Now that Jerry Falwell is dead, people are asking where his immortal soul will end up. His followers of course will say it’s heaven, but the smart money says that he’ll burn in hell.
This raises the question as to how someone who appeared to have been so close to God could wind up in hell. It’s pretty simple, really. Falwell was a fake…a charlatan who preyed primarily on the less educated and those who could be moved by fear.
Although claiming to preach the gospel while building his Moral Majority in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Falwell actually used many of the same tactics that Hitler did back in the 1930’s. The best example was his use of the “them against us” message in which he portrayed not just evangelicals, but all Christians as a minority that was being marginalized. This message, although a lie, struck fear into not only evangelicals, but mainstream Christians, convincing both groups to open their wallets at unprecedented levels.
Interestingly, Falwell took a similar position to that espoused by the Ayatollah Khomeini, insisting that we should live in a non-secular state. Falwell’s vision for America was that of a Christian version of Iran in which religious influence is built into public institutions, with taxpayer money going towards promoting his brand of Christianity. During his rise, his opponents were too fearful of Falwell to point this out, and his political influence increased unchecked.
Jerry’s legacy is still not clear. It’s possible that the GOP will be able to cure itself of the evangelical cancer that is destroying it from within, but this will take a long time. Everyone knows that non-secular states not only are repressive and go against traditional American values, but are doomed to economic failure. If Falwell’s policies, such as banning abortion and stem-cell research, are implemented then everyone loses. Banning abortion, for example, would be an economic disaster, resulting in more unwanted children whose parents are not prepared to care for them thus further worsening welfare, prison, and judicial systems that already are overloaded.
Consider that even the staunchest conservatives acknowledge that unwanted children born to unprepared parents are far more likely than those who are not, to turn to crime, gangs, and violence, regardless of whether they receive spiritual counseling. Falwell’s myopic brand of Christianity fails miserably to account for this. Prisons today already are releasing dangerous criminals early in order to alleviate overcrowding. An increase in unwanted children who are more likely to turn to crime would worsen the situation, resulting even more early releases for criminals who would have an even greater opportunity to prey on society. The bottom line is that we all would pay a steep price in the form of more crime and violence, not to mention higher taxes and medical costs.
At this point it’s fair to say that while Falwell had a Khomeini-like vision for America, and used some of the same tactics as Hitler did in his early days, he clearly does not rise to their level. However, should his vision and policies come to full fruition in the United States, his legacy may very well approach theirs, and the result would be an economic and social disaster for a nation as large as ours, likely causing levels of unrest and violence that we have never seen and don’t want to imagine.Powered by Sidelines