Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Short angry rant........

I was not going to post about the passing of Jerry Falwell. Out of respect more than anything and a strong desire not trample on a dead man's grave-since all of us will be in that same position one day. I'm no fan of Jerry Falwell-that's probably self evident. I believe his insertion of the church into partisan politics and his particular interpretation of Christianity did more to harm the Christian faith than it did to help it.

However after watching Christopher Hitchens on TV at lunch today, I feel strongly compelled to rise in Rev. Falwell's defense. Christopher Hitchens, as an intellectual, has his moments but it is clear to me that on the whole, he is to be pitied.

This is what he said that really set me off-paraphrased

"This sad little troll of a man, proves that you can get away with no end of evil-so long as you put the word Reverend in front of his name."

UPDATE! Here is the whole statement. Updated commentary at the bottom of the post.

The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing, that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September the 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God's punishment if they hadn't got some kind of clerical qualification?

People like that should be out in the street, shouting
and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this -- of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality, and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we're -- we're not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven, where I'm glad to see he skipped the rapture, just found on the floor of his office, while the rest of us go to hell.

There is so much so wrong with this statement. Regardless of my feelings on Rev Falwell's positions-which I will state again were deeply flawed-you have to give him the credit for the courage of his conviction. And to totally dismiss him is to dismiss what was probably a lot of good work-the work the church should be doing, by the way-working with people on an individual basis, feeding, providing clothing, providing assistance. Falwell as a minister was a public spokesman who got resources for a lot of those things. And there are probably more than a few people that were helped by the organization he started. Which is probably his real legacy that I personally believe, God will honor-if there is any justice in the world.

Evangelicals have hijacked the Republican party and have taken religion into an arena it has no business being involved in. In many ways they have a lot in common with the Islamists they decry. However to see Hitchens be allowed a public forum-to speak a sentiment that is dripping with hatred at a time that demands respect-well that's too much. Even for me. Shame on you sir!.

He was still a husband, father, and had a family. May God grant him rest and peace.

Update: I guess what bothers me the most is the vindictiveness of the statement coming so soon after the man's death. Were the slurs really necessary? As I see it, there's a line and Falwell has crossed over it. You will too. While he was alive-knock yourself out, trash his name, trash his ideas, argue to his hearts content. However, now-while his family still grieves, do you really have to go and piss all over him?

Furthermore, Mr Hitchens, what your statement lacks is context. Spend a few hours in a church in the south pal, and its easy to understand exactly where the man was coming from. That did not mean he was right-far from it, from a biblical or a historical standpoint. However it is fairly consistent with what is taught in evangelical churches. I've sat through plenty of sermons by guys like him. A lot of them are pretty good guys out of the pulpit. So just hate the ideas. Otherwise you are no better than what you postulate him to be.- my .02- Skippy-san

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