Morbo, a frequent guest poster over at the Carpetbagger, has a good post on Jerry Falwell and his legacy. It is aptly titled: Hate is not a good legacy and it is well worth the full read.
Morbo makes the point that very few of us have an opportunity in this life to touch the number of lives that Jerry Falwell touched. But tragically Jerry Falwell used this opportunity in such a way that he will be remembered not as a great man who did great things, but rather he will remembered for:
…[helping] usher in the Religious Right and, whether we like it or not, [redefining] American politics. But his larger legacy, which I think is pretty negative to begin with, is overshadowed by specific incidents of intolerance and extremism from his disturbing career.
Falwell will be remembered as the guy who outed the purple Teletubby, as the man who accused his fellow Americans of being responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. People will recall that he once compared Sen. Hillary Clinton to Satan and said the Antichrist will be Jewish.
He’ll be remembered for gay bashing, for religious intolerance and for crude personal attacks on his perceived enemies. He’ll be remembered as someone who divided, not united, our people.
And as legacies go, this is a really lousy one. These are crummy things to be remembered for.
And he finishes up by saying:
I know it’s not considered polite to say negative things about the recently departed, but Falwell’s passing should not obscure one obvious reality: He was given a chance to make a difference in the world, a rare opportunity most of us never receive. He squandered it. That is the final tragedy of Jerry Falwell’s misspent life.
I have my doubts about the afterlife and the existence of a Supreme Being. But I do know this: If such a being exists, he/she/it created us all and does not want us to hate one another. Thus, those who promulgate hate will not spend eternity in a good place. But I’m not vindictive. Falwell need not endure hot flames licking at his ample backside. Putting him alone in a room to spend eternity contemplating his squandered life is punishment enough.
Now this is where Morbo and I part ways. I’d be ok with the hot flames licking at ole Falwell’s ample back side. I shall never forget the pain Falwell’s hateful words caused my family and thousands like mine. Never.