(paraphrase)It’s too bad there is no hell for him to go to now that he is dead
“Ugly little toad” “horrible little person” “evil old man” “Huckster” “Charlaton” “Bully” “Fraud” “(paraphrase) The man flys around in his jet giggling and snickering about what he is getting away with”
I am no fan of Jerry Falwell and I think Christopher Hitchens is a pompous ass.With that said there are times when it may be necessary to spit in a man’s face. I think these times are extremely rare and hopefully I am never have to be on either end, There is never a time to spit on a man’s grave. Hitchens is clever and sometimes humorous but he is a coward.
[quote author=“frankr”]I am no fan of Jerry Falwell and I think Christopher Hitchens is a pompous ass.With that said there are times when it may be necessary to spit in a man’s face. I think these times are extremely rare and hopefully I am never have to be on either end, There is never a time to spit on a man’s grave. Hitchens is clever and sometimes humorous but he is a coward.
I’d like to hear more from you on this subject, frankr. I’m not sure that it is fair to say that Hitchens is spitting on Falwell’s grave. Hitchens was asked for his opinion, isn’t it fair for him to give it? Any honest assessment of the man is going to yield an healthy dollop of criticism. And I think that Hitchens point that Falwell only got the kind of respect he did because he put the title ‘Reverend’ in front of his name is worthwhile to consider. Falwell did not and does not deserve the kind of respect that has been afforded to him.
And besides, aren’t there times to celebrate the death of an evil individual? Hitler? Stalin? Sure, Falwell was no Hitler (but give him the power . . .), I am just saying that there must be exceptions to your rule.
Hitchens could have said, I don’t like the man nor do I like what he stood for but I am not going to engage in sullying the reputuation of a dead man. He does not do this. He just goes on and on. He did the same thing with Mother Theresa. It is a sorry state of our culture that we endure and even applaud such action. When Achilles dragged Hector’s body around the the walls of Troy even the Greeks knew that such an action was wrong and Homer was making this point. It is a low point of a culture when we rejoice in the death of people with whom we disagree.
But the truth about Falwell needs to be spoken, at least at some point. It is disgusting and reprehensible to allow only those who wish to praise the man to have access to shaping public opinion. Hitchens silence wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors.
Is what Hitchens said false? Is it slander? Merely opinion? I don’t think so. Falwell was a charlatan and a fraud. I don’t think that is a matter of opinion. It is controversial only due to the undeserved respect that political figures and members of the media afford him.
Some of the name calling is over the top, I grant you that. But any honest judgment of Falwell necessitates words such as ‘charlatan’ and ‘fraud.’
The truth is the truth and the truth about Falwell is important for all to hear. It is rather shameful to refuse to speak it by hiding behind the airs of propriety.
At the end of his life falwell was a joke. He had become a caricature of himself. In the late seventies he had some power and the moral majority gave voice to a voiceless populace. Like I said I was never a big fan but again it is not necessary to drag a man through the mud after he is dead. It is a cheap shot. Did Hitchens add anything to the conversation? No he drew cheers from Falwell haters and jeers from Falwell supporters. He did not enlighten the viewer to any new truth about falwell. he took his cheap shots against a defenseless man. He is a coward.
Falwell was not a charlatan nor a fraud. He was sincere inhis belief. He may have been abrasive or crazy or wrong but he believed what he was saying. I am not here to praise him, I just think Hitchens took the low road.
In the ‘90s he produced a video alleging that President Clinton was the head of a massive criminal conspiracy.
From the Wikipedia entry on Falwell:
Falwell’s infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell interviewing a silhouetted fake journalist who claimed to be afraid for his life. The “journalist” accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to his illegalities. However, it was subsequently revealed that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of Citizens for Honest Government. “Obviously, I’m not an investigative reporter,” Matrisciana admitted [to investigative journalist Murray Waas], “and I doubt our lives were actually ever in any real danger. That was Jerry’s idea to do that ... He thought that would be dramatic.”
In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President, Falwell admitted, “to this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles.”
That is fraud.
He also used the title, Doctor, though he earned no doctorate degree. That is fraud. Sure, he was “granted” and honorary doctorate. But honorary doctorates are not real. And nobody with an honorary doctorate should use the title. That he did is evidence that he was trying to impress the ignorant with the airs of authority.
Furthermore, it is pretty much impossible for an educated person to believe what Falwell claimed that he believed. It is impossible to believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. IMPOSSIBLE. You know that frankr, and I suspect Falwell did as well.
I do believe that the Bible is the word of God. I do not know what you mean by literal but I do believe that scripture is God’s word. I do not know about Falwell’s hijinks. I am not surprised by them. He has said some outrageous things in his day. I said I was not a fan. When I said that he was not a fraud or charlatan I was speaking in view of his beliefs. I do believe that he was sincere in his beliefs.
[quote author=“frankr”]I do believe that the Bible is the word of God. I do not know what you mean by literal but I do believe that scripture is God’s word.
I know that you believe that the Bible is the word of God. But you also recognize that some things in the Bible are NOT literally God’s word. Exodus 21:20 is NOT something that God spoke, even though the text itself is sacred. Isn’t that right?
Falwell believed that the entire thing was spoken by God (into the ear of Moses, or something like that). He rejected the documentary hypothesis, he rejected the Catholic Church’s acceptance of evolution, and he believed that the Bible is inerrant. I take it that you disagree with him on almost all of this. And you do because you are educated and you know that evolution is true and you know that it is possible to believe that the creation story is not literally true (i.e., Eve was not literally formed from Adam’s rib) and still believe that it is the word of God.
My point is that Falwell was not a stupid man. He could not have made it through life without coming into contact with the very real and significant evidence that Biblical Literalism is untenable. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe he was exceptionally dull and incurious. But, if he was aware of the failures of the theology he preached, then he was most definitely a fraud.
I just wanted to make the distinction that there is a literal belief in the Bible being and belief that the Bible is literal. I can say it is the literal word of God and the authors were divinely inspired.
As to evolution. Scientifically, I have problem with the theory as currently construed. I do not posit an alternative but I do not accept it as I would the theory of magnetic fields or gravity. The Catholic Church does not take a stand on evolutionary science but I am sure that She (the church) will see incompatibility issues with evolutionary philosophy and as the sole means of creation. God may have created the universe slowly but the Church will not deny that He did it.
From the Catholic Answers website, catholic.com (frankr, tell me if this site does not meet with your approval):
Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.
Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.
I was a bit too strong earlier. The Church does not accept that evolution is true, but they do allow for the possibility that we evolved. Falwell allowed no such possibility. He preached that the Bible was inerrant and literal. Thus, for him, Homo sapiens began with Adam and Eve, and they had no antecedents.
Catholics disagree (because they are educated and are not interested only in lining their pocketbooks):
The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390).
Falwell had no use for “figurative language.” You can’t rule a MORAL MAJORITY (composed of the ignorant who believe themselves to be in possession of DIVINE TRUTH and to be combating the forces of evil) and speak of “figurative language.” That’s too wishy-washy.
Frankf, what is your specific objection to evolution? Your post sounded vague on that point.
As I see it, the chief difference between Genesis and evolution is that the first is “because God said so” while the second is most definitely NOT “because Darwin said so.” Darwin and his successors observed the natural world and made conclusions based on their observations. What I get from Biblical literalism is that I’m expected to take someone else’s word for it, rejecting any contradictory evidence that I might observe. In fact, I’m threatened with hell if I question that word.
I see no reason for any religious doctrine to make any claims about the natural world.
My problems with the science of evolution are scientific not religious. I am not denying the possibility of evolution, I just find it problematic. Specifically in that is accpeted blindly and with little scrutiny and all alternative views are crushed with personal attacks and circular reasoning. I have problems with punctuated equilibrium. It seems to be based on a lack of evidence of Darwinism. I have problems that evolution is used to explain everything from laughter to morning sickness. All one needs to do is to write the story. Waltercat wrote earlier about how Falwell is a fraud for his Bill Clinton hoax. Well what about the peppered moth hoax. It still lives in the science books even after long being disproved as a fraudulent experiment. Like I said I have problems with the theory. Especially when people use it to explain everything.
Waltercat I have no problem with what the web site said. I just am careful in choosing my words. I do think the Bible inerrant and true but I am not a young earther nor do I think that Jonah spent three days in the belly of a large fish nor do I think it was the point of the story.