Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Death of Jerry Falwell

I consider myself a secular humanist. Secular because I am not a religious person, and a humanist because I care about the well-beings of other people. So, as a secular humanist, I feel reluctant to say this, but thank God Jerry Falwell is dead.

Now I really don’t wish death on anyone, but as Clarence Darrow has said “I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure.” I would want Jerry Falwell killed, but since people have to die anyways, then sometimes the world becomes better off when someone dies. Such is the case with the death of Jerry Falwell.

In recent years Falwell had been relegated to appearing on crappy Crossfire-type cable news shows, where one could occasionally rely on him to say something stupid that the media could then write a story about in a “Can you believe he said that?”-manner. Well, yes, we can believe he said that because he’s been saying shit like that for years. In this role, Falwell was often deemed harmless, and in many cases a respected figure in American politics. Besides, words are just words, right?

But it was this role as spokesperson and leader of the Christian Right that helped foster an atmosphere of bigotry in this country. There are a number of examples I am sure in which Falwell was detrimental to the liberal causes and to the country at large, but the one that I would like to highlight is Falwell’s hatred of homosexuals.

I don’t think Falwell ever ordered any of his follows to kill homosexuals, but his anti-gay remarks gave approval to the idea that gays and lesbians where not to be given the dignity that other human beings have. It was okay that they died of AIDS, or that they had to be ashamed of themselves, or excommunicated from their families. It was okay that they we’re ridiculed in high schools across the country and occasionally beaten. Maybe it wasn’t good when a gay man was lynched, but like a rape victim who wore a skimpy dress, he was probably asking for it. This was the mentality that dominated this country in the 1980s and 1990s and for probably longer and it continuing still. And all in part because of the approval of Falwell and others like him, who may not have personally harmed anyone, but yet still empowered those looking for a reason to kick in the face of the faggot down the street from them. And, of course, all in the name of God.

Did Jerry ever queer-bait any one or participate in the beating of a gay person? I dunno, probably not. But there is no doubt that he helped facilitate countless instance of anit-gay violence, not to mention abortion-clinic bombings, wife-beatings, and anti-Semitism.

He’s gone now, thirty years after he started his ministry. Who knows, maybe Jerry’s actually in Heaven right now. Just thank God he’s not on earth anymore.

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