Speaking up for Jerry Falwell

Last week I posted a video clip of Jerry Falwell in 1998 delivering a sermon about the potential apocalypse of Y2K. In the clip, Falwell tosses off a weird aside about how he used to teach billy goats to “do what they’re best at.” It was a funny clip, especially out of context. In a similar vein I had prepared another clip, from the same series of sermons. In this clip, Falwell means to be talking about natural disasters, but he goes off on a tangent about boxing:


Again, a funny clip, especially out of context.The first clip has been viewed several thousand times (helped no doubt by its mention on BoingBoing). I was pleased so many people watched the video, but I was unprepared for the kinds of comments people left on YouTube. A few were innocuous, a few were clever, but most were simply hateful. Far more hateful than anything Falwell himself ever said. And that’s saying a great deal, considering Falwell was a close-minded bigot peddling fear and willful ignorance based upon an uninspired and incompetent interpretation of the Bible.But the things you people said. They were just mean. Whereas my clips are examples of ironic juxtaposition (say, a homophobic preacher revealing that he likes to watch big sweaty men “get with it” in the boxing ring), the comments on YouTube were spiteful, vengeful, and punctuated extremely poorly. Most were gleeful that this man had died. And most wished that in death, Falwell was due for worlds of pain, usually involving hellfire, and usually involving defilement by one or more farm animals.

I deleted the offensive comments and closed off the page to any more comments.

I don’t see this as censorship so much as good taste. However poor his grasp of biblical scholarship, however provincial his worldview, Jerry Falwell was, I believe, at heart a decent man. By all accounts he was not a moral hypocrite, as so many other famous televangelists and preachers have turned out to be. So, I say, it’s a case of hate the sin (ignorance, antisemitism, xenophobia, etc.) but love the sinner.

And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t believe in either heaven or hell.

Jerry Falwell on Y2K and Goats

In September 1998, Jerry Falwell delivered a series of sermons about the impending social collapse soon to be delivered to a wicked nation by the “Millennium Bug” — that is, the disaster that never disastered, Y2K.

In the sermons, Falwell likens the Tower of Babel to Y2K, and prophesizes that “God may use Y2K to crush us and prepare us for revival.” And oh, yeah, he talks about goats too.



Click the image for a larger photo

What would Jesus blog? It’s a question theologians have pondered for centuries. But the answer, finally, is here.

Yes, the Prince of Peace is back, and he’s online.

Blogging under the cryptic pen-name “Long Haired Jew,” Jesus tackles the issues of the day, such as terrorism (although he’s no Pope Benedict), global warming, and of course, what it’s like to be a bobble-head.

And for all you doubting Thomases out there, consider these divinely-inspired lines from Jesus’s blog:

There is a lot of debate going on about being “good stewards” with all of our natural resources. I admire many of your motives for wanting to keep the world pure and wanting to make sure there are plenty of resources around for generations to come.However, please don’t get carried away. This world was created for you. Use the resources wisely but do feel free to use them. Our Father knew what he was doing when he put the resources in place. They weren’t put there to never be utilized.


By the way, I didn’t mind walking everywhere but man oh man what I could have done if I would have had one of those SUV’s. The four-wheel-drive would have come in handy in those hills around the Sea of Galilee.

There you have it. Truer words have never been spoken. Unless you count all that Sermon on the Mount stuff, but who pays attention to that anymore anyway?

By the way, here’s the postcard Jesus mailed me. Direct mail–what an improvement over those old school marketing techniques, like that matted-hair, bug-eating, bearded, wait-where’d-you-go-with-my-head, prophet in the desert thing his cousin John had going.

Click the image for a larger photo

Now if only Jesus had a myspace Facebook page, he’d really be hip.

The Last Jihad

Okay, so today I venture halfheartedly to Starbucks, because it’s the only coffee shop within walking distance (though there must be 8 billion within driving distance in Northern Virginia), and at the table across from me, there is some guy going on and on about how there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and what a bad baddie Saddam Hussein was and how great we took him out. Through some not so difficult eavesdropping (made fairly easy by the booming, energetic voice) I determined that this man was a novelist of some renown and that he had in fact some of his books right there on the table with him.

Through some inspired cloak and dagger misdirection involving a wink, a stubbed toe, and a penguin, I was able to see, upon leaving Starbucks, exactly what novel was on the table, thus determining what novelist was at the table.

I felt I needed to do this, because I am a professor of contemporary American literature, and I had no idea who this guy was talking so animatedly about Hussein’s secret plans to blow up the west with his nuclear arsenal. Here was a contemporary American novelist, and it was my professional duty to find out which one.

Turns out it was okay I hadn’t heard of him.

Because I don’t usually read evangelical Christian conspiracy thrillers.

The man was Joel C. Rosenberg, most famous for his NY Times bestseller, The Last Jihad. As the Publishers Weekly review of The Last Jihad on Amazon says:

In the wake of September 11, popular American president James MacPherson has spearheaded an international effort to destroy terrorist training camps in the Middle East and North Africa. Osama bin Laden has been killed, but Saddam Hussein continues to plot against the West.


I’ve since discovered that Rosenberg’s follow-up novel, The Ezekiel Option, is, despite its Ludlumesque title, essentially a kind of Left Behind novel about the Last Days. You know, the rise of Babylon, the Antichrist, and a lot of shit blowing apart

A real neo-con ex-Orthodox Jew Christian evangelical hawkish apocalyptic novelist, right here, in my very own Starbucks!!

I should buy him a double skinny no fun triple latte frappo mocha.