On cupid, sometimes_witty posts a journal entry in response to the celebrating the death of the "hateful" Jerry Falwell, characterizing his backwards social values an artifact of his simply being a conservative Christian -- he supposedly wasn't hateful, he just had some unpopular opinions. My commentary follows.
Comment, May 16th, 2007
"However, a lot of people seem to be cheering his death because he preached "hatred". While I don't personally agree with all of his stances, I'd have a hard time classifying a lot of his most criticized stances as "hatred". Publically stating that homosexuality is sinful or abnormal behavior? Not hatred. Stating that abortion was wrong? Not hatred. Stating that a wife should be subservient to her husband? Not hatred. Those views may be pretty strict and conservative, but as far as I can tell, that's all they are." --sometimes_witty
It's one thing to believe these things (which is bad enough), but you're taking it to another level when you do something like blame people who believe differently from you for a heinous offense such as the 9/11 attacks. Just because he didn't Hulk out in a ballistic rage while spewing his abominable, ridiculous accusations ... and just because his beliefs have their foundation in misogynistic, homophobic, small-minded conservative Christian values, it doesn't mean the message itself wasn't meant to inflame the emotions and hatred of others and encourage out-group intolerance and hostility.
The guy was a hate-monger. I don't "celebrate" his death because his death doesn't really do much to set back the bigoted causes he championed, and there are thousands of people just like him ready to spring up and take his place. What would have been much better is a genuine change of heart (and ideals) and renunciation of the shameful words of his past (a little of which he had admittedly done -- such as when he apologized for his comments regarding 9/11). Besides that, life is precious. Celebrating death isn't something I want to get in the habit of doing, even the death of someone as contemptible as Falwell.
Or for another point of view, here's Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell and his passing.