Jerry Falwell: The death of a hatemonger

Died today. Can I say “good riddance” without annulling my oath of nonviolence? I can’t think of too many people I never met who caused more pain and suffering for those I did than Jerry Falwell. It would be nice to think that there is less evil in the world with his passing, but unfortunately, he found a way to locate, organize and train hundreds of thousands of evil-doers during his life — he was good at that: credit where it’s due.

I guess I’ll just echo the statement from the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, speaking on behalf of the community towards which much of Falwell’s hate and sadism was directed, since they managed to find the right balance of rightousness and respect for the living.

“The death of a family member or friend is always a sad occasion and we express our condolences to all those who were close to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”

A little while ago, I heard some guy gushing on Fox News about what a loving person Falwell was, how the students at his “Liberty University” (double oxymoron, there) would just come up to him on campus and give him hugs.

As I learned all too well this past year, it is pretty easy to have a “spiritual relationship” with someone who’s kissing your ass constantly. One’s lovingness needs to be figured by how one deals with those with whom you find difficult to understand, or even bear. On that rating scale, it’s clear just how loving a guy the late Jerry Falwell was.

Some highlights from a cruel life:

Supporter of Apartheid

In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was an outspoken supporter of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. When president PW Botha was elected President by the White South African minority, Reverend Falwell went to South Africa and made statements supporting the government there and urging American Christians to buy Krugerrands, a coin issued by the South African Government[17]. He drew the ire of many when he called Nobel Peace Prize winner and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu a phony. He later apologized for that remark and claimed that he had misspoken

The anti-Christ will be a Jew

Falwell has asserted that when The Antichrist (“The Beast”) comes, he “must be, of necessity, a Jewish male.”

Gays, prolifers and feminists caused September 11

After the September 11, 2001, attacks Falwell said on the 700 Club, “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.'” (a sentiment with which Robertson concurred).

AIDS is the wrath of God

“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.”

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the National Organization of Witches.

God doesn’t listen to Jews

After Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith tells a Dallas Religious Right gathering that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” Falwell gives a similar view. “I do not believe,” he told reporters, “that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.”

And here are a few more from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:

February 1993: The Internal Revenue Service determines that funds from Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour’s tax-exempt status for 1986-87.

March 1993: Despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop referring to America as a “Christian nation,” Falwell gives a sermon saying, “We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.”

1994-1995: Falwell is criticized for using his “Old Time Gospel Hour” to hawk a scurrilous video called “The Clinton Chronicles” that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton–among them that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest Government (CHG). CHG’s Pat Matrisciana later admitted that Falwell and he staged an infomercial interview promoting the video in which a silhouetted reporter said his life was in danger for investigating Clinton. (Matrisciana himself posed as the reporter.) “That was Jerry’s idea to do that,” Matrisciana recalled. “He thought that would be dramatic.”

November 1997: Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University’s financial woes. The donation, and several Falwell appearances at Moon conferences, raised eyebrows because Moon claims to be the messiah sent to complete the failed mission of Jesus Christ, a doctrine sharply at odds with Falwell’s fundamentalist Christian theology. (In 1978, before the Moon money started flowing, Falwell told Esquire magazine, “Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported.”)

Gays are “moral perverts.”

“God hates homosexuality” (I saw this video of Falwell myself.)

And who can forget our favorite Falwellism: Tinky Winky is gay.

[I looked for a statement from women’s and pro-choice groups, but they apparently aren’t as on it as GLTF and HRC. Sad, but I guess that’s another post.]

Update: Oh, boy, gayleftborg has an appropriately respectful series about Falwell going (after today, you’ll need to scroll to the vicinity of 5/15/07 posts). There’s even a eulogy from Tinky Winky, the gay Telly Tubby.

A taste of the queer fun to be had:

It’s A Miracle: Falwell Dead

Break out the champagne, invite your neigbors over for a barbecue, roll the biggest doob you can stand to smoke, crank up the secular music:

Jerry Falwell has finally boarded his 1-way ticket to hell. I hate to be the angel of death and inform Mr. Falwell and his followers that the delusional trip to heaven he thought he would be getting has been cancelled.