Wednesday, May 16, 2007

jerry falwell

Cal Thomas wrote an excellent column (linked above) in remembrance of Jerry Falwell, who passed away yesterday at the age of 73.

Falwell was a man who certainly inspired controversy, even among his fellow Christians. On the one hand, Falwell probably accomplished more for the cause of religious freedom in this country than any other single person of the 20th Century. He was instrumental in mobilizing support (votes) for Ronald Reagan and, in so doing, helped change the course of America for the better.

Falwell was a man who reminded his fellow Christians that we have a duty to participate in the political process in this country. This constitutional republic that we live in, built upon the principles taught in the Bible, is a wonderful blessing from God, and we would be poor stewards indeed if we didn't work to keep the republic grounded in those foundational principles. Falwell was the "coach" who kept us working in that direction.

On the other hand, I always felt that Falwell, at times, was just a bit too much in love with the power that is associated with politics. I worried that his Moral Majority had become just one more special interest group within the GOP, and that sometimes compromises were made in the name of achieving power that shouldn't have been made. I was particularly distressed at some of the public comments Falwell made over the years. His statement that gays, lesbians and feminists were responsible for 9/11 was reprehensible, although he later apologized. His comments about the Tele-Tubbies were just plain silly. I also didn't particularly care for Falwell's laser-like focus on homosexuality, as if that was the only kind of sexual behavior that was sinful. Homosexuality is a sin, but so are adultery and pre-marital sex, and I never saw Rev. Falwell come out swinging against those sins with the same fervor that he reserved for homosexuality.

Be that as it may, Rev. Falwell was a good and decent man who strived daily to follow God's three basic commands to us all. He loved God with his entire being, he loved others as much as himself, and he spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. We should all try to emulate him in that regard.


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