Wednesday, May 16, 2007
W. 26th Street, Chelsea
I have a confession to make.
When I heard yesterday that Jerry Falwell had died, I was happy. And relieved.
I wish I were big enough to mourn the loss of Falwell as a human being, an element of humanity as a whole. I’m sure his relatives and friends are saddened by his death, and I’m sorry for their sadness. I know that his moralizing and bigotry stemmed from his genuine, though misguided, interest in protecting his values and those of the country.
But the fact is, Jerry Falwell was a man who misused religion. He gave lip service to loving the sinner but his statements - like the assertion that 9/11 occurred because God was angry at America over gays and abortion providers - created a climate that allowed discrimination and violence to flourish.
It’s interesting that I’m ready to forgive Anita Bryant - who came from pretty much the same place as Falwell, ideologically - but I’m not quite ready to forgive Falwell. I think it’s because Bryant earned a measure of affection from me as a child, whereas I’ve only known Falwell as the heavy-handed leader of the Moral Majority.
So, yes, I felt relief at his death, relief that this thorn in the side of American society had finally come out.
Pardon me for saying it, but “Ding dong, the witch is dead!”