A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell The Moral Majority and Me

A short report about the death of Rev. Falwell.

One short comment, I am sickened by the vitriole that some of the left wing blogs are showing.  I mean you can disagree with a man, but the moment of their death isn’t the time to do so.  What should I expect though from pigs, but grunts.

I started college in 1979 and became interested in GOP politics shortly thereafter. My family had a split political history. My mother was a staunch pro-labor, Irish/Catholic Democrat. My grandfather had been one of the founders of the NYC Electrical Workers Union, and was called “The Great White Father” for pushing for minorities to be allowed into the union in the 1920’s. I am very proud of his work on the behalf of working people. My father was a staunch Republican and was Protestant. However, he had become a minister when I was about thirteen, and my mother had left the Roman Church beforehand. In 1976, they both backed Jimmy Carter, and it was odd not to hear the political debates, as they thought they had found a candidate they could agree upon. Boy, did they get hoodwinked on that one.

Early on I was not overly impressed with President Carter, and the Iran crisis sealed the deal. I had actually always been a bit more Conservative on military and foreign policy issues than my politically divided house, and I think Carter was the straw that broke the camel’s back with regard to supporting Democrats.

So when I received a newspaper from this organization called “The Moral Majority” I didn’t know what to think. I read the paper and found out that I agreed with many of the their positions. I was in favor of supporting Israel’s right to exist along with the concept that I trusted those guys more than Muslims and Arabs. I was concerned about the lack of respect that many in the country had towards our nation. I was a troubled about some of the content of the political process. I was – and still am – in favor of limiting abortion. I was fearful about some of the language in the ERA movement and mostly I was ticked about Iran and the hostages. I joined the organization at 17 in 1979. My wife rolled her eyes when I told her that one and had one word, pathetic, as a rejoinder. At 17 in my first year of college I should have been partying, getting drunk and laid, and not lining up with social conservatives. I guess you can tell she and I are a bit different in our political outlook – but she did wave a “W” placard and campaigned for President Bush in ’04. Her family still doesn’t talk to her!

I think what Rev. Falwell meant to me, at that age, was that there were people who were concerned not just about politics as usual, but who were concerned with cultural climate and its rapid change. Maybe they saw a connection between the dots – and that social outlook was related to economic policy and even a world view towards foreign policy.

I know that my views were a bit different from the Moral Majority, but there was enough agreement for me to join and to send my fees in cash – talk about naieve – in $10 increments, as I was indeed a struggling student in my first year of college. From that launching point, I became involved first in George Bush (41) campaign for the nomination, and later switched to Reagan when he won the nod. I guess that choosing of Bush over Reagan showed that I was a bit more centrist than dyed in the wool with the “MM”, but I knew that I was more comfortable with that crowd than the “rabble” I saw endorsing – and the rabble has gotten worse – Democrat candidates.

I with my still soft positions upon some social issues, such as abortion and rights for homosexuals (I support civil unions as policy), put me at odds with many of the antecedents of the Moral Majority, but I am understanding of their views, and I view our slight differences as a friendly disagreement within the family. I still feel that they are my people. So, for that, I am thankful for Rev. Falwell’s life. He profoundly shaped my growth as a person in the political realm, and though I still politely disagree with some of the social agenda of him and others of the harder Evangelical Right, and I do profess my own Evangelical foundation as a view of life, I recognize their value as a part of my family. Most importantly, I know that Rev. Falwell, despite some of our differences held a strong view upon the value of loving God. He also understood that the love of God requires action. Although in many ways I take that interpretation to promote egalitarianism, something that many of the Moral Majority/Christian Coalition/Focus on the Family crowd typically endorse, I find that we are using the same source, and in the end probably have similar intentions. This is how a person who is still, a good deal more Centrist – and still thinks that while Reagan was Great, and he was, that I like Bush 41 more for his intellect.

Let this be my final thought towards Rev. Falwell; May you wake to find you are resting on quiet shores.

7 Comments »

  1. I was completely shocked ot hear of his death. As much as there have been times I have cringed at him being interviewed afraid he would say something that would make “us” (christians) look awful. But I have met people that knew him personally. And one guy who was gay in particular… he shared me a story of a time when he was struggling with his sexuality that Mr. Fawell was one of the only that (though he obviuosly didn’t agree that he should explore that alternative lifestyle,) he treated him with very much loving-kindness. I will never forget that. That on a personal level he came off differently than he has in the media. That many people who really knew him really loved him.

    It will be kind of strange to have the campaigning going on without him speaking up.

    Comment by mommyzabs — May 15, 2007 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  2. The irony watch begins: The Lefties will spew the worst kind of venom while talking about what a hater Falwell was. Indeed.

    Comment by Neil — May 15, 2007 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  3. I guess it’s between him and God now.

    Comment by beverlyshaffer — May 15, 2007 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  4. Well, as I said, Rev. Falwell had some positions that were not mine, but he was a genuine person, and I agreed with him much more than I disagreed. Chris Matthews had some positive things to say about him, and linked him to the John Wayne v Jane Fonda factor in America, which was big in the 70’s and early 80’s. I still like “The Duke”.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 16, 2007 @ 12:19 am | Reply

  5. According to your blog, it seems you have an interest in centrist politics.

    If this is true, perhaps you’d like to write for ToTheCenter.com! It’s an online political magazine written for “the common man.” The magazine’s aim is to write “down the middle” – with no political right or left.

    Go to ToTheCenter.com, join as a member, and click “submit news link.” Your news will be approved and posted, and you can check on it regularly to view reader comments.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact info@tothecenter.com

    Thanks!

    Comment by Dominick — May 17, 2007 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  6. I have not celebrated the death of Falwell, but I certainly feel no remorse, either. This man made life more difficult for millions of gay Americans, myself included. He began the shift to the right, the desire to restrict the rights of gays and lesbians in the workplace and in their relationships. His statements were the ones that were filled with vitriol.

    Did Falwell feel any remorse for the gay men who died from AIDS that he constantly belittled? Did he rejoice at the death of Saddam Hussein? Did he support the death penalty?

    Not expressing remorse at someone’s death doest not mean that I don’t value life. Far from it. I think the value that I have placed on life is what put me at odds with Falwell’s outspoken views. I also believe that he gave Christianity a bad reputation with his outbursts about Jews, blacks, women, and homosexuals.

    Comment by Brian — May 17, 2007 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  7. The man gave the best sermon on the rapture and the blessed hope I have ever heard – I will never forget that.

    As for how others have treated his death, to me, it just shows the venom they possess.

    Comment by Barbara (Xerraire) — May 24, 2007 @ 10:21 pm | Reply


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