The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Fal Guy

Jerry Falwell is history. And I thought I'd just ignore the whole thing and let his ignominy begin. But it's been as surreal a day as ever on the right-wing blogs, with people defending the bigoted demagogue (and as un-Christian a guy as you could encounter) against..... you know, it's hardly worth the effort at this point, but until the press gets back into shape and the public starts taking it at face value we're stuck with the fight..... liberal hate-mongers, the liberal press, and an America that discriminates heavily against rich, doughy old white guys who spend their lives trying to deprive their fellow men of civil rights.

Yes, from your garden-variety, doom-saying winger blog to such (*cough*) eminent journals of conservative thought as the National Review, today is a day to eulogize the man best known for blaming 9/11 on gays and feminists.

Michelle Goldberg, with commentary by Kevin Drum:

"The religious right's creation myth holds that Roe v Wade so outraged the faithful that they could no longer sit passively on their pews. As the Columbia University historian Randall Balmer has shown, this is nonsense. The Southern Baptist Convention, Falwell's denomination, was officially pro-choice throughout the 1970s; anti-abortion activism was seen as the province of Catholics, a group then widely despised by fundamentalist Protestants. No, what really galvanized the religious right were Supreme Court rulings stripping whites-only Christian academies, like the one Falwell founded in 1966, of their tax-exempt status. Fervent opposition to abortion, which eventually cemented the alliance between conservative Protestant and Catholics, came later."

There's no question that early evangelical leaders were originally drawn to politics by the loss of tax-exempt status for their segregated schools, which happened via a series of court rulings before Roe v. Wade was even a twinkle in Harry Blackmun's eyes. Still, while the SBC may have been "officially" pro-choice during the 70s, it was pro-choice only "reluctantly," and Falwell himself was always virulently anti-abortion and anti-gay. What's more, it was only after abortion and gay bashing were added to the evangelical mix that the Christian Right became a genuine, broad-based "movement."