Archive for May 16th, 2007

Jerry Falwell

May 16, 2007

If you haven’t heard by now, Jerry Falwell died today. I’m sure there’ll be reams said about him in the next few days, but I wanted to quote some observations from One doesn’t expect to be a big fan of Jerry Falwell, and they aren’t. But their writer does make some points worth pondering.

To the religious life of the United States [Falwell] made no significant contribution. But to the political life of the country, he made one: He founded the Moral Majority. In so doing, Falwell managed to take something holy — one does not have to be a Christian to admire the life and teachings of Jesus Christ — and turned it into something partisan and divisive.
Evangelicalism grew in the exurban megachurches, and the megachurches, implicitly and occasionally explicitly, rejected Falwell’s approach to the faith. Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels — these inclusive preachers inherited the mantle of Billy Graham, not Falwell and his great rival Pat Robertson.Falwell’s theology, such as it was, never made clear how America could be both the promised land and Gomorrah at the same time.