God's Politics

God's Politics


Ryan Rodrick Beiler: Falwell Commentary Round-Up

posted by gp_intern

Since Tuesday’s news of the sudden passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell, there has been no shortage of commentaries on his life and legacy. Here are a few examples from across the political spectrum that I’ve found interesting and helpful as I’ve reflected on such a controversial and influential religious figure:

From Rev. Jennifer Butler of Faith in Public Life:

With his passing, one of the landmarks of the American religious landscape has passed as well; our discourse on religion and public life is sure to be impacted in ways we cannot yet fully imagine.

From Rod Dreher, Crunchy Con:

[N]obody can deny the significance of Falwell to U.S. politics. Christian conservatives like me may not have liked Falwell’s style much of the time, or some of the causes he championed. … His passing today is not only the passing of a man, but the passing of an era. The next generation of engaged Evangelical pastors aren’t like him and his generation. I’m generalizing, of course, but they are conservative, but not so partisan, and not as eager to cast their lot with the GOP. And they care about bringing their Christian faith to bear on a wider range of issues than that which galvanized the Falwell generation.

Ralph Reed, on National Review Online:

Falwell’s liberal critics saw him only through the prism of secularism, and so they never grasped what a groundbreaking progressive he was within fundamentalism. He insisted that the Moral Majority work with Catholics, Jews, charismatic Protestants, and Mormons, who were anathema to some of his fundamentalist colleagues. But this break with the separatist, isolationist past of fundamentalism was critical to building cooperation across denominational and doctrinal lines in the pro-family movement. It is one of his most significant and lasting achievements. … When he founded the Moral Majority in 1979, he awakened the slumbering giant of the evangelical vote. The marriage of that vote to an ascendant, confident Republican party is among the most important political demographic changes of the last century.

Fred Barnes, on Fox’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

[H]e spurred one of the most important transformations of modern times and basically taking a group, millions of conservative Christians who’d been apathetic about politics, really since the 1920s and turned them into an active, lively, concerned voting block, that basically joined the Republican Party and gave the Republican party rough parity with Democrats.

From Jesse Lava of Faithful Democrats:

[W]e would be remiss to let this moment pass without reflecting on one of the most regrettable features of the Falwell legacy — or at least, of the political movement that Falwell and his co-thinkers have left us: the notion that there’s a heavenly link between Christianity and the Republican Party. … [L]et’s not make the same mistakes that Falwell did. We would be wise to emulate his passion and effectiveness; we would be downright sacrilegious to conflate our church with our party — a habit which, ultimately, renders Christ our pawn instead of our king.

From David Kuo‘s J-Walking blog:

It is ironic and a bit sad that the man who stood on the sidelines during the civil rights movement – saying pastors needed to preach Jesus, not politics – became the leading person marketing Jesus for political ends in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and that he will be remembered not as a great spiritual leader but a powerful political one.

Joseph Loconte on the National Review Online:

Falwell’s contradictions continue to define too much of conservative Christianity in America. The assumption that America lays claim to a “covenant” relationship with God, the confusion of the gospel of Christ with a party platform, the narrow definition of a “moral agenda” in American politics — all were among the unseemly aspects of Falwell’s activism that survive his death.

Yet there are other elements of Falwell’s legacy that are worth recalling on both sides of the Atlantic. For one thing, he helped religious believers of all stripes take their civic and political responsibilities more seriously. Today Christian conservatives are perhaps the most politically active and important voting bloc in America. Though many find aspects of their agenda objectionable — their pro-life position or support for Israel, for example — their impressive advocacy on behalf of international human rights is widely respected. No constituency has fought harder for peace in Sudan, for laws against the sexual trafficking of women, or for America’s global AIDS policy. No group has done more to bring attention to the human rights atrocities of the North Korean regime. Sadly, these issues were never taken up by the Moral Majority, but it helped to lay the groundwork for this kind of engagement.

From Mike Lee at Faithfully Liberal:

I didn’t like Jerry Falwell, yet I mourn the passing of one of my fellow human beings. All those with a heart for love must do the same. Here we have a perfect example of the Christ ethic – we must love our enemies, we must pray for those that persecuted us.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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squeaky

posted May 17, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Lots of good comments, and a wide ranging, thought-provoking reflection on his life. In terms of politics and Christianity, I think Jesse Lava hits it on the head “we would be downright sacrilegious to conflate our church with our party a habit which, ultimately, renders Christ our pawn instead of our king.”



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moderatelad

posted May 17, 2007 at 6:12 pm


“…became the leading person marketing Jesus for political ends in the 70s, 80s, and 90s,…” Do you think that the Moral Majority might not have emerged as the group it was if it were not for issues that were hot topics at that time and were championed to the extream by liberals. NOW was telling women (mothers and wives) that you should not let your children hold back your career and or husbands beating down your dreams. (if that is happening you have a bad marriage – it is not because you are married or have children) If you were a family that made the decision that Mom was going to stay home because that is what they wanted for their children – you had no place in the democratic party. I grew up in a conservative home but my Mom worked PT jobs oppsite my dad so there was a parent with us 99% of the time. My Mom went on to a sucessful career in retail and recieved equal pay to any man that she worked with two years prior to it becoming law. She proved to her company how valuable she was and that she could go to their competition, they wanted to keep her. Liberal politicians here in MN back in that day were as close to anti church or christianity as you could get without really being totally labeled anti. I believe that conservatives only had one party where they felt they had a voice. Many who respected life and believed it started at conception were shouted down by those in the Dem party as bigots etc. They wanted to be heard and have their agruments valued like other arguments were. Again – I believe that many felt they only had one choice politically for them.There is cause and effect – liberals took on issues and championed them to the extream – conservatives could not support these issues and were never given a voice in the Dem party back then. (not that there is much of a place for them now either) So – in many ways the lack of diversity in the liberals back in the day created the Moral Majority – why are you so mad at them? Blessing on all – .



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Stacy

posted May 17, 2007 at 7:02 pm


Interesting and thought-provoking excerpts. moderatelad, exactly who is so mad at the Moral Majority? Sojo or the journalists/individuals/bloggers quoted here? The comments range from praise for Falwell to condemnation. They aren’t, in general, angry statements.I consider myself to be a progressive Christian, but I am definitely not “mad” at the Moral Majority or the religious right. I don’t agree with everything they stand for, but I don’t deny they have had some positive effects on American culture. I definitely think progressives are indebted to the religious right for making a place for religious debate in the public sphere.



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Aaron

posted May 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm


Thanks for the link, but could you credit the Faithfully Liberal to Mike Lee at Faithfully Liberal as you do with everyone else? Sorry to ask, just thought it would be nice for consistency and Mike.



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moderatelad

posted May 17, 2007 at 9:32 pm


Stacy | 05.17.07 – 1:07 pm | #Here we have a perfect example of the Christ ethic – we must love our enemies, we must pray for those that persecuted us. So – Fawell is the persecuter – enemy. Some of the other articles here are not so flattering and the posts wellcome him to hell. There are several issues that I personally was not in total agreement with Fawell on and did not support him by attending his seminars of when he was in my area speeking at a function. (just like I most likely would not attend a function will Mr. Wallis as he is to the christian left what Fawell was to the christian right) But I do not believe that if the events were reversed that you would have such postings denouncing Wallis on a site like this or articles about him like you read here. I would write something that would be comforting to the family and friends Wallis has as well as his accomplishments that fit his mission and calling. Weather I agreed with them or not would not enter into the text. Wallis is a good man and I believe a fine Christian. His calling is just as important to him and Fawells. They saught the Almight’s direction and leadership. I do not see them as oposing so much as on parrel tracks. (but that is something that I do not learn of read here on this site)God Bless Wallis and all that he does for the Kingdom. Peace be to the memory of Fawell and comfort to his family and friends. Amen – .



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Stacy

posted May 17, 2007 at 10:56 pm


moderatelad, Yes, some of the excerpts are of condemnation (and yes, the Faithfully Liberal excerpt is quite self-righteous) but I don’t think Sojourners is agreeing with these people. It’s merely a sampling of what has been said over the last few days. Jerry Falwell was a highly controversial minister. When reflecting on his legacy, the controversy cannot be ignored; it was a huge part of who he was.



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Canucklehead

posted May 18, 2007 at 3:37 am


Mod-Lad: we know where you live; next time Jim is in town, we’re going to collect you and force you to sit thru a long weekend of seminars with him; and you will contribute every time the offering plate is passed! Big brother is watching/listening.



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 4:24 am


Canucklehead | 05.17.07 – 9:42 pm | #Oh Please – you can’t be a relative… Thanks for the chuckle – I really needed one tonight. Blessings on you – .



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 4:44 am


Stacy | 05.17.07 – 5:01 pm | #Then why print Faithfully Liberal? Jerry Falwell was a highly controversial minister. As are many people in positions of authority and influence – your point is? I find Wallis as controversial as he and other authors (not posters like us) see Fawell, Graham, Dobson and Kennedy. But would I write like or if I had a website quote people like Faithfully Liberal – NO!I still maintain that the strength of the Christian Faith is in the diversity (I hate that word) of it’s denominations. But I don’t see SOJO embracing diversity – they seem to be driving a wedge between the faithful so deep that given another year or two there will be no ‘reconsiliation’ – another ‘r’ word that is over used or miss used a lot. I have never been a cookie cut for anyone – political or religious. I also think that a world made up of only ‘moderatelads’ would be extreamly booring. I enjoy watching the Grahams – Dobsons – Wallis’ of the world and see how the Almighty is working through them to further the Kingdom. But reading the authors on this site. There is no room for the Kennedy – Grahams and Fawells because they are ‘wrong’ in the eyes of SOJO.Excuse me????? So yes – I look at Robertson as balance for Wallis. I would perfer to view them as great people of our faith on parallel tracks doing the work that God called them to do. But that is not preached on the site. You are basically a Wallisite or you are wrong. (Paul or Apollis – you figure) Be blessed everyone – I an equal opertunity blesser – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 7:31 am


I still maintain that the strength of the Christian Faith is in the diversity (I hate that word) of it’s denominations. But I don’t see SOJO embracing diversity – they seem to be driving a wedge between the faithful so deep that given another year or two there will be no ‘reconsiliation’ – another ‘r’ word that is over used or miss used a lot. Then you haven’t read a lot of Wallis or other “progressive evangelicals,” of which I have always considered myself. The problem that I’ve always had with conservative ideologues is that they believe that everyone goes through the exact same process that they do, just on opposite sides in many cases, and that’s not necessarily true. It is thus the conservatives who at this point are incapable of reconciliation because they can’t see another way of thinking and the “liberals” who come up with fresh ways of looking at things, whether I agree or not (and I often don’t). You see, until a couple of years ago, “liberals” never came out against “conservatives” — the conservatives went after us first. For example, in the last couple of years Gene Edward Veith slammed “God’s Politics” and insulted Ron Sider for World magazine, which frankly has no interest in reconciliation. Billy Graham, no liberal and a reconcilier above all, often has been vilified by those on the right (and I’m sure he and Wallis probably have the most in common). Besides, you would never have a blog like this by, say, Pat Robertson — he really can’t stand to have people, even faithful Christians, disagree with him; as he leans theologically toward “dominionism” (which to me is heresy), there’s really no room for other views. In addition, by definition he has to stoke fear in the hearts of Christians against some (generally imaginary) bogeyman to keep the outrage up and bucks rolling in. But when Wallis or anyone criticizes conservatives, it’s done so more so out of what we believe to be conviction. You see, we don’t have the fund-raising base the conservatives do, and we get slammed by some of those same conservatives for daring to challenge them — not a good way to bring in money — and thus it’s unfair to call them opposites.



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.18.07 – 1:36 am | #Rick – I respectfully disagree with most of your assumptions. haven’t read a lot of Wallis or other “progressive evangelicals,”I am struggling through God’s Politics right now. My son was given a copy of the book when he attended a breakfast where Wallis spoke. After he read it – it bacame a door stop for his dorm room. I plan on finishing it this summer. the conservatives went after us first Some conservatives went after Some liberal believers and it was on Some issues not the person them selves for the most part. (Both Fawell and Robertson have appologized when confronted where they were wrong but friends – not sure that Wallis has ever done that…) disagree with him; as he leans theologically toward “dominionism” That is why I don’t personally support the 700 Club – but I also don’t label the guy or refer to him as the enemy as seems to be the case here on SOJO. we don’t have the fund-raising base the conservatives do Maybe it’s because you are not saying or promoting what the lions share of people of faith believe, or your inturpration of scripture is too far to one side for most. Maybe conservatives have a message that resounds with the masses – a message of hope, joy, victory. (why do you think Air America is sucking wind and can not make a profit?)I’m sorry – the reason it is taking me so long to get through God’s Politics is that it is depressing and confusing. Feed the Children has a depressing message – starving children – but when I read about them or what the infomercial I hear hope and they get money out of me several times a year. This is just my opinion and I take no pleasure writing this but – I find no hope in most of what Wallis and many of the authors have to say on this site. In many ways – from what I read and the accessments of what authors feel about me as a conservative white male – I feel like a Jew in Germany/Europe in the 40′s on this site, keep your head down and don’t draw attention to yourself. I am not the enemy folks, I think by staying around here proves that I am willing to dialog.I mourn for the Fawell family at this time of loss – I know that Jerry is in a better place. (posters on this site have welcomed him to hell and authors have refered to him as the persecutor) Why?I would gladly celebrate a life well lived for either Wallis or Fawell – but for the most part that does not happen on this site. I have said enough – be blessed… .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Maybe it’s because you are not saying or promoting what the lion’s share of people of faith believe, or your interpration of scripture is too far to one side for most. Maybe conservatives have a message that resounds with the masses — a message of hope, joy, victory. (Why do you think Air America is sucking wind and can not make a profit?) My point exactly. As I said elsewhere on this blog, truth is not determined by majority rule. And, contrary to what you said, the conservative message is NOT hope, joy and victory — it’s “you can have all you want and Jesus too,” which of course He never said. Conservatives talk a good game about self-denial, but when you look at their economic policies it’s all about getting what they can at the expense of everyone else, and then they have the audacity to accuse everyone else of thinking the same way. When I was attending college in Atlanta in 1980, I went for a time to a fundamentalist right-wing church that, among other things, endorsed Ronald Reagan for president (and consider who was president at the time), publicized an anti-ERA rally and the pastor regularly preached against the Soviet Union. What I actually experienced in that right-wing church was pure fear of loss of privileged status; I actually found more “hope, joy and victory,” not to mention love, in a politically less conservative church. I was a new Christian at the time, and that experience changed my entire perspective on faith and politics. This is just my opinion and I take no pleasure writing this but — I find no hope in most of what Wallis and many of the authors have to say on this site. In many ways — from what I read and the assessments of what authors feel about me as a conservative white male — I feel like a Jew in Germany/Europe in the 40′s on this site, keep your head down and don’t draw attention to yourself. I am not the enemy folks, I think by staying around here proves that I am willing to dialog. Moderatelad, I’m sorry if you feel so put upon, but before you can even dialog in this manner you have to face the truth of what conservative white males (mostly) have done, and in my experience most don’t have the guts to; on the other hand, denial is no longer an option. I don’t know if you’re married — I’m not — but when you have a problem with your spouse you don’t simply start fresh; you deal with the reality of the past and the pain it has caused before you address the present because you can’t heal the legitimate wounds you don’t believe exist. That’s the biggest reason we “non-conservatives” are so critical of the ideological right — they have consistently refused to accept any criticism or advice from outside their ranks. That’s also the main reason we’re stuck in Iraq right now. Recently I heard a quote from Woodrow Wilson, who asked his staff to find the best, most insightful person from the other political party to join his team of advisers “so that I don’t go blind.” One of the most poignant political moments is recent history was when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. During his speech he recited a litany of injustices blacks faced at the hands of the white minority government — but then he glanced at F. W. de Klerk, the white former president, and said, “I need you.” Now, a majority of white South Africans have been big enough to admit that their system wronged black people and needed to change. Yet Jerry Falwell, to my recollection, never apologized for his de facto support of apartheid, nor has anyone else on the political right. You also need to consider that Falwell’s Moral Majority, never conceived as a religious organization, lasted only a decade and was largely a failure because it never achieved its stated goals, which were primarily legislative. Sojourners, on the other hand, has been around for well over 30 years and is first and foremost a ministry, which means it is not concerned with its current “hot” status. When the spotlight moves on to the next celebrity Jim Wallis will keep on doing what he’s been doing because he knows he’s been called of God to be faithful regardless of acclaim.



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canucklehead

posted May 18, 2007 at 5:55 pm


Rick – great stuff. Donny – could you please give us another post using the word “Re-Roman.” You’re not plagarizing John Hagee now, are you?



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Steven Riggs

posted May 18, 2007 at 5:55 pm


Great posting here but I do disagree concerning the next generation of fundamentalist/political leaders is not like Falwell. They are plus they are even more savvy. I get many emails a week from Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family berating Democrats and praising Republicans. Dobson’s political hire Tony Perkins uses the same techniques of Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter. That is, find one far- off example of something goofy and paint a broad brush with it. For example, one liberal in California says or does something wierd and soon the fundamentalist/ultra conservative gang are swearing all liberals or Democrats are carbon copies of just that! It is a common brainwashing technique and it works well with their followers and admirers.



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:01 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.18.07 – 11:26 am | #You make some very compelling arguments and many I would not disagree with. Yes some people that were ‘conservatives’ did support things and Wallis would not. Fine – but a lot of other conservatives that did not were never given a voice. But to broad brush all conservatives as Fawell clones as many of the authors on this site have done – be it between the lines – is wrong. I have said it before and I will say it again. I am the conservative today because of Wally Mondale, Skippy Humphery, Mark Dayton, Wendel Anderson and many other DFLer’s in MN. I voted a split ticket for decades until Clinton’s second election. Looking at the canidate was more important than the party for me at that time. Now it is my personal opinion that it is easier to make a conservative politician compassionate than a liberal moral. Mark Dayton smashed so many of the laws of campain reform – he spent 5 times what his oponent spent on the election and it was about $29.00 per vote. He knew about 8 months into his time in DC that he could not win another election and he could not raise the money he needed to make it happen. Skippy held off collecting the money MN won against the tabaco companies till 2 months prior to the election hoping that the money coming in at that time would help him in his quest for the Govenorship on MN. It came to light that MN lost millions of dollors in interest that money would have made for MN and challenged Skippy on this and the DFL stood behind him and called those that were asking the question ‘meanspirited’. He never did answer the question. MN now has elected the first Islamic to DC – ‘wow’. But he was asked about his association with questionable Islamic groups and never answered them. But will we have full disclosure about the Rep. Pres Canidate from MA and his religion. Can you say ‘Level Ground?’ SO – yes I am a conservative but it was not Reagan, Fawell or Dobson that made me what I am today. It was Humphery, Mondale, Dayton and Anderson along with the DFL. I think when Coulter wrote the book “Godless” she had to have MN in mind. Blessings on all – have a great weekend! .



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:06 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.18.07 – 11:26 am | #“I don’t know if you’re married…Going out tonight to celebrate 25 years -Be blessed .



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:10 pm


Steven Riggs | 05.18.07 – 12:00 pm | #‘…find one far- off example of something goofy and paint a broad brush with it.’I believe they learned that one from the DFLer’s in MN – they wrote the book on smearing your political oponents. have a great weekend – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Fine — but a lot of other conservatives that did not were never given a voice. But to broad brush all conservatives as Falwell clones as many of the authors on this site have done – be it between the lines – is wrong. Remember the proverb — “Silence means assent.” We in the African-American community often get calls to distance ourselves from, say, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, but those calls are from people who object to the very idea of black leadership, and Barack Obama (at this juncture) represents that response. On the other hand, no one is saying that conservatives don’t have the right to speak their peace; however, in too many cases they want to shout everyone else down for the sake of ideological purity (I saw this beginning in 1980). You said that other conservatives were never given a voice — well, I’m here to tell you that to get that voice you had to jump through some hoops. I rarely heard dissenting voices on Christian radio especially in the 1980s, and secular TV and print publications in the 1990s were no better. MN now has elected the first Islamic to DC – ‘wow’. But he was asked about his association with questionable Islamic groups and never answered them. Actually, the questions turned out to be so bogus they weren’t worth responding to.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 6:41 pm


Great posting here but I do disagree concerning the next generation of fundamentalist/political leaders is not like Falwell. They are plus they are even more savvy. I get many emails a week from Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family berating Democrats and praising Republicans. That’s called “desperation.” Dobson lost his shirt with the last election but hasn’t figured that his power has been waning for some time — one of his “Stand for the Family” rallies was held in Pittsburgh, where I live, as in practice a shill for Rick Santorum, who nevertheless went down by 18 percentage points.



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Peter Urden

posted May 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm


I always wondered whether it was a good idea to equate faith, salvation, and God with the republican party. I think that Jerry Falwell has done us a disservice in that many people today do not want anything to do with Christian because they equate Christianity with the republican party.Unbelievers often say that Christians are MEAN, judgemental, intolerant, arrogant, etc… This is hurting those of us who value the procalmation of the Name of our Lord Jesus. We have all the mean, uncompassionate adulterers and divorced people in the republican party that call themselves conservatives, and our churches have done a very bad job telling us that we are part of this bad movement. Why do we have to work so hard to try to exalt a political party when this leads people to spit on our Lord Jesus? That’s the legacy of Jerry Falwell, and it will be too of the other man that created the Christian Coalition, which now has become a wing of the republican party.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 7:16 pm


I always wondered whether it was a good idea to equate faith, salvation, and God with the republican party. I think that Jerry Falwell has done us a disservice in that many people today do not want anything to do with Christian because they equate Christianity with the republican party. I hear ya, and for that reason I have a difficult time evangelizing even though I’m not a conservative Republican.



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 7:56 pm


Peter Urden | 05.18.07 – 1:16 pm | #I always wondered whether it was a good idea to equate faith, salvation, and God with the republican party. I believe that a lot of Christians ended up in the Republican camp because there was no room for them in the Democratic party. If you were pro-life, there was no way you were going to be allowed a voice in the Dem. party in the 70′s 80′s and 90′s. So the only place you had was with the Republicans. If you were a stay at home Mom – again you were not part of the main stream Dems so you found your support in the Rep. party. While the Dem’s were redefining their party and becoming very intollerant to some ideas – those people found a voice and support in the Rep party. Like I said – Fawell had very little to do with me becoming the conservative that I am today. It was being marginalized by many of my liberal contacts and friends that did that – and Wally and Skippy. Have a great weekend – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 8:06 pm


I believe that a lot of Christians ended up in the Republican camp because there was no room for them in the Democratic party. If you were pro-life, there was no way you were going to be allowed a voice in the Dem. party in the 70′s 80′s and 90′s. So the only place you had was with the Republicans. Where I live, which is heavily Democratic, a majority of politicians are “pro-life.” And don’t forget that probably the most prominent “pro-life” Democrat of all time, Bob Casey Sr., comes from my state. (Trouble was, he had some character issues that took away from his stature within the party.)



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moderatelad

posted May 18, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.18.07 – 12:41 pm | #”Silence means assent.”We were not silent – we just spoke out and effected our community. I grew up in a high school that was about as white bread as they come. My senior year in ’73 we elected Charlie as our student body president and he along with the student gov’t got us involved in the community – mentoring in the local elementary schools, etc. Charlie had a vision for what we could do as a senior class – Charlie is black. I didn’t see that color back in that day – sorry to say, I see it in Technocolor today. My son and his best friend will be looking for jobs this summer. His friend best friend is black and will look better to an employer because he fills the AA quota for them. I have an extreamly modest income as I work for a not-for-profit and so does my wife. His friends family makes more than twice what we do. Both boys are educated and in the National Honor Soceity. The friend has a better lifestyle than I can provide for my child. Will be attending a better college than I can afford to send my son. They have a boat, and SUV, time share in AZ that I don’t have. The only thing different is skin pigment and my son will more than likely not get the job. In suburbia USA – just doesn’t add up. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 9:14 pm


We were not silent – we just spoke out and affected our community. I grew up in a high school that was about as white bread as they come. My senior year in ’73 we elected Charlie as our student body president and he along with the student gov’t got us involved in the community – mentoring in the local elementary schools, etc. Charlie had a vision for what we could do as a senior class – Charlie is black. I didn’t see that color back in that day – sorry to say, I see it in Technocolor today. Of course you saw color. But likely he was culturally more “white” than “black” so he was “acceptable” to the people in your school (I’m not necessarily knocking that because I was in that same situation myself). My son and his best friend will be looking for jobs this summer….In suburbia USA – just doesn’t add up. Except for one thing. You see, affirmative action exists primarily because whites were more likely to have “inside” contacts to jobs, education etc. unavailable to most blacks. Even with all the “handicaps” you say your son has, I can tell you that he still has a better shot of landing a job or promotion than his friend because, statistically speaking, he would more likely know the right people to connect with. Most of the people who complain about affirmative action were in no way involved in helping folks to overcome the very real obstacles, so they really don’t have much standing.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 18, 2007 at 10:19 pm


moderatelad — After some thought about the experience of your son, I need to update my remarks. You see, social justice means a whole lot more than equality of opportunity, though that’s a big part of it. There has to be an acknowledgement of past injustices done so that proper remedies can be applied with the consent of all. On the other hand, Falwell (and his patron Richard Viguerie) when Moral Majority was formed intended to capitalize on what Viguerie himself called “the politics of resentment” and tailored their message primarily toward angry white men. By definition it was self-centered and divisive and operated by scapegoting certain people who didn’t fit into their definition about how things should be. Thus, it was bound to lose eventually.



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moderatelad

posted May 21, 2007 at 2:24 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.18.07 – 3:19 pm | #No – Charlie was black, but more important he was a friend. Most of us came from a middle class family, two parrnts working, own their home, etc. We had so much in common that skin color didn’t make a difference. As for my son – both he and his friend were inducted into the National Honor Soceity last week. His dad and I gave each other a big hug as it has been months since we last saw each other. I spent a year calling or meeting with his dad each week praying with him asking the Almighty to to find him a job. My friend is my friend – period. (oh – if you need to know – he is black, I on the other hand am more pastie white) Have a great day .



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posted May 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm


We had so much in common that skin color didn’t make a difference. Did it make a difference in whom he dated or married, where he went to church or got his hair cut or stuff like that? I’m bet you anything that it did — heck, I saw that when I was a child!



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posted May 21, 2007 at 4:28 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.21.07 – 10:04 am | #He dated several in high school and because there were so few minorities – yes, some were white. He had normal texture of a black person and did not chemically straighten it. Married – not sure as I have very little contact with my high school except for a dozen or so friends. Church – never really talked with him about church or faith. How did he dress – like the rest of us from Target or Sears.Blessings – .



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posted May 21, 2007 at 4:31 pm


Getting back to the topic – Fawell I plan on taping the funeral service if I can find out if and when it is going to be broadcast. But I will be watching CNN to see what their coverage is on Fawell. CNN – News you can trust – NOT! Have a great day – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm


He dated several in high school and because there were so few minorities — yes, some were white. He had normal texture of a black person and did not chemically straighten it. Married — not sure as I have very little contact with my high school except for a dozen or so friends. Church — never really talked with him about church or faith. How did he dress — like the rest of us from Target or Sears. Then how do you really know that he was just like you? Do you see the naivete in believing that just because you grew up in the same neighborhood? If you get a chance, ask him someday what issues are important to him — and do so from a truly black perspective. You see, in my integrated church we actually do this on a consistent basis; in fact, it is now a part of its DNA and no one wants to go back to a segregated mindset. Getting back on topic, I doubt that Falwell ever considered that there were legitimate Christians who thought differently than he. Did you notice, for example, that there were virtually no blacks in his organization (or, for that matter, anywhere in the “religious right”)? Reason: We were not consulted and generally still aren’t. At least Wallis does, or attempts to do that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted May 21, 2007 at 4:49 pm


Falwell’s funeral, if I remember correctly, is on Tuesday.



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posted May 21, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.21.07 – 10:52 am | # This is were it can become very confusing to me. We have several different nationalities and races in my small church. We are all God children – as the old song say, ‘red and yellow, black and white all are precious in His sight.’ I do not believe that we have gone to any of them as said – as a black person, what issues are important to you. If they are important to them, they are important to me as we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have asked one of them to read scripture on Sunday in their native language and we read it on the PP in english on the screen. It reinforced that brothers and sister in the faith are worshipping all around the world. It hasn’t become our DNA – it has always been. I believe in some ways the problems with the races has been mostly a ‘city thing’ and has been transposed onto the rest of us. People in the country and small towns really did not struggle with this – yes they may have had a few challenges but the interdependance of a people on farms and small towns did not allow or foster the majority of the problems that the races have had to deal with in the major cities. (perosnally I have been taught that the word is ‘we’, we are all the same in God’s sight and I really get a burr under my saddle when I get lumped in with ‘all whites’ as being the ‘problem’. I will now get off my soapbox) Have a great day – .



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posted May 21, 2007 at 7:10 pm


I believe in some ways the problems with the races has been mostly a ‘city thing’ and has been transposed onto the rest of us. People in the country and small towns really did not struggle with this — yes they may have had a few challenges but the interdependance of a people on farms and small towns did not allow or foster the majority of the problems that the races have had to deal with in the major cities. The civil rights movement was indeed fought mostly in major Southern cities because that’s where the problems were for the most part. A large number of African-Americans, on the other hand, left the rural South in the 1920s mostly for major non-Southern cities (that’s when and why the Urban League was founded) because that’s where the opportunities were perceived to be. But when you consider that most blacks in major cities, myself included, have roots in the South and about 50 percent still live there, your experience doesn’t represent the norm.



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posted May 21, 2007 at 7:39 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.21.07 – 1:15 pm | #I know that it does not fit the norm. But I was one of a graduating class of 749 in a major metro area of several millions with all the counties included. blessings – .



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posted May 21, 2007 at 9:25 pm


But I was one of a graduating class of 749 in a major metro area of several millions with all the counties included. Sounds like Minneapolis/St. Paul, which as you suggested doesn’t have many minorities, especially in your day (I’m a few years younger than you). But then again, you still don’t necessarily know or understand your friend Charlie’s viewpoint on things.



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posted May 21, 2007 at 10:20 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.21.07 – 3:30 pm | #I knew Charlie well enough that he was saying the things that I wanted to hear or would have said if I were running for Student Body Pres. He was able to bring us together on several projects in the community and we were willing to follow. We were fellow students, co-worker in the community, jokesters in the lunchroom. Were we best buds – no, but we were always ready to talk if we ended up at the same party. Isn’t this the way community should be with everyone respected and valued? Later – .



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posted May 21, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Isn’t this the way community should be with everyone respected and valued? That dodges the question. There are times when certain issues need to be raised that make people, even those who “seem” close, at times very uncomfortable. As I have suggested, your relationship with Charlie, though cordial, still is very superficial because you haven’t asked the hard questions about some real differences in perceptions. If you dismiss my opinion because it doesn’t jibe with your worldview, that’s not being “respected and valued,” facts notwithstanding. This is at the heart of my own problems with the ramifications of modern conservatism, not least of which is its attitude that only “extremists” think differently from them. It’s also the reason the “religious right” is now losing its grip on evangelical Christianity — people started really studying the Bible and realized that the “liberals” they always were taught to dismiss actually get some things right. Even though I am a flaming evangelical, I never totally wrote off the liberals because I knew they had good points.



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posted May 22, 2007 at 2:26 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.21.07 – 4:56 pm | #Some of my best friends are liberals. We agree on what the solution is to the issues – it is the process of getting there that we debate.I truly believe that if there was an issue that Charlie was willing to die on that hill and it was an issue that involved race…he would have said so at that time. He was more outspoken than I ever could be, even today I am not one to be out there with bull-horn in hand. I perfer to work with individuals one at a time or in a small group. There are several issues that conservatives and liberals agree on what the solution needs to be. They disagree on the process of how to get there and who should admin. it. Now if we could come to terms and take the best of both and make it happen – that would be cool. Have a great day – .



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posted May 22, 2007 at 4:40 pm


They disagree on the process of how to get there and who should admin. it. Now if we could come to terms and take the best of both and make it happen – that would be cool. Agreed. The trouble is, and was (at least over the past couple of decades), that the conservatives have always wanted to determine the problem and impose their solutions on everyone, and that is why Jim Wallis, who won’t accept that, gets so much grief on this blog. You see, all “liberals” know how conservatives think — heck, we can’t avoid it — but I truly do not believe that conservatives as a whole take the other view seriously. As I said, that is why we’re bogged down in Iraq. The problem with modern conservatism is that it sees people only as individual blank slates and they think, “Apply these simple principles and you’ll be a success.” The problem is that such an individualistic approach has also crept into religion and eventually removes all relationship, especially with God, and leaves no room for His blessings. In addition, people are NOT blank slates — they have histories and identify themselves with certain groups (specifically racial/ethnic/cultural/socio-economic) that have to be taken into account. You are a white man with a family who lives in the Midwest, while I’m a single African-American who lives in the Northeast; by those alone we will come at it from different viewpoints. One “solution” thus does not fit all.



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posted May 22, 2007 at 5:32 pm


Rick Nowlin | 05.22.07 – 10:45 am | #“…that the conservatives have always wanted to determine the problem and impose their solutions on everyone, and that is why Jim Wallis, who won’t accept that, gets so much grief on this blog.” Well – I think we learned that with the 45+ years of Dem. control and their policies that I feel got us in to many of the situations that we are truing to dig out from. During the Tip O’Neil years on capital hill the last people that were listed to by the Dem majority was the conservatives. The Rep majority on capital hill in DC lasted from 94 to 06. That is only 12 years compaired to the 45+ of Dem. control prior to 94 and now they are back in control as of 06. Wallis has a pulpit today but the ‘Wallis’ of the conservatives during the 60′s and 70′s were ignored by the majority party in DC at that time. His getting any grief on his own blog – ‘so no one is allow to argue with the landlord?’ He seems to be promoting a repackaging of the ‘great soceity’ that has been an abismal failure. Today we collect over four times what is needed to give every person on the welfare rolls 10,000.00 a year and we still have the problem – why? One “solution” thus does not fit all. Now you are starting to sound like a conservative. (tee hee) If the Dem Party were a dentist and all of the US citizens were the person in the chair with a cavity in a tooth. The Dem. Dentist would drill and fill all of the teeth in the mouth because if one get a filling – they all deserve a filling. (great example is the Dept of Ed – their ‘one size fits all’ mentallity is destroying education. Ever since Carter established the dept of ed. – the US has lost it’s standing in the world as a leader in education) Gov’t is a two edged sword – you need the top down – DC to the States. But it has to be balanced with the ‘bottom up’ – States to DC. In my opinion – when Rep are in control – the bottom up happens more but not enough and is hampered by the beurocrats in DC. (people hired by the gov’t – not those elected to office) When Dems are in control – it is only DC to the States. Have a great day – .



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posted May 22, 2007 at 6:16 pm


Wallis has a pulpit today but the ‘Wallis’ of the conservatives during the 60′s and 70′s were ignored by the majority party in DC at that time. His getting any grief on his own blog – ‘so no one is allow to argue with the landlord?’ He seems to be promoting a repackaging of the ‘great soceity’ that has been an abismal failure. That’s the very shortsightedness I’ve always talked about. For openers, there was no conservative “Wallis” of that day, since evangelical prophets — Billy Graham the best known — were non-existent and focused exclusively on “soul-winning.” Second, lost in all the hubbub about necessary wealth-shifting is the reality that the poor do indeed have the economic deck stacked against them, but education and job-training programs plus economic opportunities in their own neighborhoods would be the key to prosperity. Now, these also were part of the “Great Society,” whose programs actually worked for the most part. They were cut under Reagan only because some folks actually wanted to keep the poor poor (conservatives are not going to get those votes). You see, the “religious right” — and this is the subject of this thread — were all rich and powerful white guys who made a living telling folks what they wanted to hear. It has been said that Falwell did do a lot of good on the diaconal level (and I would support that) but was a disaster on the prophetic level because his message was fearful and ultimately self-serving. You see, if laws that hurt the poor need to be changed for them and the people of God don’t argue for them their discipleship should be questioned.



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