God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: The Passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell

posted by gp_intern

I was saddened to learn that Rev. Jerry Falwell passed away this morning at age 73. Rev. Falwell and I met many times over the years, as the media often paired us as debate partners on issues of faith and politics. I respected his passionate commitment to his beliefs, and our shared commitment to bringing moral debate to the public square, although we didn’t agree on many things. At this time, however, what matters most is our prayers for comfort and peace for his family and friends.



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Austin

posted May 16, 2007 at 1:00 am


Classy comment by Jim. I’m mirror his sentiments.



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Jim Booth

posted May 16, 2007 at 1:27 am


America certainly has been impacted by the words and passion of Rev. Falwell. Positive or negative-history will decide and the Gospels can be a guide to discern. Regretfully, growing up through the late 80s and 90s, with regard to the “birth” of the religious right, I can’t see that the message of Christ Jesus was demonstrated by Jerry Falwell. There certainly is legalism and theocracy in his legacy, but the passion my Lord had for the poor, the hurting, and the outcast (what Jesus said the world should see in us as Christians) was not seen and is not seen in the message of Falwell or others in the religious right.



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Matthew Neugebauer

posted May 16, 2007 at 2:16 am


RIP Mr. Falwell-we’ll see him again may the common ground of the cross unite us all, and may we find that common ground on which to unite.



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Payshun

posted May 16, 2007 at 2:54 am


May you find rest from your struggles Mr. Falwell. p



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Jamie Bowers

posted May 16, 2007 at 3:52 am


Well said Matthew Neugebauer, well said.



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Wayne

posted May 16, 2007 at 3:59 am


We must all endure our going hence. My prayers are with his family and friends.



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Cads

posted May 16, 2007 at 3:59 am


If George W. was to die, perhaps even he would receive some kind words from Sojourners. Please. Insincere words are worse than no words at all.



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Austin

posted May 16, 2007 at 4:20 am


Call me daft, but I fail to see the insincerity in Wallis’ words. Saying that “Wallis and Falwell disagreed a lot, so when Wallis says nice words about Falwell in a sad time like this those words are insincere” is in my eyes like saying “those who criticize America should move out”. On the contrary, I think that the dialog between Falwell and his crew and Wallis and his crew is a very positive thing, when kept respectful and impersonal (as it has–for the most part). Death is never a good thing, and no Christan should rejoice in the loss of a life, no matter how much they disagreed with that person when they were alive. I see Wallis’ words as a confirmation of this. They seemed very sincere to me.



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Jeremy

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:02 am


Very classy Jim, your comments stand in stark contrast to much of the vitrol I have seen on other sites from those who are almost gleeful at Jerry’s passing. I disagreed with quite a bit that Jerry said and stood for, but he was human after all and should be respected as such. I pray God’s mercies upon him, that God’s grace might be abundant. I also pray for his family as they mourn and are left to hold their husband’s/father’s legacy.



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Jeremy

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:06 am


If George W. was to die, perhaps even he would receive some kind words from Sojourners. Please. Insincere words are worse than no words at all. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t. If Jim would have attacked Falwell’s reputation you’d have been mad at his insensitivity, but he speaks kind words of healing and you call him insincere…Why don’t you cut Wallis a little slack, before you start judging his words as insincere, because personally I doubt you are the one who is the ulitmate judge of such things.



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Brent Hardaway

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:42 am


>There certainly is legalism and >theocracy in his legacy, but the >passion my Lord had for the poor, >the hurting, and the outcast (what >Jesus said the world should see in >us as Christians) was not seen and >is not seen in the message of >Falwell or others in the religious >right. So what about the recovery programs that his minstry ran, and his home for unwed mothers? You don’t see it because you don’t want to see it.Poverty would nearly be elimiated if it were not for out of wedlock births. The message of sexual morality shows a lot more compassion than simply rehashing failed government programs.



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Catus Magnus

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:46 am


Falwell was a good man. Not perfect – who is? – but a good one. Nothing like the caricatures you read of him. Some folks really, really hated him.



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canucklehead

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:47 am


“If George W. was to die, perhaps even he would receive some kind words from Sojourners. Please. Insincere words are worse than no words at all.” Cads I think it’s really sad that even at a time of grief when we should all stand on the humbling, common ground of our mortality, some still find it necessary to spout paranoia.



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squeaky

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:01 am


Thanks, Canucklehead and most of the others here who have left sensitive comments. To everyone else, can we please leave the politics aside on a thread intended to honor the life of a man of God?



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Amazon Creek

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:10 am


I hate to see people arguing when someone has died.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:28 am


Poverty would nearly be elimiated if it were not for out of wedlock births. The message of sexual morality shows a lot more compassion than simply rehashing failed government programs. It doesn’t work like that. Poverty and hopelessness, on the other hand, contribute to that, and unfortunately the “religious right” had and has no real solution — their diaconal efforts apply only Band-Aids where radical surgery is often required.



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HASH(0x1169199c)

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:39 am


Rick, a man is dead. Can you get off your anti-religious right high horse for a day? An hour?



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:43 am


Can you get off your anti-religious right high horse for a day? An hour? When his, and its, actions and attitudes have severely compromised the Gospel? Why?



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Sarasotakid

posted May 16, 2007 at 12:54 pm


Jerry Falwell had a mixed record like all of us. May he rest in peace.



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HD Palmer

posted May 16, 2007 at 1:58 pm


Falwell didn not speak for my Christian beliefs. I hope that he can finally find peace within his soul.



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moderatelad

posted May 16, 2007 at 2:41 pm


I for one am not surprised at the comments about Fawell on this site. I for one will celebrate the life of one who impacted our world and had such a heart for the lost. I believe that God raises up people and organizations when they are needed. (to everything there is a season…) I enjoy the diversity of my faith in Christ. We do agree on more of the important issues of Christianity. Fawell did more good than some are willing to agree to and that is OK we are all intitled to our opinions and convictions. Jerry now knows something that we do not know – what Heaven is like. To quote the old hymn “We wait for a great and glorious day…” Peace be to the memory of a great person. Blessings on the family, Thomas Road Church and Liberty University. Later – . (I do find it interesting that Sojo has one paragraph about someone like Fawell and can put together 5 or 6 paragraphs about Anna N. Smith – tee hee)



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Jennifer

posted May 16, 2007 at 2:45 pm


Dear friends, you all are a passsionate bunch! I do not know much about Jerry Falwell, only the moral majority he became a symbol for, the beliefs of which I’ve spent a good deal of time disentangling myself from. No one knows the mind of God or how He will judge a man, but it does sound like a lot of people loved Mr. Falwell, and God surely did, and that matters. I just heard on NPR that he’d told his congregation he was at peace with death. Praise God.I’ve found in Sojourners some good guidelines and avenues for walking out Christ’s influence in my life… one that values differences in opinion and dialogue. Thanks Jim, for setting such a good example of love and acceptance for every messed up person out there. That is like Christ. I hope it sets the tone for the future of faith and politics.



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nad2

posted May 16, 2007 at 3:48 pm


i thought howard fineman of newsweek wrote an apt reflection on the life of falwell. it is here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18682757/site/newsweek/



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 16, 2007 at 4:08 pm


We do agree on more of the important issues of Christianity. Falwell did more good than some are willing to agree to and that is OK we are all intitled to our opinions and convictions. Jerry now knows something that we do not know – what Heaven is like. To quote the old hymn “We wait for a great and glorious day…” That’s not the problem. Falwell helped to create the divisions we see today in the church. In 2004 he insulted Wallis by calling him “as evangelical as an oak tree.” That kind of comment was commonplace with him but has no role in legitimate debate. Even Cal Thomas, his former lieutenant, questioned the whole enterprise about 10 years ago.



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Jk

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:19 pm


I disagree with much of what Jerry Falwell stood for. However, he was responsible for getting Christians off their butts and involved. I for one found his politics wanting, but it was because of Falwell and the Moral Majority that I began considering what my faith means politically. I’m sure there are many Christians, both supporters and detractors, who can say the same thing (whether they will admit it or not). And those of you who continue to hate the man, you better come to peace with him, you will be hanging wih him for eternity. hehehe



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Tom

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:21 pm


As my wife & I were discussing some of the incredibly negative comments we’d heard RE: Jerry Falwell’s death (some equating him to Fred Phelps!) I wondered what Jim Wallis would say. My wife said, “he’ll be kind.” She was quite right. Well said, Jim!



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Julie

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Those of us who are queer don’t find it quite so easy or convenient to be “polite” or gracious. Jim Wallis can use his position of enormous white, straight guy privilege to be polite if he wishes. He was not Falwell’s target of choice. Had Falwell commented on Jews and Blacks as he did about queers, his ministry would have very rightly been called into question.Instead, I see here a need to whitewash the man post mortem. Hate is hate is hate and those of you with privilege need to recognise that. I don’t care if Falwell rests in peace, as that’s up to God or karma to decide. I do know that some of us queers are very literally resting in greater peace and security because of his death.Death happens to us all so I am not going to engage in false mourning here. Rather, I will mourn the tremendous damage this man did. No amount of self serving charitable good works will change that. What a lost opportunity his “ministry” was.Julie, Toronto



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HASH(0x11657a44)

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:40 pm


Jerry Falwell’s legacy:I do not believe that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew. 1980 In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was an outspoken supporter of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. When president PW Botha was elected President by the White South African minority, Reverend Falwell went to South Africa and made statements supporting the government there and urging American Christians to buy Krugerrands, a coin issued by the South African Government. He drew the ire of many when he called Nobel Peace Prize winner and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu a phony.The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees. 1987 “I listen to feminists and all these radical gals … These women just need a man in the house. That’s all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it, and they’re mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They’re sexist. They hate men; that’s their problem.” 1989 The Internal Revenue Service determines that funds from Falwell s Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour s tax-exempt status for 1986-87. 1993We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours. 1993 Falwell is criticized for using his Old Time Gospel Hour to hawk a scurrilous video called The Clinton Chronicles that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton among them that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest Government (CHG). CHG s Pat Matrisciana later admitted that Falwell and he staged an infomercial interview promoting the video in which a silhouetted reporter said his life was in danger for investigating Clinton. (Matrisciana himself posed as the reporter.) That was Jerry s idea to do that, Matrisciana recalled. He thought that would be dramatic. 1994 Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University s financial woes. 1997I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be! 1998 The Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and of course he ll be Jewish. 1999 Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a parents alert warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children s show Teletubbies, might be gay. 1999 “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.”The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this [9/11] 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. 2001 Falwell labeled the National Organization for Women (NOW) the “National Order of Witches.” 2004 “[T]here’s some great and godly men and women in the Congress, but for every one of them, there’s a Hillary Clinton … [and] a Nancy Pelosi” 2006 On CNN, Falwell declared Foley scandal “minuscule in comparison” to having “lived through Bill Clinton”. 2006 “In Middle East conflict, other crises, conservative media find signs of Biblical prophecy of Armageddon.” 2006 Falwell dismisses scientific evidence on global warming, evangelical efforts to address issue and describes global warming as a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan, liberals, and The Weather Channel. 2007 If the afterlife is anything like what Falwell describes, he’s in for a rude awakening. .



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Kate

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:41 pm


It’s very hard to feel anything but relief at his passing. So much of his vitrol was aimed at scapegoating homosexuals as the cause for American’s problems. His “passionate commitment to his beliefs” sanctioned violence and hatred. The media’s adoration of his outrageous statements has done little to portray the Christ who preached ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’.



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John Montgomery

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:49 pm


History will finally place this story in its proper context. Falwell must be held responsible for both his positive and negative contributions to the growth of the reign of God in the lives of so many. At moments like this it is somewhat heartening to remember that Peter and not Jerry holds the keys to heaven – Peter who knows in his depths what it means to betray the gospel and proclaim that gospel as well.



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splinterlog

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:54 pm


RIP Jerry Falwell!



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:05 pm


The vitrol and the comments from some on this site shows that you nor even reverend Falwell have quite learned that Christlikeness is the goal in our lives. Believe me if we were Christlike or if you were any different than what you are calling Mr Falwell you would not make any of the comments that have been made. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” A disciplined follower of Christ would not make those comments. Where is your discipline, where is your love for your neighbor. I think we will all be surprised by who is in heaven. The compassion of the God I know is limitless, his love unfathomable. I am certain that Abraham, Issac, and Jacob will all be there, and they all lied cheated and stole and God still loved them and he used them in an awesome way. We all have along way to go to understand the love of God.



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:07 pm


Well said John Montgmery!



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:14 pm


Splinterdog. :) Nice!



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Kathy

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Years ago my mother used to watch Jerry on Sunday Mornings. Several years ago I began to believe that if my mother, whom I regard as a true christian, were she still alive would have abhorred the message that Jerry began sending. Back then from the little I remember he was not as sanctimonious as he was in the later years. Back when he started The Moral Majority a local band called themselves The Morrell Majority as a poke at the former name and they played great music. That being said I send my condolences to his family but I sure as heck won’t miss him. I won’t miss Robertson, Dobson, Phelps or any of their ilk when they die but I will feel badly for their familes when they do die as they all will eventually. I will leave Falwell’s judgement to God.



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Kathy, It was all good until you said you would not miss Falwell and then Robertson and then Dobson and then Phelps. It is interesting how we humans are when we don’t agree. Anymore we can’t seem to agree to disagree we have to go for the jugular that one last time. What if we could take that sentiment out or our nature, what would we look like if we were unoffendalbe, what if we were unwilling to get angry at another human, what if we just had compassion for everyone. What if when they rejected us, or rejected our thoughts and they rejected what we had to say we could say prayerfully to our Father forgive them for they know not what they do. What if? Stop jsut long eough to and try imagine how the world would be different. How about just your own life to start with…then the world.



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 7:58 pm


David, what was it someone said…Examine the Heart…for from it flows the true chararacter of a man. Someone else said Crucify him too!



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K.Bitner

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:19 pm


“A disciplined follower of Christ would not make those comments. Where is your discipline, where is your love for your neighbor.” Let’s not assume here that everyone is Christian. I am one of those “Pagans” that this man blammed for 9/11. And since I believe that what goes around comes around (in other words-we reap what we sow), I’m not in the least surprised by the negative comments. He’s is simply getting back some of his own hate.



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Steven Riggs

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:24 pm


I pray his family and supporters peace, too. We agreed on some things like wanting abortion eliminated but our methods for doing so were different. I don’t think pointing fingers, shouting, and threatening have been the most effective techniques. He certainly got his Republicans elected and on the Supreme Court majority but they never followed through, either. Matter of fact, Roe vs. Wade was reaffirmed as legal in 1993 by a majority Republican appointed Court. I prefer promoting fatherhood, fighting poverty, and loving your neighbor approach. Mostly, the far-right finds that approach too complicated or involved. You got to hand it too him because he ran a very successful business using religion and politics. But, you can’t usher in the kingdom of God by promoting Republican candidates. Matter of fact that organization and those aligned have promoted candidates who are in prison for molesting children, convicted for tax evasion, fraud & embezzlement, drunken driving and maiming others, and various other crimes. But, the candidates all passed the litmus test of being against abortion and gays and pro family! With that, they put enormous resources into getting them votes against other Christians who happen to be Democrats or Independents. I still haven’t figured out just who is using who to gain power.



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Hali

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:27 pm


Jennifer wrote “No one knows the mind of God or how He will judge a man, but it does sound like a lot of people loved Mr. Falwell, and God surely did, and that matters.” Isn’t that a good way to respond, as Christians? Even Saddam Hussein was loved by God (who blogged about that?) Can’t we offer our love even to those whom we find difficult to love? Jerry Falwell was as beloved as every other human being, made in God’s image, and I pray for God’s gentle grace to be upon him. Love to you all.



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:29 pm


K Bitner No asssumption made, was just talking to those that are or claim to be. So…you believe in a saying that comes from the Bible. Interesting and I like that about you, and you could be right about Mr Falwell I guess. But if you were a Christian, then as your brother in Christ I would, should, or could hold you to a higher standard…but since your not a Christian (you said it not me) then I like the fact that we have common ground based on your belief in reaping and sowing. PS I dont blame you for 9/11. Mans inhumanity to man is Biblical too.



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K.Bitner

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:50 pm


Randy, Well, like most people here (probably), I was raised Christian. I’ve read the Bible, and there is a lot of good in it. I also find good in other faiths. I’ve known many wonderful, good and moral people of different religions (and some of no religion at all). You might say that I think that these good beliefs are Universal, rather than belonging to any one faith. If you check, most of the world’s relgions have a version of the Golden Rule, for example. And yes, I do try to hold onto that ideal, but it’s difficult sometimes, isn’t it?



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Cheri Elliott

posted May 16, 2007 at 8:52 pm


I am sorry, but I cannot mourn the death of a man that said that my son would be annihilated and there would be rejoicing in heaven. My son is a wonderful human being and I would rather have one of my son than a thousand Jerry Fallwells.



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kevin s.

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:04 pm


I can see both sides, here. I blogged my thoughts. Just click the link if interested…



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moderatelad

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:10 pm


K.Bitner | 05.16.07 – 2:55 pm | #Yes – there are wonderful moral people of other faiths and of no faith. But as I read the bible – being moral will not get you to heaven. I will say we Christians (and in many ways – evangelicals) have done a great job at complicating something so simple. When it states, ‘if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead – you shall be saved.’ I believe that there will be many in heaven that we do not know about, and several that will not be there. From what I can see Fawell and Wallis will both be there regardless of what some here think. I would pray that the few that seem to be on the other side of the fence from Wallis on several issues will not damn him like some have done for Fawell when the Almighty calls him to his reward. Blessings – .



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K.Bitner

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:21 pm


Moderatelad, “Yes – there are wonderful moral people of other faiths and of no faith. But as I read the bible – being moral will not get you to heaven.” Yes, this is what Christianity teaches. But, remember, I’m not Christian. My faith does not include the same afterlife that Christians believe in. Although we do believe that how we live affects us when we move on, it’s not the same at all.



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Carl Copas

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:22 pm


May God grant me the wherewithal to refrain from judging Jerry Falwell. kevin s, i appreciate your comments on the blog. May God grant comfort to Falwell’s family and friends.



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Randy G

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:34 pm


K Bitner, It is difficult sometimes. I have a christian friend, he is a missionary in Amsterdam, and he has a T shirt that says “Religion sucks try God” I would only add and his son Jesus Christ. As was said earlier as Christians we take Christ’s simple message and we really mess it up. He says to anyone to believe on him, pretty simple nodiscriminatory stuff, but then Christ said follow me and that means many things but especially not to condemn, judge or get angry with our brothers and so what do we see our leaders doing, condeming, judging and getting angry with everyone. When what we really need is believe on Him and then actually follow Him and do what Christ said love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Many of us get the belief part but many do not get the doing part. It is much more difficult to do than just believe. Maybe that is why James said faith without works is dead. But hey, belief will get you into heanven but it may not help “thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heanven.”



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FranR

posted May 16, 2007 at 10:10 pm


Jim- you respected Falwell’s passionate commitment to his beliefs? His beliefs in hatred? Division? Prejudice? Shoving people away from the table of the Lord rather than bringing them to it? And to bring debate to the public square? He seemingly had no interest in debate, simply in hate in derision.Unless at 49 I have missed something all these years. Jim I respectfully disagree and am seriously disappointed in your words here, which seem more suited to the GOP debate last night.



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moderatelad

posted May 16, 2007 at 10:12 pm


K.Bitner | 05.16.07 – 3:26 pm | #I am a big supporter of ‘faith’.I am a believer of the Christian Faith and a follower of Christ. There are other religions out there that teach morality and the ‘golden rule’ to their followers. These are religions that I would support their being able to practice their faith here in the US. (I do take exception to those how fly jets into buildings) Blessings on you! Later – .



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david

posted May 16, 2007 at 10:35 pm


I’ve seen comments of this nature – “God allows (_________) to rise…”, as if to suggest that this is the foreordained will of God. God allows humans free will and reason in order to see through the deceptions of the likes of Fallwells, Hitlers, and every other power-hungry antichrist hatemonger. God let’s us stand against such, and when we don’t, history has shown that people die. Of course, as long as those who are deemed undesirable are not “us”, and the persecution can be justified by selective use of scripture so we can feel righteous about it – why should we care? Will of God, and all that. Most of the folks on this blog are white, heterosexual, and male. You have never for a moment been on the receiving end of the vitriol spewed by the likes of Fallwell, Robertson, Dobson – and let us not forget the petty tyrant Fred Phelps – any of you ever been picketed by him or his crowd, or had your friend’s funeral picketed by him? Falwell was no different from him – just more politically savvy. Thanks to Anonymous for laying out the record. I hope some of you will take the time to research the real work that this lion of God did in the world. There is no forgiveness for him in my heart – I leave that to God. I’m merely a cheap imitation of Christ with a mustard-seed of faith and i lay no claim to being as “spiritually advanced” as Rani G, moderatelad, and some of the rest of you. (i guess i should thank all of you for not picking at the mote in my eye or judging me…) p.s. spare me the platitudes for his family – they prosper off the largess of his wicked hatemongering.



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Mark Gordon

posted May 16, 2007 at 10:57 pm


It’s great to see what’s really in the hearts of “Red Letter Christians.” They indict the “hater” and the “bigot” with words of hatred and bigotry and never even blink at the inconsistency. Can’t any of the oh-so-compassionate, oh-so-tolerant haters here see that you are no different from Falwell, and that you’ll answer for precisely the same sins of which accuse him? No, you can’t see it because like Jerry you’re too convinced of your own righteousness. One thing this proves to me, your brother in Christ, is that the “religious left”, like the left generally, has no substance beyond hate, resentment, and anger.



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Randy G

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:19 am


David, Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on Falwell and what you beleive on what God allows. I am not sure I would put him in a class with Hitler but okay. I do not pretend to intimately know his actons like you seem to nor did I now his heart but you are right God will judge his actions, his thoughts, and every idle word he spoke, and so on and that is good enough for me. David as a Christian are you/we called to forgive those that have somehow wronged you/us? Are you/we called to love your neighbor? Are you/we called to love our enemies? Check out the sermon on the mount and see what it says about condemnation and anger, they just wreak havoc in our society. You are not a cheap imitation of Christ…you are a child of the most high God and he makes no cheap imitations. We may create cheap imitations but He does not. The work of “this Lion of God” is not the issue. The real issue is the work of the Lions of God that remain. Are you a lion or otherwise? If you took a stand for something are you absolutley sure that it would be the right stand, in the right way, with the right motives and the right candidates and that you would not be tempted in any way to lean one way or the other by money or power or whatever else. If you are then I praise God for you. Honestly I am not sure I am their yet. Sincerely, Heterosexual white male with Metrosexual tendencies accoridng to my wife.



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squeaky

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:44 am


David–all I can say is I am sorry for all the pain the Religious Right has caused you. I do hope you can find it within yourself to turn the other cheek, but I won’t judge you if that isn’t where you are in your journey at this time. May God bring His healing to your life. You are a loved child of Him.



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nad2

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:52 am


mark gordon, you paint with a broad brush where you probably should not even be painting. if you look at what jim wallis said, as well as what the regular religious lefties of this spot have said, there is no hate, resentment, or anger (though i don’t know that anger in the face of bigotry, going w/ your thoughts here, is an altogether inappropriate response). just because folks have posted here, and specifically been critical of falwell, that does not make them religious lefties and especially not spokesmen for the rest of us, nor does being critical of falwell make someone hateful or a bigot. it seems to me that you have done in your post exactly what you are accusing others of doing.



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Kevin Wayne

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:56 am


I sincerely hope Fallwell repented of his lying against Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. For the former, check Carter’s published memoirs for the ex-president’s statement that Jerry Fallwell concocted a nonexisitant conversation the two of them supposedly had on homosexuality. Was totally fictiional, never happened. For Clinton, look up the Wikipedia article and scroll down to Falwell’s fictional video “The Clinton Chronicles.” An investigative reporter has exposed how Falwell engineered the whole Vince Foster conspicracy theory.



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God's Politics Moderator

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:57 am


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Mark Gordon

posted May 17, 2007 at 1:16 am


nad2, Nice try. I suppose I could perpetuate your circular, self-deceptive logic, but why bother? The fact is that I’m here on the cornerstone site of the “Red Letter Christian” movement, reading comments on a post by the leader of that movement. You may know precisely who is and who is not a bona fide “religious leftie,” but I don’t. All I know is what I read, and what I’ve read is hateful, angry, and resentful. I don’t doubt the sincerity of Jim Wallis, but it must be illuminating to him that many of his acolytes exhibit no more Christian charity than those commenting at places like Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. In a strange way, I can understand the vitriol on those sites, but you folks, like Falwell, self-righteously presume to speak for Christ. So be it. Your words condemn you.



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nad2

posted May 17, 2007 at 1:38 am


‘but you folks’ what is this ‘you folks?’ gay, straight, fundamentalists, athiests, progressives, conservatives, you name it post here. it is a place that sparks conversations that many people want to join, not just religious lefties. hell, you are here posting, are you a ‘red letter christian?’



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 17, 2007 at 1:58 am


It’s great to see what’s really in the hearts of “Red Letter Christians.” They indict the “hater” and the “bigot” with words of hatred and bigotry and never even blink at the inconsistency. Can’t any of the oh-so-compassionate, oh-so-tolerant haters here see that you are no different from Falwell, and that you’ll answer for precisely the same sins of which accuse him? No, you can’t see it because like Jerry you’re too convinced of your own righteousness. One thing this proves to me, your brother in Christ, is that the “religious left”, like the left generally, has no substance beyond hate, resentment, and anger. We disagree. As others have said on this thread, some of us have been marginalized by Falwell and the like, having even our salvation doubted because we don’t march in lock-step to their beat. Jim Wallis himself has felt those arrows, one insult I’ve already mentioned a couple of times. Furthermore, we don’t believe that the Christian faith supports the establishment of an economic and political elite, which the “religious right” tried to push from day one.



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Hali

posted May 17, 2007 at 2:37 am


david wrote, “Most of the folks on this blog are white, heterosexual, and male.” I’m one out of three… “You have never for a moment been on the receiving end of the vitriol spewed by the likes of Fallwell, Robertson, Dobson” Well, yes, actually. I’m a liberal AND a scientist. ” – and let us not forget the petty tyrant Fred Phelps – any of you ever been picketed by him or his crowd, or had your friend’s funeral picketed by him?” His crowd… there is a similar group in Orange County that used to come and harass AIDS Walk every year. We would sing hymns extra loud as we passed them :) This year they were absent (we switched venues). And Rick Warren’s church was present. So we ARE making progress…”Falwell was no different from him – just more politically savvy.” I prayed for Saddam Hussein’s soul, I prayed for Jerry Falwell’s soul, and I will pray for Fred Phelps’s soul. Please pray for mine :) Peace.



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 17, 2007 at 3:25 am


I have always found times of death to be profoundly illuminating. From my first funeral service as a little boy when my young cousin died from the flu; to the most recent that was for my wife. I am so thankful for a God who seems so patient and able to deal with all of my mess. Thank you, Hali, for the kindness of your posts. I have paused in prayer for you and each who comment here. I pray we each respond to the loving invitations of God this day. I pray we experience more and more a God who loves to say “Yes” to everyone who has been told, “No.”



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Sarasotakid

posted May 17, 2007 at 4:17 am


Regardless of Falwell’s record, which I would agree is deplorable when it comes to gays, apartheid and other issues, what I found really despicable was how Dobson could go on Larry King Live and basically say that he had never heard an uncharitable word come from Jerry Falwell’s mouth. Either Dobson was deaf or he was a liar. From everything I saw on television, Dobson had pretty good hearing. About as disingenuous as it gets!



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squeaky

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:10 am


Maybe Dobson didn’t view them as uncharitable because he agreed with them…to some his words were hateful, to others they were a call to arms. I have to say I wish Falwell had discovered God’s grace towards those he feared so much. Mark Gordon–I think you said you haven’t been here much. I have been here quite a bit, and I can tell you that most of the more vitriolic posts are coming from people whose monikers I don’t recognize. I don’t think it is fair to judge this blog based on one thread, especially considering the death of Falwell probably sent his detractors seeking out any Christian blog that might give him any charity whatsoever in an attempt to set the record straight as they see it. I don’t like the negativity posted here, either, but it isn’t posted by the regulars. And I guess it is always good to learn how others perceive Christianity. Another thing about Falwell–like him or hate him, it is clear he caused a lot of pain–I think David’s posts make that plain. I don’t see the sense of arguing about his legacy–are there good aspects of it? Are there negative aspects? Yes to both, and a stronger yes depending on your perspective. What I think the healthier response to David and others like him who have suffered under the prejudice of religion is to offer the love of Christ, no strings attached. Hali and others here are right, though, in that we best not turn into the judgemental people we rail against. We need to truly believe that Jesus died for all and treat them the way He would, regardless of their beliefs. Reading the comments here and the far more negative comments at other blogs, I have had to really look inside myself and my own feelings about the man, which I admit are largely negative. Many here (both those with negative and positive things to say) have helped me realize this is not a Christlike attitude, and I thank you all for helping me with that.



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canucklehead

posted May 17, 2007 at 7:02 am


“If the Almighty did not want a Fawell to rise to prominence – he would not have…” mod lad Yowsir, M-L. Would you say the same about Hadrian, Nero, Hitler, Saddam, Winnie the Pooh, to name a few? I’m afraid my understanding of the sovereignty of God balks a bit at this notion, if so.



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Payshun

posted May 17, 2007 at 8:59 am


Even though I have found Falwell to be a fool I still believe the man was also a son of God. As one fool to another I can’t be too judgemental of Falwell because God knows I do stupid stuff all the time. I really want to see us as christians to learn to respect the differences btwn us as believers. I am a contemplative and despite my deep issues w/ evangelicalism I don’t stop to think that all evangelicals are bad. I think we need more of that if we are going to honor our more conservative brothers like Falwell. p



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Sarasotakid

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:15 pm


Hey Cancuklehead, that reference to Winnie the Pooh was really about Karl Rove, right?



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radical jonny

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm


The damage done by Jerry Falwell both to America and to the Gospel he purported to preach is almost incalculable. R.I.P Rev. Falwell; I am glad that you are now silent



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FranR

posted May 17, 2007 at 2:47 pm


I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I must add this… Falwell’s words. Forget abortion, forget homosexuality or any sexuality, forget his recordings of songs like “The monkey song”(I am not kin to a monkey) or “The Ecumenical Song” (beware Buddhists, Jews and Catholics!)… What about Falwell on race???? “If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made,” Falwell boomed from above his congregation in Lynchburg. “The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.”



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Wendy Rambo Shuford

posted May 17, 2007 at 3:18 pm


I often thought that Jerry Falwell’s views were narrow and even hurtful or dangerous yet I realised when I heard of his death yesterday I mostly thought about his suffering and prayed that he died without much pain.As usual,Jim Wallis says it well!!



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 17, 2007 at 4:22 pm


Many here (both those with negative and positive things to say) have helped me realize this is not a Christlike attitude, and I thank you all for helping me with that. Well, Jesus was not necessarily “warm and fuzzy” toward those he knew were wrong, especially the “religious establishment” of that day — in fact, many times he jumped down their collective throats. I personally have been very passionate about that consistently on this blog, to a point where the conservatives who frequent it probably think I’m a total jerk, but that’s OK because sometimes confrontation is necessary. While I would have accepted Falwell as a brother in Christ, had I ever gotten to know him I would have told him why his culture war crusade was actually sabotaging the message of the Gospel.



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 17, 2007 at 4:58 pm


Mr. Rick–Do you believe any commenters have attempted to ‘confront you in love?’



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 17, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Do you believe any commenters have attempted to ‘confront you in love?’ Here, very few, if any. Most of my critics here get upset because I have said that they’re wrong, some insisting that I “don’t understand” their views, even though I certainly do. But that happens when you live in a hermetically-sealed world where anyone who comes from a different viewpoint is immediately considered suspect, which Falwell did.



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:01 pm


Maybe there are three Jerry Falwells. The real Jerry Falwell. The JF he presented to the public. and the JF promoted by the media. I have a sneaky suspicion that the JF who caused the most pain was the JF promoted by the media and used by politicians.Does anyone else find it astounding how many powerful parties there are that have more interest in us arguing and jabbing at each other, rather than facilitating the public good. Clergy, with ‘big pulpits’ also have a big job in my book to be makers of peace, justice, and shalom. I believe those who speak much must listen much. My natural sentiments are to give JF the benefit of the doubt. But clergy with Big Pulpits have big responsibility (as do other cultural voices with a lot of volume). Further, when Clergy choose to use the mass communication mediums and political organization as ways to increase their volume their responsibility is pushed up higher. What I tend to see in politicians, media figures and clergy with whom I disagree is not a big fight over issues–but a failure to accept and steward their core responsibilites. So if a big voice like JF says I love gay persons but hate sexual intimacy outside of male-female marriage–but persons do not perceive that love–than what is the point of the Big Pulpit? When someone looks at us in the face, with tears running down their cheeks, their voice trembling, and says “What you are doing hurts me.” It just does not work to say that I did not mean to hurt; or I love you; or that they should not hurt. It does not necessarily mean we must alter our behavior–but we better pause, open our ears and hearts, and be open to a radical change.I think JF organized to increase the volume of the ‘moral majority’ to try to shout down competing cultural forces through the dominant cultural mediums (politics and media and education); rather than fleshing out the Gospel in creative/transformative ways within these mediums. If I misuse my voice or my hand with my 4-year-old I can cause profound hurt. I can find all manner of excuses. I am not seeking to be snide. I genuinely belive 90 % of what is said from pulpits, editorial pages, talk radio, the floor of the US Senate, etc. is not useful or glorifying to God. “Oh be careful little hands what you do….Oh be careful little tongue what you say.”



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canucklehead

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:10 pm


“Hey Cancuklehead, that reference to Winnie the Pooh was really about Karl Rove, right?” Sarasotakid | 05.17.07 – 6:20 am | #Or Paul Wolfowitz or Gonzales – this morning on CBC talking about Wolfowitz’s reluctance to resign at World Bank, they asked, “do any of the Washington neo-cons have an exit strategy?”



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:29 pm


When someone looks at us in the face, with tears running down their cheeks, their voice trembling, and says “What you are doing hurts me.” It just does not work to say that I did not mean to hurt; or I love you; or that they should not hurt. It does not necessarily mean we must alter our behavior — but we better pause, open our ears and hearts, and be open to a radical change. That cannot happen, however, without relationship, agape. It is so easy to look at those people, the ones who are over there, as the ones who need to be eliminated; you can raise a ton of money by identifying targets and then taking them out. You see, many of the culture warriors don’t see those tears, so focused are they on their agendas. And it is also why moral values, though necessary, have very little do to with the Gospel. God calls us as Christians to be reconciled to Him through the cross of Christ; in turn, He expects us to be reconciled with each other. If both aspects are not being preached and lived out it’s not the Gospel, just an incomplete version of it.



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Don

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm


canucklehead: Yeah, and I can’t believe how Wolfie is trying to pass some of the blame on the World Bank leadership. What chutzpah! BTW, canucklehead, on an unrelated topic that we’ve discussed before, you might be interested in this: http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/05/17/tedorder.ART_ART_05-17-07_A1_576O9CD.html Peace,



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Don

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:40 pm


I heard Rev. Falwell speak once. This was back when the MM was in its early years and Falwell was just beginning to take on flak from secularists. He spoke at a group of local Baptists in northwest Ohio, and my wife and I decided to attend. We went away with a positive impression. But I was probably closer to being a fundamentalist myself at the time. I don’t know if I would have a similar reaction to the same speech today. During the years since, I too have been disappointed with many of the things he has said, and the way he has said them. He certainly presented a contradictory image and caused a lot of pain to many people. But then again, aren’t we all sometimes guilty of these things ourselves? And I think it’s way too early to know what he ultimately will be best remembered for. Peace,



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Don

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Kevin S,: I liked the comments you posted on your blog. It seems you capured the contradictory nature of Falwell’s public persona very well. Thanks!



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 17, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Rick Does the Gospel help us to listen and hear? I absolutely agree with your last comment. The walk of reconciliation demands relationship and exercise of agape. Our obedience to the command of love results in our understanding of love and the wisdom to love.



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Annie (UK)

posted May 17, 2007 at 9:08 pm


From a UK perspective Jerry Falwell seemed to personify all that was embaressing about American evangelicals……..racism, religious intolerance, fundamentalism, very crude and unpleasant right wing politics, etc etc . Only God can judge whether any of his life was worthy or not. Many revere the memory of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther yet his anti-semitism and antagonism towards the Anabaptists and Mennonites may have Fed into the German Protestant Church’s support of Hitler in the 20th Century.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 17, 2007 at 9:16 pm


Does the Gospel help us to listen and hear? It better — not only should we be more in tune with God but also with His creation, which also means His people.



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Canucklehead

posted May 18, 2007 at 3:54 am


I’ve sure learned a lot from reading the various threads on the passing of JF. One thing that intrigues me is that we in Canada really don’t have the kind of celebrity cults that you do in the States. It’s often said that’s b/c we make too much fun of our successes to allow them to get swelled heads. You will note that many of the Canadians who make it big in Hollywood are comedy guys like Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Dan Akroyd and Benny Hinn – all (okay, Benny didn’t, we don’t know what happened to him, some say his brain unfroze too quickly when he moved to Florida)who got their starts in poking fun at Cdn politicians. Btw, Don, thx for that info on the d’vpments in Ohio w/ respect to sexual orientation. How are people in the state that “handed Bush the 04 election” feeling about that?



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Don

posted May 18, 2007 at 4:11 am


Canucklehead: I don’t know exactly. I suppose Ohioans will have various opinions. Those opposed will protest loudly; most everyone else will think it’s a good thing, whether they say anything or not. I’m sure here in Columbus, many folks will be pleased. But I thought the most interesting thing mentioned in the article was the proposal in the federal Congress to make sexual orientation a protected category for employment anti-discrimination law. That would make it illegal in all states, not just those that have passed their own anti-discrimination laws. I’ll try to keep you posted as I learn more. Later,



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canucklehead

posted May 18, 2007 at 8:35 am


Thx much.



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HASH(0x116de0a4)

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:11 pm


There is no such thing as a Gay Christian. J. Duane Beals



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