True evil is born of ignorance and spreads through both the strongest and the weakest in our society. The strong leading the weak, often through charisma and in a guise the embraces the ideals held high by society. Jerry Falwell was en evil force in society. Make no bones about that statement – he was an evil person. Responsible for spreading bigotry and encouraging his followers to do the same. Anyone who believes and spreads beliefs like “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals” or “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.” should be recognized for what they are. Please note, both quotes are unattributed, but reflect his actions and sermons, so take them with a small grain of salt. Luckily, as a media-whore there are is a great source to learn about him – his own words.
Now, ignorance can play a large part in beliefs such as his, but he was an educated man – he had no excuse. What he did have was power. The power to influence, the power to talk people into sending him money to spread his bigotry, his hatred of his fellow beings, who, according to his religion are created in God’s image and ultimately his goal of dismantling what has made the United States a powerful and enviable society.
The world is a better place today, and if there is a Hell, I expect he is fetching mai tais for the ones he served in life.
I would like to end this post with some words spoken by Mr. Falwell shortly after the September 11 attack:
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”.
Remarks to Pat Robertson on The 700 Club on September 13, 2001. (audio recording)