Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell, 1933-2007

I knew it wouldn't take long for the left and the homosexualists start gleefully picking Jerry Falwell's bones and wishing hell and damnation upon him -- Carpetbagger, Pandagon, Huffington Post (though that was actually not as depraved as I thought it would be), Bilerico. Conservative sites have roundups here, here and here.

But Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon (aka Myrna Minkoff) has to be the "winner," with this headline:
The gates of hell swing open and Satan welcomes his beloved son.
I will never cease to be amazed how so many who quite proudly hold Christianity in contempt and mockery will suddenly, when faced with the death of someone hated, become an Angry God holding the Sinner in Her Hands who would make Jonathan Edwards blanche. I mean ... if the Virgin Birth and the "hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit" are just some post-hoc "misogyny-justifying ancient mythology," then what ... uh ... the hell are Satan and the gates of hell? Haven't liberal secularists gone beyond such childish tales? Obviously not.

And never forget ... this was John Edwards's would-be blogger-in-chief. Remember, anybody considering voting for Edwards. This is the sort of person he hires. You know the world is an interesting place when scumbag pornographer Larry Flynt displays more class than the leading lights of the liberal blogosphere and the gay establishment -- the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Truth Wins Out, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (which even calls on the media to produce more attack obits), and the Southern Voice ("There are no tears in my house tonight. Only Champagne. Good riddance, Jerry Falwell.")

On the occasion of the death of a political rival, you don't need to pretend he wasn't one, and Flynt doesn't. But a death statement should not read like the text of a political attack ad -- period. No matter how baleful one thinks a public figure may be. Flynt mentions what became a friendship with Falwell (sorta like Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson did later in life). There's a Podcast here (scroll down a bit) from one of their joint appearances, a discussion on the First Amendment where "they discussed a variety of issues, including the friendship that had developed between them in the years since the Court’s decision." In his statement upon Falwell's death, Flynt makes the obvious point that getting to know a person qua person puts him in a different light than knowing a political rival. I'm confident Falwell would have said something similar had Providence been different and Flynt died before he did.

But reading Marcotte and the rest of the liberal netroots on Falwell, it becomes clear that the less one believes in God, the more psychological need there becomes to do the damning yourself. Or to put the same thought another way, if you believe in a providential God and an afterlife¹, you will handle with equanimity and maturity the unjust person (let us stipulate) dying happily. Knowing that it is ultimately all in God's hands can do that; in death, there is no political enmity.

As for Falwell's teachings on homosexuality, they were far more nuanced than they're being portrayed as. He clearly (and rightly) taught that the homosexual lifestyle was sinful. He was able to maintain a dialogue with Mel White of Soulforce and got rather the better of it IMHO, and let him attend Thomas Road Baptist Church on occasion. But he also said from that pulpit the following (scroll to page 2), which sums up the Catholic teaching on homosexuality as well as anything:
There has to be repentance. Homosexuality is no more sinful than adultery or fornication, but is as sinful. But if we were to stop sinners from attending our church, this place would be a lumberyard.
RIP, Reverend.
------------------------------------------------¹ Not even necessarily the Christian God and heaven/hell. For the purposes of the narrow point I'm making, Hinduism/Buddhism and karma will quite suffice.

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