creaking paroxysms of outmoded bigotry. In Falwell’s case, they are sometimes born well past the age they would have been happier in. Alas, Jerry was just too medieval for these wild and woolly modern times. But now he’s gone home to the void and we can be just a little more at peace.
Some of old Jerry’s more memorable quotes from the Huffington Post.
Boing Boing has more.