Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rest In Peace: Jerry Falwell

Jerry Falwell was Raptured yesterday. He was found collapsed in his office at Liberty University. Despite his somewhat controversial views, which weren't really all that controversial except to the media, he was a fine Christian leader who generally wasn't afraid to speak his Christian Truth even if it wasn't popular or welcome. I can't include myself as a follower of Falwell's very Fundamentalist views, but I can respect the strength of his faith and his willingness to live the Life he preached. (unlike the AntiChrist)

My personal connection to Falwell is that David's cousin graduated from Liberty and became a minister. He officiated our wedding almost sixteen years ago. It was his first wedding he ever performed. I sometimes wonder how many he has done since then and how many have withstood the test of time. Maybe I have created a sense of pressure to succeed on his behalf so that he can claim some kind of efficacy. ;-) To his credit, I must say that his premarital counseling was very effective, and I will always remember and agree with his statement that love ultimately does not keep a marriage together but that commitment does. After all, what do we think is the purpose of vows? Faith and faithfulness are not easy, and so we must make special promises (commitments) to God and each other that we will honor our agreements despite whatever circumstances arise ("for better or worse" and so on). Well, that's the ideal anyway.

I've dedicated a song, Mindy Smith's "Come to Jesus", to Falwell. My sympathy to his family and friends, but I know that although they will miss his earthly presence they know he is where he most wanted to be.

13 comments:

Analyzer said...

Despite his somewhat controversial views, which weren't really all that controversial except to the media

Opposing the civil rights movement is not controversial?

Expressing support for apartheid is not controversial?

Blaming 9/11 on abortion, feminism, and homosexuality is not controversial?

The media didn't invent the fact that he said these things. Maybe you agree with him, but let's not pretend that everybody, or even a majority, did.

Rae Ann said...

If you would read his actual statements and not the twisted versions perpetuated by the media then you'd see that they aren't as bad as they were portrayed.

His actual statement about 9-11, for instance:

"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.'"

While I don't exactly agree with him I can understand his perspective and his right to speak his mind about it. And like it or not, what he said was somewhat accurate because the Islamic extremists use those aspects of American culture to demonize our society among themselves and to whip up disgust and hate for America. That was basically Falwell's point.

dhammett said...

I'm not aware of the particular quotes referred to by analyzer. Perhaps he can cite them instead of ask us to accept what he writes at face value. However, I will say that it's not unusual for the left to misquote, twist and otherwise try to repress free speech. It's ok for them to spout their views...just not anybody who disagrees with them.

Analyzer said...

While I don't exactly agree with him I can understand his perspective and his right to speak his mind about it.

This was not the issue. Obviously, he had every right to say what he said. I wasn't contending that he didn't. But to say that this statement is not controversial is just silly.


And like it or not, what he said was somewhat accurate because the Islamic extremists use those aspects of American culture to demonize our society among themselves and to whip up disgust and hate for America.

Do you have any evidence for this?


Perhaps he can cite them instead of ask us to accept what he writes at face value.

The references are taken from Wikipedia; the article on Falwell has a pretty solid bibliography.

On the civil rights movement: Marsh, Charles (1997). God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691021341.

Falwell is further quoted as having said: "If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never have been made…. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line."

Regarding apartheid: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,959695,00.html

However, I will say that it's not unusual for the left to misquote, twist and otherwise try to repress free speech.

Could you point out where Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet? I mean, the right would never twist his words. No, never.


It's ok for them to spout their views...just not anybody who disagrees with them.

Straw man. No one is or was trying to silence Falwell. We're merely exercising our right to call him a disgusting, bigoted pig-man and to celebrate his death.

Rae Ann said...

Analyzer, be careful. This isn't the Pig Sty and I can very easily click the little garbage can icon next to your comments if they become abusive.

Analyzer said...

"You lefties are always trying to silence people! Now shut up before I delete your comments!"

Do you have any actual response to what I posted?

Rae Ann said...

I wasn't telling you to "shut up" at all. I was just laying out the rules of engagement here. We are allowed to make rules. ;-)

Have you never seen the propaganda videos that they show Muslim children about the "evil" American culture that celebrates such things as feminism, homosexuality, promiscuity, etc.? That is what I'm talking about. Not only do they teach their kids that America is empirialistic and so on, they teach them that our culture is depraved and should be destroyed because of its "abominations" against Allah. That's part of that "Infidel" label they give us.

Sorry, I don't have time to find links, but you can probably find things on YouTube that I'm talking about.

Analyzer said...

Even if that is true, does that justify blaming the attacks on pro-choicers, feminists, and homosexuals?

What if they attacked us because they hate Christianity (which is probably also partially true)? Would it be okay to say, "All you Christians, I point the finger at you and say, 'You helped this happen'"?

(Unrelatedly, Falwell was also staunchly anti-evolution; I forgot to throw that in in the beginning. I'm sure you'll find a way to pin that on the liberal media, though.)

Rae Ann said...

Well, sure, you could even say that the extreme Christian Fundamentalists "helped it happen" if they were one of the reasons for the extreme Muslims to hate America and for the 9-11 attacks. But I'm informed enough to know you really can't pin the "blame" on any one group because the problem is much more complex than that. I'm not defending Falwell's statements but only expressing my opinion that they aren't as controversial as some say they are (perhaps my thresholds of controversy are different from yours).

And surely you know that I'm not a Creationist. I mean really. Why would you even think that?

Analyzer said...

I know you're not, which is why your defense of Falwell and his ilk is all the more distressing. When creationists gather millions of supporters and tremendous political power, this makes me unhappy, while you are unbothered.

I don't mean to harp on the 9/11 thing; it's just one example. But to say that Falwell was not that controversial is borderline crazy. His entire public life was a continuum of controversy. You can like the man while still acknowledging that he was controversial; it doesn't detract from your (misguided) admiration of him.

dhammett said...

Analyst -

You ought to be more complete, careful, ethical or all three when you make accusations about people. In the Wikipedia article about Falwell, is states that Falwell grew up in a strongly segregationist setting and supported racial segregation the first few years of his career. However, it goes on to say, "Falwell's views eventually shifted and he opposed segregation in his later years."

Regarding the pro-apartheid stance you allege Falwell held, the Times article you quoted says, "Falwell opposes apartheid, but professed faith that Botha will dismantle the system eventually, if only everyone is patient." Hardly pro-apartheid.

Talk about straw men, the Gore comment is completely off topic. But since you brought it up, the accyrate quote is, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet" Gore said when asked to cite accomplishments that separate him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on March 9, 1999."

http://www.gargaro.com/algore.html

OK, I invented it vs. I took the initiative in creating it. I think that's picking nits. If we're intellectually honest, we know what message he was trying to convey.

And, based on what you've written on this post, I stand by my statement about the left, at least so far as misquoting and twisting.

Analyzer said...

In the Wikipedia article about Falwell, is states that Falwell grew up in a strongly segregationist setting and supported racial segregation the first few years of his career. However, it goes on to say, "Falwell's views eventually shifted and he opposed segregation in his later years."

I didn't say that he remained a segregationist until the day he died (though I personally believe that he remained a racist his entire life). My only contention was that he was controversial. When you come out in favor of segregation, even if (or perhaps especially if) you later oppose it, that is controversial! Duh!


Hardly pro-apartheid.

I'll concede that he professed to be opposed to apartheid (though I personally believe he was just fine with it), but he was critical of sanctions against South Africa on the basis of apartheid, and he called Desmond Tutu a "phony." Hardly the strong anti-apartheid stance one would hope for from a man of God.


Talk about straw men, the Gore comment is completely off topic.

No, it wasn't. The discussion had taken a the-left-twists-our-words turn, and the Gore quote is a case of the right doing the same.


If we're intellectually honest, we know what message he was trying to convey.

Yes, Al Gore was attempting to pretend to be an expert computer scientist and engineer. This was his intention: to claim to be a techno-genius and programming mastermind.

Please. Who's being intellectually dishonest now? He chose his words poorly, perhaps, but let's not pretend that he was trying to trick us into thinking that he was a master geek.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell seemed to choose his words poorly every time he spoke. How many times did he "reverse" his position on some form of bigotry or have to apologize for some mean-spirited remark?

dhammett said...

I didn't say that he remained a segregationist until the day he died (though I personally believe that he remained a racist his entire life). My only contention was that he was controversial. When you come out in favor of segregation, even if (or perhaps especially if) you later oppose it, that is controversial! Duh!

OK, nobody ever changes beliefs as they become wiser. It's smarter and less controversial to stay with outdated or ill-thought out points of view. Good point.

I'll concede that he professed to be opposed to apartheid (though I personally believe he was just fine with it)

Perhaps you can keep your personal feelings vis a vis the documented actions/statements of the topic out of the discussion. After all, are we supposed to discount somebody's statements or actions just because analyst says he doesn't believe them?

...he called Desmond Tutu a "phony." Hardly the strong anti-apartheid stance one would hope for from a man of God.

Again, citation and context? According to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, the Episcopal church should not have professed homosexuals in the ministry, yet Tutu endorsed this practice.

In the debate about Anglican views of homosexuality he has opposed Christian discrimination against homosexuals. Commenting days after the 5 August 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Desmond Tutu said, "In our Church here in South Africa, that doesn't make a difference. We just say that at the moment, we believe that they should remain celibate and we don't see what the fuss is about."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu -- I hate myself for using Wikipedia as a source.


Because Falwell was a strict interpreter of the scriptures, perhaps this is what he found distasteful about Tutu, but it's difficult to know without citations from you.

No, it wasn't. The discussion had taken a the-left-twists-our-words turn, and the Gore quote is a case of the right doing the same.

Sorry, Gore was still trying to take credit for the proliferation of the internet, regrardless of whether some of those quoting him were slightly inaccurate.

Yes, Al Gore was attempting to pretend to be an expert computer scientist and engineer. This was his intention: to claim to be a techno-genius and programming mastermind.

Is he either of these two things? Nope, didn't think so.

Please. Who's being intellectually dishonest now? He chose his words poorly, perhaps, but let's not pretend that he was trying to trick us into thinking that he was a master geek.

Master geek is your term, not mine. Call it what you will, Gore was trying to convince us that he is something he is not. Same with global warming, but that's another issue.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell seemed to choose his words poorly every time he spoke. How many times did he "reverse" his position on some form of bigotry or have to apologize for some mean-spirited remark?

Gee, I don't know how many times he reversed his position. Why don't you show us with some citations. Or stop wasting our time.