On Falwell: Don't spare us, say what you really feel

On Blogs

May 20, 2007|By Troy McCullough | Troy McCullough,Sun Columnist

Bloggers opened up on the Rev. Jerry Falwell immediately after news broke that he had died last week at age 73 of an apparent heart attack. Opinions were everywhere, and most veered to the extreme.

Wonkette had a field day. "Praise God, Jerry Falwell is dead," announced the headline on one of three Falwell posts on the site.

"At a time like this, people deserve sympathy and good wishes ... except for Falwell, who is an evil sonofab----," the site wrote in its first Falwell post of the day. "Over his long career as a vile televangelist building an empire of bigotry from the donations of poor people, Falwell has supported South African apartheid, called AIDS an invention of Jesus to punish gays, attacked Martin Luther King and U.S. civil rights, and blamed 9/11 on feminists and homosexuals." Many other sites, particularly those on the left, followed along those lines and expressed vitriolic condemnation of a televangelist who had outraged so many with his worldview.

"I usually don't wish ill of the dead. In this case -- enjoy [expletive] Hell you scumbag," unleashed a commenter on the left-leaning group site MetaFilter.

"I hope he suffered before he died," bluntly added another.

Crooks and Liars urged commenters on its site to show a modicum of restraint, but some still couldn't resist. "While you're in hell, tell Hitler he's an a--hole for me, ok Jerry?" wrote one person.

"The man was a hateful pig," wrote John Aravosis on America Blog. "He told CNN just one week before his death that he still believes that gays, pro-choicers and other liberals caused September 11. So much for his apology."

Comments on the ultraconservative site Little Green Footballs were more mixed.

"May he rest in peace. I pray that he is in Paradise," wrote one person.

"I didn't like him so much but still this is somewhat sad," wrote another. "I dread to see the comments at HuffPo and Kos," referring to the liberal sites Huffington Post and Daily Kos, both of which were filled with people none too sad over news of Falwell's passing.

But even Little Green Footballs had its share of Falwell critics.

"I'm no friend to abortionists, feminists, lesbians, etc., but he's made too many vile remarks for me to ever support him," wrote one commenter.

One of the few surprising bits of Falwell commentary came from Fallwell.com -- note the extra "l" in Falwell -- a site operated by Christopher Lamparello to serve as a counter to Falwell's anti-homosexual rhetoric over the years.

If anybody has a beef with Falwell, it's Lamparello. Falwell had sued Lamparello over the name of his site in an attempt to shut it down. While a federal district court ruled in Falwell's favor, an appeals court overturned the ruling. Falwell had asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter, but the high court declined the case last year.

After Falwell's death, Lamparello removed the content critical of Falwell's views and posted a short message instead:

"This page would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the family, friends, associates and supporters of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Although we have clearly been on opposite sides of the issues, there is no satisfaction in hearing of his passing. It was his homophobic bigotry and intolerance that we wanted to die, not him personally. We believe that people must all come together during times of sadness such as this, especially for the sake of those who must be feeling the gravity and grief of such an unexpected loss."

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