16 May 2007
What To Say?
I first read the news about an hour after Jerry Falwell was declared dead. As a member of one of his favorite target groups, I can't say I'll miss the man. His friends and family may have nothing but fond memories, but to me he's someone who got rich and fat by spreading lies and fomenting hate - particularly towards my people. And of course, the cynic in me can't help but notice that he didn't exactly follow Jesus's advice to give up all his worldly possessions. There's big money in scaring folks to God, after all.
That said, I won't exactly be dancing on his grave, either. His passing doesn't really do anything to undermine the legacy he's left behind. The Religious Wrong is a much stronger force in this country's politics because of the groundwork he lay, and it's learned to be much more insidious than it was back in the Moral Majority days. If you don't believe me, just watch how much the Bible gets thumped - by both sides - in the next year and a half of presidential campaigning.
One of the best stories I think I've ever heard, though, indirectly involves Falwell. My friend Chip grew up in Rev. Falwell's church, so he got to hear regularly about all the sodomites in San Francisco. He tells the story best, since it is his story, but in his late teens he had to take a cross-country bus trip to the west coast and surreptitiously figured out how he could route his trip so he'd have a layover of several hours in San Francisco. His parents, of course, were mortified.
Anyway, this nubile young fella from Virginia made it to Sodom and was very quickly approached by a young man in the bus station who began chatting him up and ended up inviting Chip back to his hotel room. Chip, of course, was very nervous and very excited, expecting that he'd finally get laid. When they got back to the guy's hotel, though, it turned out he was just a Moonie looking for converts.
Almost as good is Chip's story of the time his parents finally met his partner Stan, who is African-American. Again, he tells it best but it took place at a Cracker Barrel in northern Virginia in the early 1990's. Let's just say that Stan was a show-stopper.