Falwell reaffirmed the Christian Right's narrow focus on two issues: gay marriage and abortion. Asked by progressive religious
leader Jim Wallis to engage in a "broader and deeper" conversation about values, Falwell and fellow conservative preacher Dr. Richard Land
resorted to bigotry and misdirection, lashing out against gays, women and religious progressives. Falwell's priorities fly
in the face of the "moral values" most often cited (though not most often reported) on Nov. 2, where polls showed voters were more concerned with "greed and materialism" (33 percent) and "poverty and economic justice" (31 percent) than
they were with issues like gay marriage (12 percent). Nevertheless, Christian conservatives around the country are following Falwell's lead, dismissing concerns about separation of church and state and setting out to refashion the federal courts around a narrow agenda which conflicts with the values of most Americans.
Falwell went out of his way on Sunday to divide America, saying those who voted for John Kerry did not "take the bible seriously." Wallis shot back, saying, "Jerry, there are millions and millions of Christians who want the nation to know that you don't
speak for them...that Jesus, our Jesus isn't pro-rich, pro-war and only pro-American. We don't find that Jesus anywhere in the Bible."
BLAME FOR 9/11 ON GAYS, FEMINISTS: Falwell refused to back down from his comment that 9/11 had been caused by "the pagans, and the abortionists, and
the feminists, and the gays and lesbians [and] all of them who have tried to secularize America." He reiterated that, "when we defy the Lord, I think we pay a price for it."
ON GOD, WAR: Falwell
contradicted himself on the war in Iraq, cited by 42 percent of respondents as the moral issue which most influenced their vote on Nov. 2. When Rev. Wallis asked him why he had said God was "pro-war,"
Falwell said, "I don't believe God loves war…everybody hates war." The name of Falwell's 1/31/04 commentary? "God is Pro-War."
SETTING THE RECORD
STRAIGHT ON CIVIL RIGHTS:
Falwell and Land tried to cast their anti-abortion crusade as similar to the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King
Jr. But Al Sharpton reminded Land it was his own church that fought against King. "What [King] did was fought against the
Southern conservative values of those days," said Sharpton. "He fought the Southern Convention that you represent. Dr. King fought that convention. Let's not rewrite history." Wallis added that King had served as a model of how
religion and values could play a part in political life: "He reminded us of this wonderful vision of a beloved community where
no one gets left out and those who are always left out have a front-row seat."
SETS AFTER COURTS:
The Palm Beach Post's George McEvoy reports Congressmen pandering to the Christian right wing are planning ways to strip federal
courts of "their right to hear cases involving the separation of church and state." Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), addressing a special legislative briefing of the Christian Coalition last month in Washington,
said he planned to introduce a bill that would "deny federal courts the right to hear cases challenging the Defense of Marriage
Act, which bans same-sex marriage." Unimpressed by America's system of checks and balances, Hostettler inveighed, "When the
courts make unconstitutional decisions, we should not enforce them. Federal courts have no army or navy...At the end of the
day, we're saying the court can't enforce its opinions." Rep. Robert Aderholdt (R-AL), recently advocated "court stripping
as a means to protect state-sponsored Ten Commandment displays."
BUSH: Another conservative
religious leader, Dr. James Kennedy, whose sermons are broadcast in 3 million homes, has warned that God will "be angry" if
President Bush does not act soon on abortion and gay marriage. "He said he knows of no timetable for God's wrath, but wants
results fast." Asked about the millions of Americans who are not Christian, or have a different interpretation of Christianity,
Kennedy recommended they "repent" and said he "couldn't care less" about their views.