Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell dead

I'm neither happy nor sad at the news that Jerry Falwell is dead, but like many I sense this is the end of an era in American politics. Falwell, who openly believed that Jesus would be a Republican if he was on earth, had a shadow over the GOP like no one else in recent history -- not even the mighty Reagan.

There were some aspects about him that were troubling, though. A number of years back, I read the book With God On Our Side, a tome about the rise of the religious right in America as well as its often hypocritical nature and its lack of compassion on a number of issues. An entire section was devoted to Falwell and his Thomas Road Baptist Church, which once had the reputation of being one of the most racist congregations in the country. So racist, in fact, that even after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriages were legal Falwell refused to perform them.

His anti-environmental stances as well as his criticism of the media made him the subject of much anger and even ridicule. Some warranted, the rest ... probably not.

But no question he was a colourful character. And he's going to be missed, big time. Many in the progressive and liberal communities will be raising a toast tonight. I won't be one of them. After all, he was a brother in Christ too.

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1 comment:

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I despised the man and much of what he stood for, but I never celebrate one's death even if I disagree with their views. After all he does have a family and friends who probably are sad to see him go.

I think when it comes to the religious right, their power peaked around the 2004 US presidential election and has been somewhat declining since as they have been exposed to be hypocritical on some issues, but also the presence of the religious right scared many suburban voters who tend to be right wing mainly on economic issues as opposed to social issues, so even if it helped the Republicans in the South, it didn't really help them elsewhere much. Also the Mountain West tends to be more libertarian than social conservative so the fact social conservatives believe in bigger government rather than smaller government, may explain part of the reason the Republicans faced trouble in this region during mid-term elections.