Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Modern Day Pharisee

Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and bigwig of the religious right, died yesterday at the age of 73. I normally don't like to speak ill of the dead, but there's nothing good I can say about the man.

He used religion to divide, rather than to unite. His brand of Christianity served more to hurt, than to heal.

Originally against religious people getting involved in politics, he spoke out against those, such as Martin Luther King, who worked to eradicate racism in the 1960s. He changed his mind after the 1973 legalization of abortion, eventually founding the so-called "Moral Majority" in 1979.

In sharp contrast to the man he claimed to be a follower of, Jesus Christ, who stood with tax collectors, prostitutes, and others considered to be the "dregs" of first century society, Falwell often made derogatory comments about those he considered as sinners and losers. This mindset was made quite clear by a statement he made after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001:

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."
-- Rev Jerry Falwell

Jesus often chastised the Pharisees, who were the Religious Right of his time, for their hidebound obsession with law, petty rules, and regulations. Jerry Falwell was, in most senses of the word, a modern day Pharisee, who simply didn't get Jesus' simple message that to follow him was to love and care for others.


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