Wednesday, May 16, 2007

JERRY FALWELL HAS died at 73. I know everyone is already aware of it, but Theosebes would be remiss not to note his passing.

Falwell was a mixed bag. I applauded his willingness to speak out on moral issues when others would not. I am glad he was able to cause limp-spined politicians to squirm through the influence of the Moral Majority. On the other hand, he would often say odd things (eg, his comments about the ever annoying Teletubbies), and I can't say I'm overly thrilled about the evangelical right's elevation of American patriotism to near (?) religious status. Falwell certainly played his part in that. Certainly, I had many theological differences with a premillennial Baptist.

Without a doubt, his influence on American political life was profound.


Anonymous said...

Jerry Falwell, help the Christian right to have a voice. His strong moral stand help to reform the USA back to the ways of the bible. This man did not have a PHD or go to the best of schools but had a strong faith in the bible. I hope that more men will fight the good fight like Mr. Falwell!

Marcus - (Church of Christ)

Bill said...

>>His strong moral stand help to reform the USA back to the ways of the bible.<<

Marcus must live in a different USA than I do. Unless rampant consumerism, vulgar and lascivious culture, public lying, and endless war are "the ways of the Bible."

Of course, I didn't know Mr. Falwell. Doubtless he was a kind and considerate man, his faults aside.

But, from the standpoint of a public figure, he helped fuse American Christianity into millenial Christian Zionism that has wrought disastrous consequences in our foreign policy and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The destructive Middle East policies advocated by the misguided and almost idolatrous Christian Zionists have contributed to the deaths of thousands of American servicemen in a misguided, unjust and unwinnable war. Falwell was even reckless and irreverent enough to assert "God is pro-war." Disgraceful.

Fortunately, Mr. Falwell had faded in public influence over the past decade and had instead concentrated on his private pursuits. Unfortunately, the damage he did in politicizing Christianity, intoxicating the Church with the Mammon of politics, and promoting the perversion known as Christian Zionism was already done.

May his family and friends be comforted, but I, for one, hope not to see another.

Bill (a Christian)

Chris said...

Excellent points, Bill.

What an embarassment that many think that someone like Falwell speaks for Christianity as a whole.


Marcus B said...

To my liberal friends who seems to be against war and the USA. I never say Mr Falwell speaks for all Christians but all true Christians you believe in the bible, Supernatural, Christian Morals. If you don't believe this you will have a problem with a guy like Falwell. War brings about Peace and without it no Christian freedom would have ever exist.(Constantine defeats Maximian at the battle of Milvian 312 A.D.) I don't understand how Christians can hate war and love peace. With War there is no Peace. This is why the bible say there is a Time for War and Peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:8) This war will open the day for the gospel to be preach in the Middle East in peace!

Marcus - Church of Christ

Bill said...

For me to be called a "liberal" truly proves the irrelevancy of labels in this day and age. The notion that the President's misguided and misbegotten war will "open the door for the gospel in the Middle East" is simply wrong. The President's war has nearly totally destroyed the Christian community in Iraq (after a brief period in 2003 when reporters talked about new churches being established). If you're interested in truth, rather than government and GOP propaganda, you can try this story or this one (although, maybe the "American Conservative" is "liberal" too. Perhaps instead, I should simply accept the "conservative" propaganda dished out by Likud/Zionist jewish commentators like William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer? Yeah, that's what a "conservative Christian" would do).

Falwell may well have been a good man, but his public policy pronouncements on foreign policy matters, were destructive. As he helped create the vogue of mistaking governmental power for the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel.

As for "war brings peace", I'd suggest you read some Orwell. The bible, in any event, nowhere says such. That God accepts some wars (self-defense has traditionally been the benchmark for a "just war"), does not make him "pro-war." But then, that's just relying on the bible instead of the momentous pronouncements of men like Mr. Falwell. Guess I'm naive that way.

jdavidb said...

Marcus, please don't call me liberal for being a pacifist. That's offensive. The church of Christ was pacifist in the 1800s.

I think 99.99% of everything the liberal crowd says about the war is irrational. I would never ally myself with those folks. But the time for war was in the Old Testament. Now we have no command from God authorizing us to take the life of another human being. Please don't call me liberal for holding to what your ancestors or spiritual predecessors believed. Please respect my convictions as I respect yours.

Bill said...

David Lipscomb, the most prominent among the "conservative" figures in the 19th century churches, certainly was a pacificist and virulently antiwar (if that doesn't seem incongruous).

Of course, you don't need to be a pacifist to oppose the Iraq war debacle. Pat Buchanan opposed the war before it started (indeed, he started the American Conservative magazine for the express purpose of trying to stop it) and he could hardly be called a "liberal."

More to the point, the injunctions to the church in the NT do not either encourage or direct it to pursue matters of politics or national interest. It is, instead, "to pursue things which make for peace and mutual edification." Romans 14:19. While Christians can have differing personal opinions on matters of war, peace and foreign policy, there is nothing in scripture to support the idea that Christians are to "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."

The common acceptance of this latter, jingoistic view among Christians is more proof of the poisonous influence of nationalism, patriotism and militarism in the church--an influence actively propagated by Mr. Falwell (which brings me back to where I came in).

Marcus B said...

David, Sorry brother! sometimes i miss use the word liberal but you would agree that most pacifist as you call yourself are liberals. Most of our brothers in the 1800's in the Restoration were pacifist like David Lipscomb, James A. Harding, Moses Lard,etc but this change in the 1900's. I believe Christians can agree and disagree on this subject. I do not believe that every war is a just war but sometimes only God knows.

Marcus - Church of Christ