Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Falwell Haters

G.K. Chesterton opened his essay, “A Defense of Humility” by stating, “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.” So it is with the death of Jerry Falwell and those who were not fans of his. No person is perfect, and since Falwell was a person, I think we can safely say he wasn’t perfect. And being in the public eye for as long as he was meant he did things many people were not thrilled about. It is one thing to disagree with someone, but in our culture’s atmosphere, the way non-Christians “disagree” with Christians has turned, in Chesterton’s words, “exhilarating.”

The kind of vitriol being poured out against him in death is sub-human and deplorable. As one prominent example, the (basically) conservative atheist, Christopher Hitchens was interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday. Part of the transcript reads:

COOPER: Christopher, I'm not sure if you believe in heaven, but, if you do, do
you think Jerry Falwell is in it?

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": No. And I think it's a pity there isn't a
hell for him to go to.

COOPER: What is it about him that brings up
such vitriol?

HITCHENS: The empty life of this ugly little
charlatan proves only one thing, that you can get away with the most
extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just
get yourself called reverend.

Hitchens has his reasons, and I agree that Falwell’s pronouncements after 9/11 were out of place, but the point is broader than that.

All you need to do in our culture to get your head cut off is stand up for orthodox Christian values. Even in death, those who cannot countenance the idea of Truth or the existence of God are eviscerating him. And on a larger scale, one of the greatest evils in the world today, if you listen to them, is the very existence of the Christian religion.

Christ was right when he said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt 10:34). The simple truth of his existence and uniqueness will sharply divide people—even divide them over the coffins of Christ’s followers.

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