My two cents…

It has to be a difficult time for Rev. Jerry Falwell’s family right now. They are going to have to deal with an intense storm of media coverage, with bloviating from the left and the right, and much of it will not be pretty or complimentary. To have to grieve so publicly is not something to wish on anyone, particularly when the departed is a political lightning rod.

He was a towering icon of the religious right movement, and he has left quite a legacy — one I cannot agree with in any form or fashion, nevertheless one cannot ignore his success at mobilizing a large portion of the electorate in ways that many organizations on the left have yet to do.

It’s sad to hear, as of last week (in an interview with CNN), he stood by his 2001 comments  that gays, lesbians, pro-choice advocates and feminists were to blame for 9/11.

I wish that Reverend Falwell, who at one time was against integration and interracial marriage, could have lived long enough to see full LGBT equality finally come to pass. We all know that it will prove him terribly wrong once again —  that treating one group of citizens the same as everyone else isn’t a threat to marriage, the American family or this country.

Some other comments on Falwell’s passing are after the jump…“The death of a family member or friend is always a sad occasion and we express our condolences to all those who were close to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. 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.”
— Matt Forman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We extend to Reverend Falwell the simple dignity and deference that our own families seek as part of the American family. Reverend Falwell may have attempted to make himself our adversary with his own personal attacks and political campaigns, but we remember that he remained our neighbor. As we understand that each American should be treated equally under the law, we recognize that each neighbor should receive our respect. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his widow Macel, the Falwell family and the membership of Thomas Road Baptist Church.”
— Jo Wyrick, Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats

“Reverend Falwel’s death today causes my thoughts to turn toward the members of our community who have at great personal sacrifice contended with the Reverendâ??s work and teachings.  As I remember Reverend Falwell’s life, I also remember all of the families of people who have died of AIDS.  Reverend Falwell’s legacy is not about the tenants of Jesus’s ministry such as healing the sick and standing with the disenfranchised but about shunning and ridiculing those who have suffered and died of AIDS and their families.  Many faith leaders today are moving away from his divisive approach and toward the compassion and inclusiveness that Jesus modeled every day of his ministry.”
— Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

“We extend our condolences to Rev. Jerry Falwell’s family and friends.  He was an effective advocate for his vision of America, a vision with which we strongly disagreed.”
People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas, with these links to its past coverage of Jerry Falwell

“It is with great regret that Rev. Jerry Falwell never moderated his position on homosexuality,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “While our hearts go out to his family, we can’t help but to reflect on his life and think about all of the families he’s torn apart and teenagers that committed suicide because he made them feel inferior. He never missed an opportunity to kick our better angels to the curb and capitalize on our lesser demons to advance his career…Unfortunately, the anti-gay infrastructure built by Falwell survives him. With the founding of Liberty University and his legal arm, the Liberty Counsel, his legacy of intolerance will continue for quite some time.””
— Wayne Besen, of Truth Wins Out

“I join the students, faculty, and staff of Liberty University and Americans of all faiths in mourning the loss of Reverend Jerry Falwel. Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country.”
John McCain, who had referred to Falwell in 2000 as “an agent of intolerance.”

“While Soulforce has a long history of nonviolent direct action at Jerry Falwell Ministries, our adversary was never Jerry Falwell, but rather the misinformation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people espoused by Falwell and so many others.”
— Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes.

“It breaks my heart to think that Jerry died without ever discovering the truth about God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children. I sincerely hope that one day his school and his church will have a change of heart.”
— Rev. Dr. Mel White of Soulforce, who used to write for Falwell

“The passing of as public a figure as Jerry Falwell naturally garners intense media attention. Our condolences are with the Rev. Falwell’s family and loved ones during this emotional time.  And as the nation’s media examine Falwell’s life and legacy, it is important that they focus attention on the damaging impact of his rhetoric and advocacy on millions of gay and lesbian people and families.”
— Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano

Media Matters has compiled part of the legacy of unfortunate comments of the Reverend Falwell:

  • On CNN, Falwell declared Foley scandal “minuscule in comparison” to having “lived through Bill Clinton”; no follow-up from Zahn This article has video.
  • Friday, November  3, 2006  9:30PM
  • Falwell: “[C]ashless society,” “one-world government” will happen near Rapture This article has audio.
    Monday, August 28, 2006  6:46PM
  • In Middle East conflict, other crises, conservative media find signs of Biblical prophecy of Armageddon This article has video.
    Tuesday, July 25, 2006  8:58PM
  • Falwell on the “moral pervert[s]” in Hollywood: “[Y]ou almost got to be a homosexual to be recognized in the entertainment industry
    This article has audio.
    Tuesday, June 27, 2006  1:06PM
  • Falwell dismissed scientific evidence on global warming, evangelical efforts to address issue This article has audio.
    Tuesday, March 14, 2006 12:38PM
  • Falwell attacked Lynn as “about as reverend as an oak tree”; guest host Asman asked permission to “repeat it at some point” This article has video.
    Friday, December  2, 2005  6:06PM
  • Falwell wrongly labeled 9th Circuit Court “the most overturned of all the appellate
    This article has audio.
    Wednesday, November  9, 2005  6:13PM
  • Falwell, Gordon Robertson repeat false information on judicial nominations This article has video.
    Thursday, April 28, 2005  1:01PM
  • Falwell denied that many evangelicals opposed Iraq war
    Tuesday, February 15, 2005  5:45PM
  • Falwell fills in as conservative Crossfire host
    Wednesday, February  9, 2005  1:01PM
  • Falwell: “We are winning the Christmas war”
    Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:03PM
  • Falwell wrong on 9th Circuit “eggheads” who he claimed “get their rulings overturned almost every time”
    Tuesday, December 21, 2004  7:07PM
  • “Christmas under siege” crowd attacks Target for “banning” Salvation Army
    Thursday, December 16, 2004  1:20PM
  • Buchanan, Falwell joined in war-on-Christmas hype: “we are witnessing … hate crimes against Christianity”
    Monday, December 13, 2004  5:52PM
  • Self-proclaimed “missionary to the media” Falwell made 12th media appearance since election
    Monday, December  6, 2004 10:42AM
  • Falwell guest-hosted Crossfire; said Iraq war “goes pretty well if you watch it on FOX” This article has video.
    Thursday, December  2, 2004  6:54PM
  • On Meet the Press, Falwell lied about post-9-11 remarks and divorce rate This article has video.
    Monday, November 29, 2004  4:36PM
  • Falwell’s Thanksgiving message: “I thank God” for Hannity, Limbaugh, FOX, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, and The Drudge Report
    Wednesday, November 24, 2004 11:04AM
  • Media allowed conservative religious leaders to define “moral values”
    Wednesday, November 24, 2004 11:04AM
  • Falwell called NOW “the National Order of Witches”
    Tuesday, November 23, 2004  3:27PM
  • Falwell distorted 1969 Bill Clinton letter, suggested that Clintons “abhor the military”
    Tuesday, November 16, 2004  1:05PM
  • Falwell denied his habit of comparing homosexuality to bestiality, crack addiction
    Monday, November  8, 2004  1:13PM
  • Jerry Falwell compared same-sex marriage to slavery This article has audio.
    Wednesday, July 14, 2004  7:43PM
  • Pam Spaulding

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