Jerry Falwell died today. From the AP wire:
"The founder of the Moral Majority was discovered without a pulse at Liberty University and pronounced dead at a hospital an hour later. Dr. Carl Moore, Falwell's physician, said he had a heart condition and presumably died of a heart rhythm abnormality."What legacy he leaves is dependent on who's writing the history. Here are some things gleaned from the AP story.
From James Dobson, founder of the conservative Christian Focus on the Family ministry:
"Jerry's passions and convictions changed the course of our country for the better over the last 20 years. It was Jerry who led an entire wing of Christianity, the fundamentalist wing, away from isolation and into a direct confrontation with the culture."From Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added:
"Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation."And there are these actions of his:
"In 1999, he told an evangelical conference that the Antichrist was a male Jew who was probably already alive. Falwell later apologized for the remark but not for holding the belief. A month later, his National Liberty Journal warned parents that Tinky Winky, the children's TV character, was a gay role model and morally damaging to children."
Zichrono l'vracha - His memory will be a blessing to some and an example of the dark side of fundamentalism to others.