Mike Ghouse, May 15, 2007
(Other columns are added following this piece)
Well, he is dead and gone. It is time for America to forgive. The wisdom of forgiving brings healing to individual souls and the groups that were offended by him. It is in our interest to forgive the man, as it brings salvation to our own souls, and we should not forget the essence of all religions. [Matthew 7:120] "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." The Internet is spewing out a lot of hitherto contained anger; just a few sites were enough for me to stop at it.
Falwell's biggest sin was invoking hate in his followers against other people in the name of Jesus. He abused the pulpit, his speeches rattled people with hate. After his sermons, every now and then, people did not go home with a serene mind filled with love and goodwill; instead they went home with tensions, perhaps thinking about bombing the abortion clinics, sacking the pro-lifers, cursing the gay and Lesbians. He was a hate loader.
It appears that he welcomed the crises, as it gave him opportunities to stir up hate and fear, the hallmark of the neo-cons to ascertain the support of the gullible. The irony of it was that, he propagated hate in the name of Jesus and there were people who paid him for delivering it. It was totally against the teachings of Jesus Christ, the symbol of love, forgiveness and non-violence. As with all majorities, Christians did not condemn his hate speeches, enough. All I remember about Falwell was, he was perhaps one of the top hate mongers of our nation, he was full of it, he was in our face after every crises.
He was malicious not only to gays, lesbians, civil rights leaders (ACLU) and liberals but also to Hindus, Jews, Muslims and everyone else that was not his brand of Christian. A majority of Christians may agree that he was a symbol of hate that which Jesus came to eradicate. He is gone and we have to forgive him and uphold higher moral values that he breached.
His legacy would be his hate speeches against all other people, and shamelessly labeling it as Christian teachings.
May God release us all from hate and endow us with goodwill, benevolence and goodness, let the hate be buried with the man.
In the spirit of Jesus, please forgive the man; it is the right thing to do. May God bless him and us all.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.
Two of the many items I have recieved since yesterday, the pieces are first come, first report. I did not read all the other hate mail. Please forgive the man.
My take on All TV evangelists
No Tears For Falwell
By Guest Blogger
Jerry Falwell hasn't been dead for more than a few hours. Yet, I've been inundated by emails and text messages touting the news. I've got mixed feelings on how to perceive the death of someone who would probably have celebrated my own death. So, I've decided to call a spade a spade, even in death.
He was a hateful person who did not serve to inspire the better nature of America. Instead, he used religion to propagate hate and discrimination for as long we anyone can remember. Forgive me if I don't cry.
The Carpetbagger Report has a compilation of Jerry Falwell's most famous digressions from morality, ethics, and the law. Here is a classic from 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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.'"
I remember, in the wake of great tragedy, Falwell making this statement. I'm happy to call attention to it today so people who give commentary on his life see that it was filled with hate. Forgive me if I don't cry.
Howie Klein, at Down With Tyranny goes a little farther than I would, but shows he is well versed in literature. Howie's post actually reminds me of the book "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl. You can read about it here. If you're already familiar with the book, then you'll know that a "man of God" who does not follow the spirit of the Word is reserved a particularly painful punishment in Dante's Inferno. Forgive me if I don't cry.
American for Separation of Church and State show how Falwell illegally transferred money from tax exempt institutions to pay for partisan political activities. This was $6.7 million dollars that regular people gave to him for his Ministry. Instead, he transferred it to political committees. He showed no regard for the law or the spirit in which that money was given. Forgive me if I don't cry.
So, he hated women, blacks, gays, jews, liberals, progressives, atheists, agnostics, foreigners, and anybody else who disagreed with him. He broke the law. He established a university that institutionalized everything he was about. I hope it all goes with him. The brand of conservative hate he represented has no place in what this country should stand for. Forgive me if I don't cry.
Lane Hudson started blogging in July of 2006. By the end of September, he posted the emails from Mark Foley to a 16 year old page. Thus began the scandal known as Foley-gate.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers//51937/
The Sad, Quotable Jerry Falwell
It's bad form to speak ill of the dead. Good thing this man's own vile words speak for themselves
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
You can eulogize. You can mourn and ponder and do a lengthy retrospective, a political analysis, a sociocultural examination of a career and a legacy and a rather remarkable life. When remembering the dead, the journalistic options are legion.
But in the case of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, the grandfather of the fundamentalist religious right and the foremost champion of the creation of a brutally homophobic, mysogynistic Christian theocracy in America, perhaps it's better to let the man's most insidiously famous quotes speak for themselves, and let time and karma be the judge of whether Falwell left the world a better place than when he found it. (All citations are available at wikiquote.org and elsewhere.)
"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for [the attacks of Sept. 11] because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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.'"
"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."
"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."
"I listen to feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men -- that's their problem."
"When you have a godly husband, a godly wife, children who respect their parents and who are loved by their parents, who provide for those children their physical and spiritual and material needs, lovingly, you have the ideal unit."
"The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews."
"I am saying pornography hurts anyone who reads it -- garbage in, garbage out."
"I am such a strong admirer and supporter of George W. Bush that if he suggested eliminating the income tax or doubling it, I would vote yes on first blush."
"I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I'm going to buy a Suburban next time."
"It is God's planet -- and he's taking care of it. And I don't believe that anything we do will raise or lower the temperature one point."
"I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior."
"It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening."
"There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas."
"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
"The First Amendment is not without limits."
"Someone must not be afraid to say, 'moral perversion is wrong.' If we do not act now, homosexuals will 'own' America! If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way ... and our nation will pay a terrible price!"
"If he's going to be the counterfeit of Christ, [the Antichrist] has to be Jewish. The only thing we know is he must be male and Jewish."
"The argument that making contraceptives available to young people would prevent teen pregnancies is ridiculous. That's like offering a cookbook as a cure to people who are trying to lose weight."
"The whole global warming thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability."
"You'll be riding along in an automobile. You'll be the driver perhaps. You're a Christian. There'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds you and the other born-again believers in that automobile will be instantly caught away -- you will disappear, leaving behind only your clothes and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find the car suddenly somewhere crashes. ... Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur on ... every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the drivers wheel." (from Falwell's pamphlet "Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Christ")
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
"You know when I see somebody burning the flag, I'm a Baptist preacher I'm not a Mennonite, I feel it's my obligation to whip him. In the name of the Lord, of course. I feel it's my obligation to whip him, and if I can't do it then I look up some of my athletes to help me. But, as long as at 72 I can handle most of the jobs I do it myself, and I don't think it's un-spiritual. When I, when I, when I hear somebody talking about our military and ridiculing and saying terrible things about our President, I'm thinking you know just a little bit of that and I believe the Lord would forgive me if I popped him."
"The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etcetera."
"The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the National Order of Witches."
"God doesn't listen to Jews."
"Tinky Winky is gay."
Jerry Falwell dies at age 73
May 15, 2007
One of the nation’s most notorious TV preachers, Jerry Falwell, died today in Lynchburg, Va.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell — founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s — died Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.
Ron Godwin, Liberty’s executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, had been found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital.
Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but noted that Falwell had “a history of heart challenges.”
Update: I have to admit, writing about Falwell’s death poses an awkward challenge for me. When I worked at Americans United for Separation of Church and State for several years, I read Falwell’s materials, I listened to his speeches, I watched his interviews, and got a real sense for who this man was and what he devoted his life to.
In literally every instance, I was repelled and appalled. But is it not callous to bash a man just hours after his death?
I have another idea — I’ll document Jerry Falwell’s professional life and let his record speak for itself.
March 1980: Falwell tells an Anchorage rally about a conversation with President Carter at the White House. Commenting on a January breakfast meeting, Falwell claimed to have asked Carter why he had “practicing homosexuals” on the senior staff at the White House. According to Falwell, Carter replied, “Well, I am president of all the American people, and I believe I should represent everyone.” When others who attended the White House event insisted that the exchange never happened, Falwell responded that his account “was not intended to be a verbatim report,” but rather an “honest portrayal” of Carter’s position.
August 1980: 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.” After a meeting with an American Jewish Committee rabbi, he changed course, telling an interviewer on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “God hears the prayers of all persons…. God hears everything.”
July 1984: Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system” that will “one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.” When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did so, Falwell refused to pay and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.
October 1987: The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.
February 1988: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a $200,000 jury award to Falwell for “emotional distress” he suffered because of a Hustler magazine parody. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, usually a Falwell favorite, wrote the unanimous opinion in Hustler v. Falwell, ruling that the First Amendment protects free speech.
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.
April 1998: Confronted on national television with a controversial quote from America Can Be Saved!, a published collection of his sermons, Falwell denies having written the book or had anything to do with it. In the 1979 work, Falwell wrote, “I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” Despite Falwell’s denial, Sword of the Lord Publishing, which produced the book, confirms that Falwell wrote it.
January 1999: Falwell tells a pastors’ conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”
February 1999: Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a “parents alert” warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children’s show “Teletubbies,” might be gay.
September 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. 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.’”
November 2005: Falwell spearheads campaign to resist “war on Christmas.”
February 2007: Falwell describes global warming as a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan, liberals, and The Weather Channel.
Say what you will about the man and his life, but he leaves behind a colorful background.