If God is love, then the Devil is hate, and a major proponent of hatred died this morning.
Jerry Falwell exemplified hatred in almost everything he did in his forty-plus years of infamy.
Until my sister reminded me this morning, I had forgotten that Falwell was a leading international supporter of apartheid in South Africa, encouraging his followers to prop up the deteriorating white supremacist regime through the purchase of krugerrands.
Like most people, I remember Falwell as the creator of the so-called "Moral Majority" that fostered homophobia, anti-abortion hysteria, and misogyny. Using hatred disguised as faith, Falwell and his followers pressed a corporate agenda that was "pro-life" UNTIL birth, after which you were expected to be on your own. Slavery, child labor, dangerous working conditions, starvation, homelessness, war, violence against women...Falwell preached that victims got what they deserved for their sinfulness, or the sins of their parents.
Never was Falwell more hateful than in his response to the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980's, when thousands of gay men in the U.S., and people with dark skin around the world, began to die from a disease that thrives in body fluids. Falwell's near-glee at the epidemic, and his opposition to treatment and prevention of the disease, resembled nothing less than a case of home-grown genocide, made even more distasteful by its justification through "Christian" teachings.
I'm wondering whether Rev. Falwell met his maker today, and if so, did Judgment Day go the way Jerry had always imagined? Love is a higher power than hatred, and I'm enjoying the thought that Falwell might find his eternity to be much hotter than Virginia in the summer.