I guess I’m not all that broken up about the death of Jerry Falwell. I mean, I’m sure he was well loved by his family and friends, but for those of us who never bought into the idea that Christianity is the exclusive province of well-to-do warmongering Republicans, he was kind of a douche.
And here’s the thing. I wasn’t always a liberal, and I wasn’t always a non-believer. But Jerry Falwell came into prominence way back when I was a faithful churchgoin’ boy, and I remember thinking he was a creep then, too.
Not sure why, exactly. Maybe it was the smug look on his piggy little face. Maybe it was the arrogance of the term “Moral Majority,” which went against everything I believed about Christian humility. I was never much of a Bible scholar, but I had always taken to heart the verse “He who exalts himself will be humbled.” And Falwell loved exalting himself.
Falwell and people like him helped me decide which camp I wanted to be in, and it sure wasn’t the camp of the self-righteous, the camp of the arrogant, the camp of the people whose superstitions keep them from opening their eyes and seeing the real world.
By the time Falwell made his idiotic pronouncement that part of the blame for 9/11 belonged to “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 an American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America,” I’d long recognized him for what he was: a glutton for the spotlight and a hero of authority-loving Americans who won’t think for themselves.
And sadly, those folks will find someone else now to do their thinking for them.