by Lorette C. Luzajic
Part 24 of Pillars of Faith
To the Back of the Bus, Please
Great men of God like Jerry Falwell notoriously blame floods and fires on the Lord’s wrath over women who want to work. It seems God doesn’t have time to punish big sins like slavery, pollution, greed, genocide, war, racism, violence, or child brothels when homos are brainwashing our kids with cartoons like Spongebob and the Teletubbies.
Falwell, cofounder of the Moral Majority, says the call for Christian conservatism was ignited when abortion was legalized. That’s when fags and feminism took over our Christian heritage. These groups couldn’t be called minorities, like God-ordained groups of real humans like blacks and Hispanics, Falwell said, because these were fake lifestyles of sin that rejected Biblical patriarchy.
The Nation’s Max Blumenthal writes that Falwell’s recollection is revisionist, for his mission was built long before gay rights were born. Falwell’s early church, built in a “backwater bottling plant,” was built on “rabid” segregationalism.
Falwell was born in 1933 to a bootlegger, and after college, he started a church in Virginia. The big issue facing Christians in 1956 was that Christian schools were weeding out separatism. White-only schools were losing tax-exempt status, and Falwell didn’t like this one bit.
“The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line,” he said in one sermon. In another: “The true Negro does not want integration. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race.”
Falwell claimed integration would “destroy our race eventually.” He complained about a couple “of opposite race live next door…as man and wife.”
The Birth of the Immoral Majority
In 1979, the Moral Majority was born, spurring Christians into political action. “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country,” he bellowed in a ’76 sermon. (There was no mention of America’s original animist faiths.)
By 1983, the U.S. News and World Report named Falwell one of the 25 most influential Americans. Not great, since the rev was outspoken in support of apartheid. He called for Christians to reinvest in South Africa, opposing economic sanctions. He called the African National Congress a “communist front” and Bishop Desmond Tutu a “phony.” He opposed Nelson Mandela’s release from prison because he was a “communist.”
But as the ‘90s dawned, racism was becoming unpopular, so Falwell changed his focus to gays. “Gay folks would just as soon kill you as look at you,” he said. He called a new wave of Christian gays, the Metropolitan Community Church “brute beasts” and a “vile and Satanic system.” He called a lesbian talk show host “Ellen Degenerate.” He also said the preschool program for kids, The Teletubbies, was “role modeling the gay lifestyle,” which was hurting “the moral lives of children.” The stuffed alien Tinky Winky was “purple — the gay pride color.” His antenna was — gasp — a triangle, and he carried a red bag.
You didn’t have to be gay to provoke Jer Bear’s wrath. Billy Graham was “the chief servant of Satan.” The National Organization of Women was actually the “National Organization of Witches.”
And the evil American Civil Liberties Union was “to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews.” Jerry wasn’t fond of Jews, though. “Jews can make more money accidentally than you can on purpose,” he grumbled, not content with his considerable fortune. The antichrist? “Of course he’ll be Jewish.”
His Bible said so, and the “Bible is the inerrant … word of the living God … infallible, without error in all matters … such as geography, science, history.” Somewhere in that Bible, there was something for labor unions, too. “Labor unions should study and read the Bible instead of asking for more money. When people get right with God, they are better workers.”
Most famously, Jerry Falwell said that hurricanes and disasters and the 9/11 attacks were divine retribution for homos.
In the Bible it also says gluttony is sin, and maybe 9/11 attacks happened because the rev was breaking the scales. In any event, a series of artery blockages and infections did him in, 2007, at 73.
Falwell was inducted last fall into the Christian Hall of Fame. In the company of Calvin, Apostle Paul, and Luther, Falwell is one of 124 inductees. “Falwell is honored for having been one of the great heroes of the faith in the last century,” said Rev. Mike Frazier at the ceremony. “…Perhaps he has done more for God than any other man in our generation.”