Columnwhoring: Jerry Falwell Edition

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It should be obvious to anyone who reads this space on a regular basis that as a Christian, I’d have liked many times to have told Falwell to get off my side because he was making it look bad. But as a Democrat, I often wondered why Republicans didn’t think the same thing.

After all, he was making their party, a party of less intrusive governance and sensible spending and limited social programs, the party of hucksters who relied on fraudulent messages from God to tell them what to do. He was making their party the party of backward-thinking buffoonery, of paranoid visions of homosexuality around every corner.

He brought in a lot of votes while he did so, but in the long run, was it worth it? When the word “conservative” was so tarnished by the 2000 presidential election that candidate George W. Bush had to append “compassionate” to it in order to make it palatable to anyone with a smidgen of sense? When even now Republican primary candidates are expected to genuflect at the altar of Falwell’s movement by speaking at his “university” and mouthing praises of his work lest his followers howl?

Is it worth it, the temporary electoral successes he helped to foster, if association with the means used to achieve those ends requires sensible Republicans to say, “Sure, I’m a conservative, but I’m not one of THOSE conservatives?”

Maybe it is. After all, the modern Republican Party fell all over itself to eulogize and honor Falwell after his death, and the mainstream press, for the most part, focused on his influence rather than strictly on his actions in ambivalent stories. Certainly, before he died, Falwell was enjoying the four-year ritual kissing-up that accompanies the coming of the Republican presidential primary. No one was jumping over anybody else to distance himself from the so-called moral “majority.”

A.

16 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: Jerry Falwell Edition

  1. tena says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious, especially after sitting through today’s hearing, that that small cluster of hard core Repugs are going to cling to the wreckage until they are sucked under.
    Now why grown men and women would let themselves be suckered by that obese, oily, conman is more than I can fathom – except of course, that they are greedy people. And so the Repugs sold their souls to Satan – simple as that. I really believe the religious right is evil with a capital E. Sorry – that’s not politically correct, but that’s just what I think.
    I have nothing good to say about the man, alive or dead. He was a fraud, total, complete and through and through. An utter liar. He was no man of God.

  2. People that are afraid feel a need to be told what to do. It’s a fool’s answer to courage. If you suspend your natural urge to defend yourself and delegate that to someone else, then life becomes so much easier and less complicated.
    It also becomes more dangerous to those of us who still rely on ourselves. The more people follow men like Falwell, the louder their voice becomes, more hate and fear gets spread throughout the country. When the radical fringe becomes the only source of truth, then it becomes dangerous to the right wing masses.
    Falwell is dead, may his bones rot in the sun. But there are too many others just like him waiting in the wings, ready to take up his mantle for me to think that this one is over.
    Not by a long shot.
    The Class War is still young and the enemy has lost a general. But that just means that everyone on their side moves up a notch. We can’t let this make us feel any more safe than before. The Theocrats won’t rest until we are all on our knees in prayer to their god.

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  4. pansypoo says:

    the talibornaqgains and republikkkans made their bed. now they have to sleep in it. i just hit a great quote in the decameron i am reading. “the say commonly in proverbial style: a wicked man who is THOUGHT to be good can do evil and yet not have it believed.
    goes for falwell as well as georgie.

  5. After all, he was making their party, a party of less intrusive governance and sensible spending and limited social programs, the party of hucksters who relied on fraudulent messages from God to tell them what to do. He was making their party the party of backward-thinking buffoonery, of paranoid visions of homosexuality around every corner.
    I wondered too, A., why even the Republicans did not find him an embarrassment. I suppose it was all about winning, winning at any cost. It was about power, and for a time close to absolute power, which corrupts absolutely. What do they have now? What is their legacy? What is our legacy after their depredations?

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  7. joel hanes says:

    through the magic of rearranging clauses:
    > I often wondered why Republicans didn’t

    > [tell] Falwell to get off my side because he was making it look bad.
    Some Republicans _did_.
    Barry Goldwater famously said
    “I think all good Christians should kick Jerry Falwell right in the ass.”
    But.
    Falwell brought money. And his followers wrote letters. And gave more money. And voted. And were loyal beyond reason. He was part of the GOP’s great Southern Strategy; they made this deal with the devil long ago, and Falwell was useful as Pat Robertson was useful. And don’t forget — a certain percentage of GOP politicians actually ascribe to Falwell’s world-view: Brownback, I think, and Inhofe. Musgrave. Bachman.

  8. joel hanes says:

    When Congressman Morris Udall heard Barry Goldwater’s remark,
    quoted above, he said that, as a practicing Christian,
    Rev. Falwell would, “no doubt, turn the other cheek.”
    This, by the way, is the same Mo Udall who said that (Reagan Interior
    Secretary) James Watt’s “idea of a wilderness area is a parking lot with
    no lines.”

  9. joel hanes says:

    > Brownback, I think, and Inhofe. Musgrave. Bachman.
    and dear god, Rick Santorum.
    Remember Rick Santorum?

  10. skippy says:

    hey i didn’t know you were a christian, athenae.

  11. Athenae says:

    skippy, damn, then I guess I haven’t been doing it right. 🙂
    A.

  12. BuggyQ says:

    This is exactly why my aunt is considering switching her party affiliation to independent. She’s a classic fiscal conservative and never liked the way the fundies took over her party. This is a woman who made a square for the AIDS quilt for a dear friend of hers. She’s an educator, an actress, and a truly good person. And there’s no place for her in the Republican party anymore.

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