Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Riddance to a Hate Monger

Well, good riddance to Jerry Falwell, one of America's most infamous hate mongers. Too bad he will have to watch the rapture as a spectator.

The man was a veritable font of those "sins" that the bible spends lots of time condemning ... avarice, gluttony, pride, and hypocrisy, chief among them ... rather than those "sins" christians have invented for those they seek to revile. I think of Falwell primarily in terms of his boundless hatred. Despite the wafer-thin evidence for biblical homophobia ... the evils of shrimp eating get more coverage than gay love in the oft-quoted and more oft-ignored Leviticus ... Falwell created a profitable industry of hate mongering against gay people. He lied about us whenever he could to keep those dollars flowing from the troubled, the aged, the lonely, any victim for his con job empire.

With all due respect to Christopher Hitchens on Anderson Cooper last night, whether he actually believed or not is quite beside the point. He was a man of faith, and there are three kinds of the faithful ... the masses of the earnest, the isolated desperate, and the cynical who hold the power. Nothing prevents a cynic from being a genuine believer, and that is Falwell to the core. Believing has a reassuring impact on the faithful ... anything goes in the name of the belief, and for the cynics that means "even" lying, hating, profiteering ... not "even", but "especially." So he found his niche, selling reassurance to the earnest, extorting the desperate financially and politically, and employing the cynical to build an empire of greed and power. Mammon, indeed ... and in deed! Check out the sermon on the mount and compare it to the lived life of Jerry Falwell. Doesn't compute.

The man was always a doofus, but he got given some unctuous credit in the 80s because he created a political force. By the 90s he started fulminating about teletubbies, gay people causing hurricanes, secularists paving the way for 9/11, and Jewish anti-Christs. Larry King, the professional sycophant who did a lot to prop Falwell up in his lengthy dotage, had a long list of sanctimonious self-congratulators on CNN last night to slobber on the cadaver. No doubt there was some mighty bible-thumping and fag-bashing, all in the name of "news", but it was too sickening for me to actually watch.

America is besotted with religion. It rises up as a heaving from the gorge of a society that trumps its materialism periodically with a crypto-medieval revanchism more properly seen as a bizarre postmodern cauldron of the ridiculous and unprovable. Evangelism never forgets its roots in hatred. They love to rant on about loving the sinner and hating the sin. But those of us who have been the objects of their "love", both now when all they can do is intimidate and scorn, and in ages past when they burned us alive and imprisoned and drove us from our homes and livelihoods ... we know what they mean, and we know they know that we know what they mean. The earnest among the faithful may truly "feel" that it is love. But the death of this swindler Falwell should remind anyone committed to reason and rationality that the earnest faithful are too often led by diabolical cynics.

Religion is the root of all evil, and faith is its enabler. Step away, friends, and join the Enlightenment! In the meanwhile, good riddance, Falwell, hate monger, liar, thief, hypocrite.

1 comment:

zooplah said...

Absolutely. Bravo! Humans are such hateful, fearful, distrustful beings. It's like what my sister was telling about the spiel of gray wolves being up for being taken off the endangered species list and now people are prepared to hunt them back on it. Gray wolves don't do anything to hurt anyone, but that's people for you.

Also in my Cultural Anthropology textbook, there was this story by an intersexed Native American woman. Her grandparents followed the tradition religion, but her parents were indoctrinated into Christianity. Her parents thought of her being intersexed as a curse from Satan, but her grandparents viewed her as something special. Indeed, in Native American religions, homosexuality, intersexuality, and transgenderism are viewed as something special of an elite. The textbook spent a lot of time going over things like homophobia and racism, and convincing us how stupid they are (preaching to the choir for me, but it still needs to be said).

In that story, it also mentioned the traditional attitudes of Christians toward homosexuals, intersexuals, and the transgendered. People have been murdered, discriminated against, treated as second-class citizens, etc. It was once (or maybe more than once) said that the biggest crime against humanity was Christianity.

About biblical homophobia, the homophobic Christians like making up stuff (like the Sodom thing, WTF?). It's interesting if you read different translations of the Bible. Like in Sankta Biblio (the Esperanto version of the Bible, translated directly out of Hebrew and Greek and thus a more trustworthy translation than the King James Version; you can Google it if you want to read it), Leviticus 20:13 doesn't mention two men "lying" together. However, Sankta Biblio does condemn eating aquatic beings without fins and scales ("Ĉio en la akvo, kio ne havas naĝilojn kaj skvamojn, estas abomenindaĵo por vi").

In summary: Christianity bad, humans fearful, translations (and even interpretations) of the Bible diverse.