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May 28, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

R.I.P (and Good Bloody Riddance) Jerry Falwell 1933-2007

Matthew 6:24: “Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon.

”Rev. Jerry Falwell: “Oh yeah? Just watch me.”

Jerry Falwell was born to an alcoholic businessman in Virginia, and born again in Christ while at University. Upon returning to his home town, he set up a church in a Donald Duck factory – featuring Christian karate, Jesus jewellery and the Old Time Gospel Hour televangelical show, syndicated to 681 stations. With an income of some $45 million per year, he founded Liberty University in 1971. In 1979 he set up Moral Majority Incorporated, to bring his message into politics and take down feminism. One branch of his movement campaigned to outlaw obscene, anatomically-correct gingerbread men.

Republican Strategist Ralph Reed told Fox News that Falwell’s efforts to bring evangelicals into the political fold “elevated the civility” of the USA’s national “discourse”.

According to Christopher Hitchens, he “woke up every morning, pinching his chubby little flanks and thinking, ‘I’ve got away with it again!’” I find the latter more convincing.

For, despite his rhetoric, Falwell misappropriated millions in funds raised for famine relief in Sudan. He became involved in a bitter round of backstabbing with fellow televangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart – both of whom Falwell had raised to prominence, only to help bring them down in a haze of sex-scandals.

Falwell is best remembered for his bigotry. He once said that gay folks will just as soon kill you as look at you. Which is weird. If most gay men saw, say, Orlando Bloom, they’d rather look at him than kill him. Somehow I just don’t think he understands queer folk. Apparently, we also caused 9/11. And, of course, he said that the purple Teletubby (Tinky Winky) was a bad role-model for children because he was gay. Now, I would have thought a purple blob with a television for a stomach who lives underground with giant rabbits and makes gurgling noises is kind of an irrelevant role model, whatever its sexuality. But maybe I just don’t understand evangelists.

I now give the floor up to Christopher Hitchens, who summed up the life of this little toad on CCN:
“People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign, and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth, and for morality, and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men.”


About the Author ()

Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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