Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead, & this lesbian is sad

By Diane Silver

Wow. I just saw the news on the Washington Post. One of the founders of the modern religious right, Jerry Falwell, has died at age 73.

If you want the angry reaction to Falwell, look here at Americablog.

Everything John Aravosis says in that post is true.

Falwell caused a lot of pain and hurt many people. His rhetoric may well have fueled laws that helped break families apart and take children from loving parents. His words gave gay bashers an excuse to assault anyone they thought was queer.

I'm not going to talk right now about his impact on choice, the rights of women and other issues. I'm not going to talk about the political work he did through the Moral Majority and all those hurt by it, or the impact of Liberty University, or go into detail on how he seemed to demonize everyone who didn't agree with him.

All of that is true, but I'm not dancing today. I'm not shouting for joy because a human being is dead, and truthfully, I don't think that's what Aravosis is doing. He's angry and fearful, and he and all Americans have a right to be angry and scared.

At this moment, though, I don't seem to be able to work up any indignation. I'm a lesbian. Falwell hurt my people, hurt me, in a thousand ways, yet in this moment all I feel is sadness.

I'm sure Falwell has a family. I'm sure he has loved ones and children and friends who will miss him enormously. My sadness has a bit to do with mourning the death of anyone, but even that's not all of what I feel.

My sadness is over the loss of a chance. Falwell, apparently, was never able to come close to a loving God, the God of inclusion, the God of welcome. If he had, he wouldn't have been able to say or do what he did. He must have carried a lot of pain to not be able to see that all-inclusive God of love. For that lost chance, for Falwell's lost chance, I mourn.

May his family, friends and loved ones find peace and support in dealing with their loss.


prairie said...

I thought of you and my other gay friends when I learned of his death. He infuriated me to the point of exasperation every time he spoke, but like you, I can only be saddened by his death when I recall that he had family and friends. Your words were kind and full of love and understanding, something he didn't possess.

Diane Silver said...

Thanks, prairie.

amymc312 said...

I stumbled on your post from a comment in another blog. A number of my friends reacted rather jubilantly to his passing and I was a bit exasperated with them. I once met Rev. Falwell. He creeped me out and he also exasperated me with the hurtful things he said and did. But for all of his hate, he could bring us together. And he had people who loved him. For that, I mourn him. Thanks for posting your thoughts, we needed a little civility in this maelstrom.

Diane Silver said...

Thanks for your kind words. Falwell is a difficult figure, and he caused enormous harm, but I'm not dancing on anyone's grave, particularly not on the grave of someone who never dealt with his own horrors.