|The Jerry Falwell – the start of the End ?|
16 May 2007. [Lynchburg] The American Christian leader and founder of the Moral Majority, Rev. Jerry Falwell, passed away this week at the age of 73. We are reminded of Saul who fought to keep Christians in prisons with religious zeal and sincere conviction as the defenders of the law, but ended up persecuting Jesus. If Saul had continued, the New Testament Church may not have existed. God intervened and Saul saw the light and became the greatest champion for the Gospel. Similarly, I believed that God sent the Rev Mel White to visit him several times at Lynchburg to reason with him. Yet, he continued in his rhetoric against gays resulting in many gays turning away from the church and gays taking their own lives. When grace was exhausted, God had to intervene for justice must prevail and the Good News preached to the Ends of the Earth including to the Gay community. The means that Rev Falwell used Gays as a scapegoat to built his empire and power based cannot be justified by his sincere motives to build the kingdom of God. At the end, all his works will come to ashes and history will remember him harshly.
Together with James Dobson, they have been the most anti-gay proponents in the name of Christ with wild allegations such as Tinky Winky being a gay role model because "He is purple - the gay-pride colour”, blaming gays for 9/11 and for AIDS as a tool of God’s wrath. While Christians all round the world mourned his passing as one of their greatest leaders, and claimed that the good that he did far outweigh any of his eccentricity, but his constant assault on gays with rhetoric on a gay threat of his own creation resulted in deaths of many gays. But God turned this evil to good and the gay movement is very much stronger and mobilized due to his constant and outrageous attacks. At the end, the legacy of Rev. Jerry Falwell is that he turned more people away from Christ many more than that he could ever brought in and his gross misused of the bible will turn many more away from the gospel message. Jerry Falwell died on 16 May 2007, but he had fallen much earlier in 1979 when he started his anti-gay campaigned nationally through the Moral Majority. May he rest in peace even though he did not give others much peace.
In the 80s, the Rev Mel White recalled an incident when he was with Jerry Falwell. Jerry said “I just love this gay demonstrators, and without them I wouldn’t get near the attention I would get. If I didn’t have them, I would need to invent them." Rev Falwell raised more money of the gay threat as a scapegoat for people to sent him money. Falwell had once opposed mixing preaching with politics, but changed his views. The Moral Majority grew to 6.5 million members and raised $69 million as it supported conservative politicians and railed against homosexuality. When judgment comes with fire, the work of Jerry Falwell against gays would be found wanting because Christ has not been exalted. Instead the name of God is reviled amongst the gays. The Moral Majority must take the blame for the AIDS deaths amongst the gays because how could their relationships be protected and healthy monogamous relationships maintained if it is not supported legally. Because of condemnation, many gays took their lives and stayed right away from the church. Rev. Jerry Falwell did gain the power and prosperity but it was blood money with the blood of gays – both physically and spiritually. At the end when judged according to what Christ would have done, there will be nothing left of Rev Falwell's work, just ashes.
Are we missing the whole picture to keep repeating the Jewish Laws against Gays whom we do not follow ourselves. But what have Gays done to us that have resulted in our angst? They are only 5% of the population living in a small closet minding their little space given and yet without pity we draw them in and blame them for all the ills of the straight community forming 95% of the population. Gays are blamed for all the nation ills from family breakdown, divorce, prostitution, diseases, morality, declining birth rates, natural disasters, etc. But look clearly under the lid, we may see ourselves, our wealth, power, pride, arrogance, self righteousness, indifference, and cruelty not much different would you say from people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
What is Jonah to Singapore? We have our own big fish, a hybrid between a lion and a fish but alas it does not eat humans. The story of Jonah reminds us to be slow to judge and quick to have mercy for much grace and mercy has been given to us. In contrast we are quick to condemn and slow to listen. People matters alot and God's heart of grace and mercy is so much bigger than I see exhibited in our churches today. At this Pentecost Sunday as Christians in Singapore pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to revive the Church for this Global Day of Prayer with repentance, reconciliation, and restoration. Unless the Church is moved to humble themselves to ask Gays for forgiveness in reconciliation, our prayers will be impacted and our message discredited. The death of Jerry Falwell have given us a respite for if he had continued, he would have hastened God’s judgment. Let us not use God's grace in vain.
In 1994 Falwell quietly accepted $3.5 million from Korean cult messiah Sun Myung Moon as part of a larger deal to bail Liberty University out from under its horrendous debt load. Could this be the reason why Falwell publicly urged his friend President Reagan to pardon Moon's tax evasion conviction? He could close an eye to an anti-Christ religious cult because of money. Is this all about power, money, and big business? With a sincere belief that the means does not matter as long as the end is met - the “Gospel” is preached!. Gays are but collateral damage to the Christian Right to be used so that resources could be built to spread the Bible message. The Christian Right has been setup for their greatest fall for God will burn away all this man made efforts made of hay. The motives were sincere but the means were carnal and evil.
If we truly were of a religious faith then a certain amount of common sense or sound reasoning should prevail to avoid fundamentalism. It was the law abiding religious fundamentalist insisted that Christ be crucified and were the greatest antagonist of the 1st century Christians. Unless we repent quickly, pruning will come and our Christian faith community will go into the same closet that they have put gays in and will not be taken more seriously nor reflect their role as ambassadors of God's Grace and Mercy. What happens when salt looses its saltiness?