Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell's R.I.P. (Reputation in Perspective)

From a small church in Virginia, in 1956, he invented televangelism.

From the resounding strife of the 1960s, he revved up the "born again Christian" wing of the Christian party.

From an ever expanding pulpit, as founder of Liberty Bible College and founder, in 1979, of Moral Majority, he helped turn the nation against a softer Southerner to get Ronald Reagan elected.

"He was a champion of the fundamental values that we hold dear," said fellow Virginia evangelist Pat Robertson.

We could say that Jerry Falwell did all of this of his own accord, but no, from his humble beginnings on, the audience made the man. He wielded righteousness like a sword, and the crowd loved it. He put righteousness back in the Right Wing and gained a flock of millions. At times of natural disaster and terrorist attack, he said some gruesomely divisive things, nasty things, hateful things, and got good ratings.

Jerry Falwell was a huckster, and more than that, a crusader -- and a plunderer. How very Christian (Old Testament) of him, and how very un-Christian (New Testament) of him. But then so many of the Christians in his audience weren't very Christian, either, not in the New Testament ways. They're Old Testament people.

Now we're left with one less big, charging, roaring leader of the Old. Perhaps a renaissance of the New. Perhaps some, tired of bile and bitterness, will turn away from the hucksters and practice a more prudent, more patient and peaceful path.


Post a Comment

<< Home