You know, I don’t think anyone would call me a fan of the late Jerry Falwell. Whether it was blaming gays and abortionists for 9⁄11, or suggesting that we should “blow them away in the name of the Lord”, Falwell had an astounding talent for offending people, and in many cases, their offense was justified.
On the other hand, there are people out there who encountered him at his best, not his worst, and some of them quite liked him, or at least, recognized good things that he did. Even people who staunchly opposed his blurring of the line between spiritual authority and temporal power might approve of his charitable efforts.
Today, Mr. Falwell is dead. And today, millions of people who are normally pretty decent are doing their best to emulate Fred Phelps, and cheer at a man’s death, and laud the suffering of those who were close to him. I don’t know what to make of that, but I can’t say I like it. I have never been a fan of the hostile, gloating, responses some people have to the deaths of hated enemies. It struck me as a grave illness that some people couldn’t refrain from gloating when Pope John Paul II died, and to this day, I remember a particularly disgusting editorial piece written about Jerry Garcia which made a half-sentence’s lip service to not speaking ill of the dead, then proceeded to excoriate him at length.
The guy deserved better than this. We all do. I really don’t like this hostility and mockery. Whatever the man’s faults, is jeering at his funeral, metaphorically or literally, going to correct them? I don’t think it is.
s.: In a fit of dramatic irony, Fred Phelps has announced plans to gleefully preach at Falwell’s funeral about how the man’s in Hell, thus confirming my theory that they’re just doing whatever it takes to get people to hit them so they can sue.
Date: 2007-05-15 18:53:47 -0500
Thank you Seebs for this posting. Funny this evil atheist has the same thoughts.
Date: 2007-05-17 11:09:10 -0500
I too have the same thoughts as you. I never particularly liked Falwell, but I’d never wish him dead. Did I wish he’d shut up? You betcha.
From: Sean Conner
Date: 2007-05-21 19:14:26 -0500
Larry Flynt had some nice things to say about Jerry Falwell. I’d post a link, but it looks like it’ll get filtered.