1. November 22, 2004: "Those religion-oriented law schools." I noted Jerry Falwell's new law school and quoted him saying: "If our graduates wind up in the government, they'll be social and political conservatives. If they wind up as judges, they'll be presiding under the Bible." I was critical of his idea for a law school and said: "What's needed are law schools that expose law students to the full range of professional debate. It doesn't make much sense to counter one law school with another law school: the poor student has to go one place or another!"
2. November 28, 2004: "Jerry Falwell's curtain imagery." Falwell had just appeared on "Meet the Press," and Tim Russert had asked him about what he said 2 days after 9/11: " "I fear... that [September 11th] is only the beginning. ...If, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve ... I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle ... all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say'`you helped this happen.'" Part of Falwell's answer was, "This morning in the shower I prayed for all 15 of our family by name, by need, because I want the curtain of God's provision upon them and protection along the highways and decision-making, God's wisdom." I wrote: "Falwell praying in the shower? I could have gone my whole life without having that picture in my head. But now that he's said it, I have some idea where he gets his imagery. 'God continues to lift the curtain ...' Was that the shower curtain? God as Norman Bates?"
3. May 5, 2005: "Hitchens on the Christian right." I quote Christopher Hitchens quoting Barry Goldwater saying he wants to "kick Jerry Falwell in the ass."
4. November 26, 2006: "'Can Romney endure the media exposure that awaits him? What if his great-great grandfather was a bigamist? And what about that underwear?'" I criticize some people for spreading prejudice against Mormons and quote a news article notes Jerry Falwell had said -- to his credit -- that Mitt Romney's religion was no barrier to the Presidency.
I guess I haven't been too hard on Jerry Falwell in the time this blog has been around. He wasn't that active in the last 3 years, and, as the linked NYT obituary says, "He surprised some critics by becoming more tolerant on gay issues in later years. "
But at his core, he remained through his career precisely what he was at the beginning — a preacher and moralist, a believer in the Bible’s literal truth, with firm beliefs on religious, and social issues rooted in his reading of Scripture that never really changed.R.I.P.
So there was no distinction at all between his view of the political and the spiritual when he wrote in his autobiography: “We are born into a war zone where the forces of God do battle with the forces of evil. Sometimes we get trapped, pinned down in the crossfire. And in the heat of that noisy distracting battle, two voices call out for us to follow. Satan wants to lead us into death. God wants to lead us into life eternal.”