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!”


  1. Jerry Falwell was definitely a wicked old witch. i wonder what bardo he's now negotiating his way through?

    LOVE the deep blue building in Chelsea. Wow.

  2. Steve, I had pretty much the same instinct. I thought what clever thing can I write about his passing?

    I am not so much glad that he is dead as I am that another spokesman for ignorance, intolerance and bigotry is gone.

    Your feelings and reactions are what they are. Thank you for sharing them.

  3. Well, we are not alone - I think many people silently (or not so silently) rejoiced! I felt no guilt about it. I truly believe that we reap what we sew - and Jerry sewed a lot of hate, bigotry and hypocrisy - and, you are right, he misused religion to further his own (delusional) agendas, and hurt tens of thousands of people in the process. Though, in ways, I feel sorry for him because I always know that there is a reason people like Rev. Falwell are how they are. Deep down, I think he was wounded on some level and living his life in denial of his demons, and that is truly sad, not only for us, but for him. Think of all the truly positive things he could have done - he could have brought people together, could have loved, and made a real difference. As it is, a positive legacy will survive, but only among a very few...

  4. I'm in the same boat. I too felt some relief and then some apprehension as to "who will take his place", the cynic in me, I guess. I feel bad about my initial reaction to his death, but I did lol with your closing statement...

  5. I guess I can feel sorry for his family, friends, etc. I have no idea whether they were as nasty as he was or might have some shred of humanity within them. I'm sure there might have been something we could have agreed upon -- say our mothers' oatmeal cookies -- but I also think that there was something deep within him that made him be so foul and vicious in his attacks on those he did not agree with.

    He may be dead and can't continue to do harm, but his ideas and empire are far from dead and will continue his legacy. If there was anything good about his time on earth, it is that in his latter years as he became increasingly weird in his attacks on Teletubbies to the "sinners" that allowed 9/11 to happen, he let America see the ugly face of the Religous Right. As the Right became more mainstream and polite, it was easy to overlook what lurked beneath.

    Like his enormous chins and deep fry fueled gut protruding from under his suit jacket, Falwell's true convictions could not be hid. We saw them in all their ugly colors.

  6. Steve, I feel the same as you. Falwell was a dangerous nutter.

  7. Like the pretty picture.

  8. thats a delicious picture. there is something about blue and yellow....

    (ding dong)