Rev. Jerry Falwell has died.

From the CNN news story:

(CNN)—The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the television minister whose 1979 founding of the Moral Majority galvanized American religious conservatives into a political force, died Tuesday at age 73.

Falwell was found unconscious and without a pulse in his office at Liberty University, the college he founded in Lynchburg, Virginia, said Ron Godwin, the school’s executive vice president.

Though paramedics tried to revive him at his office and en route to Lynchburg General Hospital, “Those very timely and very efficient and effective efforts were unsuccessful,” Godwin said.

Godwin said he had breakfast with Falwell Tuesday morning and said they talked about the future.

“He seemed to be in good spirits,” Godwin said.

Godwin said they finished breakfast about 9:50 a.m. ET and Falwell went into his office. He was found there about 11:30 a.m. ET.

The minister, who had a history of heart trouble, was pronounced dead of heart failure at 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, his doctor, Carl Moore, told reporters. He had been hospitalized twice in early 2005 with acute onset pulmonary edema, or congestive heart failure, and at one point was placed on a ventilator.

Moore said it was “a little early to speculate” on what caused Falwell’s death, but said he did have a heart condition.

I’ll admit that my first impulse is to break out in a rendition of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”, but I must be getting old because I honestly feel that wouldn’t be appropriate so long as Pat Robertson is still alive. I wouldn’t go far as to say that I hated the man, but he annoyed the shit out of me to no end and as such I’m not particularly upset that he’s shuffled off his mortal coil. While I can still sympathize with the people who did care about him over the sense of loss they must be feeling at the moment, it’s safe to say I’m not feeling that loss myself.

In the interest of trying to say at least one thing positive about this turn of events I’ll note that there’s one less person that’ll cause my blood pressure to rocket out of control in the future.

Update: The folks at Boing Boing linked to this entry at Voices of American Sexuality that collects some of Falwell’s stupidest comments which I thought I’d share here as a reminder of why the man annoyed the shit out of me:

  • “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”
  • “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.”
  • “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
  • After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “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.”
  • “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”
  • “[Homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

91 thoughts on “Rev. Jerry Falwell has died.

  1. Consi: I actually wasn’t encouraging sympathy or empathy for him.  I was encouraging empathy for his family and behavior that would accord with that.

    And as far as I can discern, no one has wished any actual enmity on his family. That said, I readily admit that I have about as much sympathy for Falwell’s family as I will for Fred Phelps’ family when he finally bites the dust. I actively wish no one the loss of a loved one, but that does not mean that I am able to sympathize with every loss.

  2. I am certainly not defending Jerry Falwell’s position on matters of faith or politics. So this is just an observation.

    I think he really believed what he was doing was the ” Right Thing ” Just as Larry Flynt or any number of people in the public spot light. Jerry Falwell was never caught in a position of compromise and scandal. Because he did not believe in compromising his faith. Unlike people like Jimmy Swaggart ( Possible Molester, Dangerous liability , Speaks of a faith that he himself does not believe ) Jerry Falwell was different. He preached what he believed. That counts for something, even if I personally see it as incorrect.

    I am pro-choice, I have gay friends and relatives. But my life experience allows me to have a view of acceptance. Jerry Falwell and the other Archie Bunkers of the World will always be with us.

    We need to set an example of tolerance so that it can be a part of their life experience. Being Bigger, does not mean we abandon our conscience. The separation of Church and State is, an should be a major article in all our lives. Everyone has a right to follow their conscience. He ( Jerry Falwell and some others ) have a hard time grasping that concept. My life is just that. (Mine) 

    I did not know him as a person. I hear from a good source that he was not a man devoted to just making money. He wanted the world to be a better place. That counts as a plus in my book. I think that is something we all want.

  3. Paul, I think what you’re proposing is noble, but my limits of toleration do not and never will extend to bigotry. Racism, sexism, anti-gay attitudes, and generalized hate will never fly with me. Those on the Right are free to consider this stance ironic if they so choose.

  4. Paul, I generally agree – only that there are plentiful sources of such admirable traits. I don’t require Falwell as an inspiration – there are others I identify with, more. Thus, as far as geniunely honoring such examples (by following them), there are many other eminent people more qualified. There are plenty of people following in his footsteps, too, which leaves me somewhat discontent.

  5. “He stood up for what he really believed in” isn’t much of a defense. 

    Today most people by “scandal” mean embezzlement (as if he had any need) or some sexual dalliance (as if I care).  It is a scandal to me that he was repeatedly caught in lies and that he worked tirelessly to undermine the constitution of the country I call home.

  6. He wanted the world to be a better place.

    Yes, Paul but a better place in HIS image and that woulda been absolute HELL for anyone who was NOT an evil, cheating, scamming, thieving, judgemental, cancerous, sanctimonious, megalomaniacal, right-wing, narrow-minded, hypocritical, homophobic, misogynistic, lying, bigoted, anti-choice, anti-free-will, Jesus-humping bully.
    Anyone who wanted to do any number of things with which he didn’t agree was hell-bound in a cattle car cos he knew what god wanted; he knew which parts of the bible were true and meant to be taken literally and which parts weren’t. After all, this toadified glutton had a direct line to the mind of god.
    He woke up every morning pinching his chubby little flanks saying to himself: I’ve got away with it again.”

    Yeah, Falwell wanted the world to be a better place alright … just like Hitler did.
    Could you imagine Falwell with Hitler’s absolute power? He too woulda smiled when everyone he saw as the cause of 9/11 as well as others he forgot to mention during that diatribe, were taken to the extermination camps in cattle cars.

  7. I spent a lot of time around ministers in general having come from working in the Funeral Industry for most of my adult life. What people don’t see is that they live their lives through other people. They have no real life experience, kinda like government officials, and Jerry Falwell is no exception.

    Lets take the abortion issue. I went through College working as a Surgical Technician for one of the largest hospital systems in the US. I have seen every type of birth defect known to man. Some Children in the name of humanity should be terminated ASAP upon finding certain types of defects while in the womb.

    Jerry Falwell did not have the life experience of day to day work to make an assessment protocol of Law to be so Pro-Life. And pro-lifers in general lack experience in such matters. It’s just flat out ignorance at it’s best an brightest moment.

    All I am really saying is that ( for me ) compassion on the ignorant, and reasoning with facts when they will allow is the best we can do short of lining them up at a gas chamber.

    oh…wait somebody already tried that…

    I am by nature a very compassionate person. Their is nothing I can do about it. I could tell you that I have had a good bit of success in dealing with people. It’s not so much proving others to be wrong, It’s proving that you have a valid intelligent ( Non – Hostile ) point of view to be considered.

    Many people took years to learn some of their attitudes towards things like being Anti-Gay, Abortion issues, and Religion. They are not going to unlearn or re-learn another way to think overnight. It takes time, trial and error, and a conscience effort to want to find themselves. Not just adapt to another thought process. But really find who they are. It is so prevalent to get caught up in groups. Changing the way a person thinks is a process that involves very small steps.

    Jerry Falwell was very good at getting people to follow him. Probably because he offered them hope. People can hate him all they want. But in the end there is a lesson about him worth learning. Even if we don’t agree with the message.

  8. Paul, you make the world a better place every day with your forbearance and forgiveness than Falwell did in any given year of his life.  I’m glad you’re here.

  9. Paul, you make the world a better place every day with your forbearance and forgiveness than Falwell did in any given year of his life.  I’m glad you’re here.

    Thanks..Now please think about making a phone call tomorrow about signing a uniform donor card. Donate your body to your nearest Medical School. Tell your family to Hell with the Funeral, go have a party at the Out-Back Steak House. And throw extra plate of Shrimp on the Barbi for all to Enjoy.

  10. Ditto, DoF.

    Donate your body to your nearest Medical School.

    Thanks for the prod, Paul.
    I’ve even got as far as printing off some FAQs.
    And I’ve put it on my to do list.

  11. Paul: Tell your family to Hell with the Funeral

    Agreed, I’d like to not have a funeral so my family don’t incur expense and so they don’t get a reminder, but they might need it for closure. The need for closure isn’t something I understand, because why need it be necessary?

    And agreed on the compassion thing – I try to put to one side someone’s past if they do appear to have genuinely changed as there’s no point in trying to get ‘justice’ or holding a grudge once the lesson’s been learnt (other than to drive it home) but some people don’t rest until every last violation (that they remember) against them’s been paid because it’s part of the closure for them.

    I will however allow an asshat to be torn apart by their own kind until such a point as they change, whilst i might care for them i’d try to hold no sympathy until they enter the mindset they need to. Often people are in mental pain and want out of a situation before they’ve learned from it, in some way’s life’s lack of happy endings provides an environment where this won’t happen

  12. I’ve just noticed how abruptly I talk even when I have absolutely no intention to be, I think in snippets, throw out all the obselete stuff that got me there and compress it right down when I talk about it. The intention is for it to be read at your own pace

    And I should elaborate on my refrence to happy endings – it refers more to films where everything gets better before any mindset needs to change, that doesn’t happen in a lot of situations, people remain alone, people remain unemployed, or bereaved, etc, and what I was trying to say is that lack of happy ending forces us to adapt, a kind of blessing in disguise

  13. Jerry Falwell was never caught in a position of compromise and scandal. Because he did not believe in compromising his faith.

    Jerry sold his soul to the Moonies for $2.5 million.

  14. I may be wrong but it looks like some people here are confusing lack of sympathy with contempt. I have no ill thoughts towards his loved one, and I have no concern for them. To quote Rhett Butler “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”.

  15. Lack of sympathy can come without contempt but contempt can’t come without lack of sympathy

  16. I really don’t see why I should give a rat’s ass for the family of some dead douche bag. There are so many more people deserving of my sympathy, like the starving in Africa, or my brothers still stuck in Iraq, or the families of the ones that got killed there. Every one knows when a dictator won’t fall in line you bomb the shit out of their bases until they kiss you’re ass. You don’t have to invade them. Sorry I can’t help myself. Once again I say I don’t give a damn.

  17. As for the funeral thing REALLY screw with every one. have them send you to Valhalla.

  18. timmeh: There are so many more people deserving of my sympathy, like the starving in Africa, or my brothers still stuck in Iraq, or the families of the ones that got killed there

    They (starving+soldiers+their families) deserve sympathy certainly, but it’s not a limited resource that you’re going to run out of by giving it to the wrong people. For me there is a minimum baseline sympathy (a kind of standard ration, like minimum wage) with any death, just for existing. Whether or not they deserve more is up to individual assessment, which you can only really do accurately by knowing them on a personal level, and knowing the reasons and intentions behind what they did

  19. Don’t get me wrong I can be empathetic and respectful to the families of the dead. It’s just I can’t lie to myself and say I really care when I don’t. I never knew him, or his family. I have no reason to care other than what he preached. So yes, I didn’t like him and I am kind of glad he died. That doesn’t mean if by chance I meet some one close to him (not just some jackass follower) I would just keep my mouth shut. If I we’re asked I would just politely say they don’t want to know what I thought of him.

  20. I have nothing but contempt for Falwell and don’t give two shits about his family.  I am considering attending the funeral and carrying a sign myself.  His church is less than a two hour drive from where I live and godhatesfags has provided the location, date, and time information.  Now I need to get the oil changed in my truck and then go to Office Depot to buy sign making supplies.

  21. timmeh – understood – you and i both didn’t know much likable about falwell, and that’s all we have to go on. My stance was based on the last-ditch hope there could be more we don’t know (however unlikely and optimistic) to give a chance to the past (as one of those for-everybody things), but if there was truely no good in the past, i guess as long as someone has a future there is oppertunity to be had there, and if there is no future, I guess it doesn’t matter to them anymore, and the past is for all intents and purposes deleted once everyone affected by it ceases to exist.

    itdontmatter – if falwell nolonger exists in any form then your contempt is only attatched to the past, which you cannot hope to change. Whilst those hurt by falwell can be helped, holding contempt isn’t going to achieve anything now, you’d just be torturing yourself. Nethertheless if it sends a message to those affected, there is potential benefit in picketing the funeral.

  22. If Falwell saved a bunch of babies from a burning building he would be a really big asshole that just saved a bunch of babies.  He really has contributed to the whole il-sentiment toward homosexuals, females, and other races and I think it’s bullshit.  It was hard enough for me going through high school, I can only imagine what it was like for someone that was gay.

    And this pisses me off.  Homosexuals don’t actively seek out to harm or hurt others, so why are we spending time demonizing them?  For a fucking magical bearded dude that hangs out in the clouds?  Fuck him and fuck Falwell.  If you want to spend time to find good in people look for those that are actually working to make the world a better place.  Not someone that uses magical beings to push their pet ideas.

  23. All that will do is strengthen their beliefs in his ideology. What we need to is, work on getting better education for our children. I would love to see every child taught logic and reasoning, not just blind faith. The first step is we have to increase the amount of algebra (to increase logical thinking) each student learns before leaving public schools. After that we need true philosophy taught (once again logic) to each child. the third thing we need is a good balance of sciences (physics, biology, geology, and the like), and humanities (history, anthropology, sociology, and the like).

  24. Webs: If Falwell saved a bunch of babies from a burning building he would be a really big asshole that just saved a bunch of babies

    Correct – I consider good and bad things to be on 2 seperate scales, they don’t cancel out to give a net figure.

    Because of that even the worst asshats might have something praiseworthy amongst all the crap that they should take the fall for, just as even the best people might have some regrets. If you’re going to change an asshat they need to know to know what is good in order to have direction, so i think both sides need to be recognised for anyone.

    It is also a subjective matter how good or how bad you percieve something to be, nomatter what it is, someone can be viewed opposingly by some people than others depending on what weighing things are given, and who is really to say that (as an extreme example) a baby-eater wasn’t overall a good person if he had done something good that at least one person’s perspective thought it outweighed, who is to inwardly judge other than the offender?

  25. timmeh – Agreed, education is a large part of it and people do need to stimulated to think, a taste of philosophy should go a long way. There are people who find the need tho think through unsatisfied thirst though, but if anything more questions will be generated which drive the thirst

  26. Any Falwell funeral picket sign suggestions?

    I got fluorescent green foamcore for the sign and a huge black magic marker.  I decided not to have a stick for the sign, there must be some reason that the Phelps clan doesn’t use sticks on their signs.

  27. Any Falwell funeral picket sign suggestions?

    Something pink and fluffy – might be fun to see the reaction – fun, but perhaps dangerous

  28. How about one with a flashing cartoon character flipping the bird. Maybe the cops will evacuate the funeral thinking it’s a bomb.

  29. Bahamat:

    Lack of sympathy can come without contempt but contempt can’t come without
    lack of sympathy

    They say familiarity breeds contempt. Is familiarity indicative of sympathy?

    your contempt is only attatched to the past, which you cannot hope to change.

    Truly spoken, except where Falwell’s legacy endures. Even so, contempt seems to be such a waste of time. I wonder why so many of us engage it.

  30. Patness: They say familiarity breeds contempt. Is familiarity indicative of sympathy?

    LOL I think it’s a case of different context of meaning. To be sure, I don’t fully appreciate the stuff I use everyday (needs become less critical) but I don’t hold contempt against it

    Even so, contempt seems to be such a waste of time. I wonder why so many of us engage it.

    That and other emotions like sadness, embaressment, shyness, boredom, that seem to have no obvious advantage, my only explanation is that evolution hasn’t had enough time or drive to eliminate them, because if you didn’t have these needs you could focus on survival, I believe pack instincts could work without them using comradeship, etc. It would be a cruel god to choose to make people with these needs, and free-will doesn’t justify it because it could simply operate within a the happy range, humans have a limited spectrum of emotion anyway.

  31. Just realised – I was thinking of familiarity of stuff, but familiarity of people – if you’re dealing with a person regularly i suppose you notice stuff that, if improved, would make the dealings more pleasent. People can take advantage when they’re familiar, which earns the contempt of the other party, but it’s the action you’d be contempt with, and it’d only happen if you’re dealing with a certain type of person

  32. Thanks for the pointer Elwed.
    I especially liked Bill’s Freudian slip at 1:39 – if you’re a born-again xian you’re a failure … if you’re NOT a born-again xian you’re a failure as a human being.
    Very well done … and the studio audience missed it.

  33. I’d like to visit Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

    As would I, as I hear New Zealand’s just lovely. Until I make the jaunt over there I’ll have to stick with Fucking, Austria as the utmost of my travels to colorfully-named locales (although Ulan Batur does have a way of rolling off the tongue).

  34. And for me for the time the most colourful would be ‘Lord Hereford’s knob

    But the longest word of all is ‘Smiles’, because it has a mile between the first and last letters wink

  35. Well were OT- I used the following in the Office Christmas play a couple of years back

    Beaujolais   My name is A-nam-ba-hoot-musk-lin-hi-bool-naik-a-lee-ya.

    Penible   Do what?

    Beaujolais   It is Hindi for ‘Person who has a name that is difficult to pronounce’

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