Falwell Fell Badly
Jerry Falwell is dead and that should be the end of his bigotry. But likely there'll be a lot of noise as his followers attempt to do what (unfortunately) only Catholics really know how to do: canonize him. That'll be an interesting process because the man had an absolute trash talking mouth on him.
There will be a lot of talk about him having been a special counsel to Presidents but he was never anything like that. In America that role always fell to Billy Graham (for better or worse). The closest Jerry could come to a Billy Graham would be to be called Bully Falwell. He was a bully, a blamer, a divider, a walking talking Pharisee of the foulest kind (if we can reference that "new testament" culture).
Already there's a lot of chatter on the net about whether he gets to go up or down on the elevator of the afterlife. For me that's totally irrelevant. If there's a heaven and a hell then my money is on him burning in the latter for all eternity. If religious cultures are right and there's a St. Peter working as a greeter at the pearly gates of Heaven-Mart then I imagine Jerry will be doing a lot of gnashing of teeth and grovelling and negotiating for a couple of thousand light years in purgatory.
If, on the other hand, its more like Star Trek then I can imagine Falwell and bin Ladin locked in mortal combat for ever and a day in an inescapable time lock while Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock exchange enigmatic glances before moving on to new sectors of the universe.
At the very best, if there was ever anything forgiving and open handed in Jerry Falwell's head and heart, he is a religious leader who fell badly into the clutches of the root of all evil.
The best thing for the rest of us, those who don't mainline Fox News, is to simply take note and use the next few days to organize for the impeachment of G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney; and convincing whoever it is who has the power to get America and the remains of its Coalition of the Willing out of Iraq -- as the government of Iraq is now requesting.
Falwell is dead. Let's cauterize his memory and move on. There are others like him requiring our undivided attention and unrelenting opposition.
First published in We! Magazine
Passing Times from 2005