JERRY FALWELL, STONE FUCKING DEAD AT LAST

 

When I first heard word that Jerry Falwell – evangelist, activist, chubby scoundrel – had breathed his last at the age of 73, I yipped with the delight of a kid eating ice cream. It was one of those rare moments in life where everything aligns, fits, and joins in perfect harmony; when the universe at last makes sense, the clouds part, and the sky bursts forth with the radiant energy of boundless optimism. I sat in my chair beaming, winking and grinning at nobody in particular, rubbing my hands together as if I were an invisible man faced with the towel-snapping reality of an unattended girl’s locker room. He had much to answer for, after all. He brought to life the Moral Majority, the bedrock religious institution of the 1970s that helped elect Ronald Reagan, ensuring that well into the next century, we’d be lionizing the very man most likely to sleep soundly through national security briefings. He blamed 9/11 on feminists, abortionists, and homosexuals, stopping just short of admitting that Christ himself took the controls that fateful day, cackling with glee at the massacre he hath wrought. He opposed gay marriage with a ferocity usually reserved for flesh-tearing zombies, assuming that the loveless, duplicitous, half-baked hellfire that passes for the heterosexual institution in this country would be further threatened by late night fisting and too much redecorating. And oh, how he hated – women, children, atheists, the black, the brown, the immigrant – all were tossed on the ash heap of zealotry and intolerance. And his people responded in kind.

And then there was the infamous lawsuit leveled against Larry Flynt. Poor Jerry, believing that the First Amendment need not apply to dangerous pornographers and moral degenerates. So grievously wounded by the liquor ad that implied he lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse, Falwell took his case to the legal arena; a process that eventually reached the Supreme Court, who wisely told the whale-gutted Virginian to get fucked. He lost, freedom won, and Falwell slinked away briefly to reconsider his new method of attack. With the culture no longer as tolerant of his race-baiting, appeals to segregation, and fear-mongering (blacks will rape your women, kind sir), Falwell carefully selected the gay community as his new bęte noire; a substitute for godless communism that ensured a compliant flock and teeming coffers. But lest we dismiss him as a mere charlatan, let it be said that Falwell genuinely believed in the breathless bigotry he heaved from his pulpit, and like good little lambs, America followed suit. Poverty, oppression, greed, and exploitation, seemingly in line with the historical notions of Christian charity, faded into the same oblivion that elevates anal sex as the primary barbarian at the gate. It was a new day, and Falwell never looked back.

So yes, while I can hope that in his final moments, Falwell was met head-on by a supreme charge of excruciating pain (may those seconds have passed like hours, if I am to derive maximum pleasure), I do wonder if the years ahead will be made less tolerable by his absence. What, after all, would the world look like without public reminders of religion’s true nature; the intolerance, the suspicion, the crippling paranoia that equates individual liberty with rank perversion? In a sense, it is not “victory” to vanquish the agents of brain rot, but rather to have them readily available for an appearance whenever the spiritual warriors overestimate their appeal and influence. Christianity is mocked by every decent and thinking individual, but at those times when it pleads respectability and benign intent, it is vital to have someone like Falwell around; the sort of behemoth who can cut through false pieties and fluttering eyelashes and deliver a white-hot message of murderous lust. The less we have of these rich symbols of hypocrisy, the more territory we cede to the camp who avoid such apocalyptic ravings, while happily twisting the blade with equal force and cunning. As such, Christianity’s face was must always be Falwell’s; he spoke truth to their power, and in this way, may have been the most honest man of his generation. To love Jesus is to loathe humanity, and to throw oneself upon thy knees in prayer is to crucify reason, good sense, progress, decency, and logic on the same bloody cross as the slab of veal they so revere. They sanction cruelty, misery, division, and despair, and hate the very heart that beats in their chests. Only Falwell had the courage to admit that this was indeed so. After all, he lived it every day of his miserable existence.

**Jerry’s Greatest Hits, courtesy of slate.com:

On Sept. 11: “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way – all of them who have tried to secularize America – I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.'”

On AIDS: “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.”

On homosexuality: “I believe that all of us are born heterosexual, physically created with a plumbing that’s heterosexual, and created with the instincts and desires that are basically, fundamentally, heterosexual. But I believe that we have the ability to experiment in every direction. Experimentation can lead to habitual practice, and then to a lifestyle. But I don’t believe anyone begins a homosexual.”

On Martin Luther King Jr.: “I must personally say that I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.”

On Martin Luther King Jr., four decades later: “You know, I supported Martin Luther King Jr., who did practice civil disobedience.”

On public education: “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again, and Christians will be running them.”

On the separation of church and state: “There is no separation of church and state.”

On feminists: “I listen to feminists and all these radical gals … These women just need a man in the house. That’s all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they’re mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They’re sexist. They hate men; that’s their problem.”

On global warming: “I can tell you, our grandchildren will laugh at those who predicted global warming. We’ll be in global cooling by then, if the Lord hasn’t returned. I don’t believe a moment of it. The whole thing is created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stability.”

On Bishop Desmond Tutu: “I think he’s a phony, period, as far as representing the black people of South Africa.”

On Islam: “I think Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough of the history of his life, written by both Muslims and non-Muslims, that he was a violent man, a man of war.”

On Jews: “In my opinion, the Antichrist will be a counterfeit of the true Christ, which means that he will be male and Jewish, since Jesus was male and Jewish.”

15
SHARES
About Matt

Matt is the site’s Longest Serving Critic and chief misanthrope. He divides his time between classics of cinema and the most ridiculous movies he can find on Redbox.
Follow Matt: @mattcale52