Tag Archive: Jerry Falwell

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Abortionists, Gays, and Secularists to Blame for 9-11 by Jerry Falwell

jerry falwell

This is the fifty-fourth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip taken from a Pat Robertson interview of Jerry Falwell. These words were uttered two days after 9-11.

Video Link

Women, Don’t You Feel Special?

woman on a pedestal

In the early 1980′s, I heard Jerry Falwell, the fundamentalist Baptist pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia say, We don’t believe in equal rights for women. We believe in superior rights for women.  Falwell went on to say that the Bible actually elevates women on a pedestal and that equal rights for women would actually be a step down for them.  Evidently, Falwell’s Bible didn’t have the verses that gave approval to men treating women as property or the verses that countless Evangelical preachers have used to justify their “women should be ignorant, barefoot, pregnant, keepers of the home” preaching.

Yesterday, in a post titled Why Would Any Woman Want to Be and Evangelical Christian, I wrote:

Why would any woman want to be an Evangelical Christian? If the Bible is the inspired Word of God and every word is true, why would any modern, thinking woman ever darken the door of an Evangelical church?

Over the past hundred years women have continued to gain rights and privileges kept from them by men, law, and social propriety. The right to vote. Equal pay for equal work. The right to use birth control. The right to have an abortion. The right to divorce.  While women do not yet have equal rights and privileges in this country, huge progress has been made to that end.

Why don’t women have true equal rights and privileges in America? Don’t deceive yourself into thinking they do. There are still places in our society where the signs say Men Only. The primary reason women are denied basic civil rights and social privileges is that Christian patriarchal thinking still permeates our society.

Evangelical Christianity teaches that women are inferior to men. The Bible calls women a weaker vessel. The Bible teaches that women are to be married, keepers of the home, bearers of children, and sex partners for their husband. (unless the husband goes Old Testament and has multiple wives and concubines). Simply put, the Bible teaches that the world of women revolves around husband, food, children, and sex.

If the Bible is meant to be taken as written, women have no part in the governance of society or the church. Women are relegated to teaching children and as women age  they are given the task of teaching younger women how to be a good wife.

You can read the entire post here.

Derick Dickens, in an article for the The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website, takes the same approach Falwell did thirty years ago. (Dickens is a graduate of Liberty University)  Dickens thinks that women, the weaker vessel, should receive high honor rather than equal rights. He goes on to blame many of the woes women have on feminism and their demand for equality. Dickens writes:

…It demands us to ask some serious questions.  Has the last century of women’s rights not touched the home?  Has women’s equality not turned the tide of divorce?  Has it not lifted women out of poverty instead of sinking them further into poverty?  Women’s equality has failed precisely because it is misplaced from the Biblical understanding of women.  It has failed precisely because it misunderstands the honor God has given to women.

In short, if you think women are equal to men, then you have too low of a view of women.  Women are not merely equal, they are to be honored and esteemed unlike that of a man.

Honoring women is not merely my opinion, but this is the Christian ethic.  It is why men traditionally bent on one knee to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, men would open the door for her, and men willingly sacrificed their life to save a woman.

Granted, abuses have often taken place in our culture and previous cultures.  However, this should not be looked at with the ever critical eye that fails to realize all the facts of the situation.  There were abuses of the past because of mankind’s inherent selfishness, pride, arrogance, and destructive personality.

Rather than see these abuses subside, they have escalated in modern times.  For instance, women account for 75% of all people trapped in the slave trade.  For every three childhood victims of human trafficking, two are girls (Source: UNODC).  The heinous injustice brought upon girls and women should make our blood boil in anger and every decent human being cry out for the eradication of this evil.

The abuses that are easier to “live with” are those couched in the language of modernity.  Women, for profit and sale, are treated as sex objects on magazines and television.  Being remade to look nothing like they appear, women are donned in scant bikinis to sell products like beer, cars, football, and even tools.  Parts of our society have made women utilitarian.  This may be better than the sex slave trade but only by degree (Matthew 5:28)

What may be an attempt by some overreacting to abuses towards women has been an effort to make women completely the same as men.  In some cases, this has forced women to be a clone of their male counterparts, or in other cases forced men to be exactly like women.  In both cases, this is a travesty to women.

Women do not find their greatest worth in being like men but in being a woman.  It is her uniqueness that should be cherished, but not to the extremes either side tends to push her.  One celebrates the woman as having a utilitarian purpose in satisfying the sinful lusts of man, the other celebrates her distinct from her sexuality.

Both are wrong.  Both seek to diminish women from being what they were created to be–a woman.

In turning to the Scripture, we extinguish the often cited critique that women are not as smart or capable as men.  Proverbs 31, for instance, shows the virtuous woman as possessing gifts that would make most men jealous.  She is intelligent, resourceful, hard working, and respectful–a tremendous force of dignity and wisdom.

These qualities, though, should not make us treat women like men.  Women are to be treated distinctly like a woman.  Husbands are called to reflect towards these women a demonstration of the greatest love ever shown, a love that willingly died in her place (Ephesians 5:25).  For a man, he should represent her as a person worthy enough for us to die for, to present as pure, to uplift as glorious, and acknowledged as magnificent…

…In the Biblical Worldview, women have a dignity all their own that allows us, men, to selflessly serve until our dying days.  They are bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, but they are much more.  They are women and for that reason we should give them a greater honor.

You can read entire article here.

Dickens speaks in glowing terms about how women are treated when the Biblical pattern for the sexes is followed. According to Professor Dickens, our culture’s unwillingness to follow this pattern has resulted in women being far worse off today than they were before equal rights for women and modern feminism convinced women that they had equal status in our culture. (As with equality for people of color, equality for women is still an unrealized goal. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go before we can say, women are equal.)

Dickens seems deliberately ignorant of history, both ancient history and American history. Rather than seeing the Bible and Christianity as the source of many of abuses and ill-treatment women have received, Dickens thinks “mankind’s inherent selfishness, pride, arrogance, and destructive personality” is the problem. Evidently, he can not see that perhaps Christianity and Bible wedded to “mankind’s inherent selfishness, pride, arrogance, and destructive personality” is the real explanation for the deplorable treatment of women throughout much of the history of the United States.

Dickens article is a poignant reminder that little has changed for Evangelical women. Their overlords continue to use the Bible to subjugate and control them. Sadly, for many Evangelical women, including my wife for many years, they know of no other world but one where the Derick Dickens of the world are their lords. These lords convince them, through words supposedly mouthed by God, that their highest calling in life is to be a weaker vessel; a wife, a mother, and a keeper of the home. Wanting any other kind of life is a step away from God’s wonderful, super-duper plan for their life.

So what do you think readers? I am especially interested in hearing from female readers. Do you desire to return to days before equality and feminism? Now that you are free from the strictures of the Bible, how has your life changed? For the better, for the worse? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

I Know Why Sharks Are Attacking Humans Off the North Carolina Coast

shark attack

snark and ridicule ahead!

I am at a loss to understand why government officials in North Carolina haven’t called me so I could tell them WHY sharks are attacking people along the North Carolina coast. Based on everything I’ve read on Evangelical and Catholic blogs and news sites, the reason for the shark attacks is because

THE SUPREME COURT LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE

This will be the reason given for every calamity from this point forward. And don’t think for a moment there’s not some Schlitz-drinking, AK-47 carrying, mud wrasslin loving, King James Bible toting, fundamentalist Christian who thinks this way. In their mind, once same-sex marriage was legalized, the foundation of Western civilization came tumbling to the ground.

Here’s what you’ll hear in the future after Sunday go-to-meeting at Thirteenth Baptist Church in Rednecknakedville, North Carolina:

  • You hear about that tsunami killing all those folks in Japan? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about those forest fires in Arizona? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about the water shortage in California? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about someone shooting up the Episcopal church? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about the KKK guy assassinating the President? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about ____________________? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.

Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority ramped up the culture war in the late 1970’s.  Since then, groups like the American Family Association, Family Research Council, Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Traditional Values Coalition, and Focus on the Family, have presented a long list of societal ills that upset God and his chosen ones on earth: abortion, taking prayer out of school, taking the Ten Commandments out of school, teaching evolution, taking Bible reading out of school, etc. Like the petulant, violent child stomping their feet and throwing toys when other children won’t play the game by their rules, God is pouring out his wrath and judgment on the United States. Or so we are told.

we are gay

Have you ever noticed that these prophets of doom, gloom, and anal sex, keep getting richer?  Perhaps the culture war is really about money, about keeping this or that church and ministry afloat on prosperity sea. In other words, cultural change is good for business. According to Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association:

…This brings us to what the Supreme Court did to Muslims last Friday. The entire world knows exactly how the “religion of peace” deals with homosexuals: they tie them to chairs and throw them off eight story buildings, and then, if they survive the fall, stone them to death.

In fact, on Friday, the very day the Supreme Court handed down its abominable gay marriage ruling, ISIS threw four homosexuals off the roof of an apartment building, perhaps to stick a thumb in the eye of the United States.

The Muslim world justifies its attacks on the United States because they believe, not inaccurately, that we are the chief exporter of wickedness and decadence in the world. That’s why they call us the Great Satan. When we insult their god, their religion, their prophet, or their values they claim a divine sanction to punish us for our transgressions…

…But wait. The Supreme Court insulted and offended the entire Muslim world last Friday by celebrating and gushing over a sin that Muslims regard as so offensive to Allah that practitioners must be hurled to their death. (By the way, the great difference between Christians and Muslims with regard to homosexuals is that we want them healed while Muslims want them dead.)

The Supreme Court, perhaps unwittingly and carelessly, just gave the Muslim world another reason to attack us. And a terrorist attack appears imminent, perhaps even planned for this weekend. The FBI has set up command posts all over the country and is taking the threat so seriously that 4th of July leave has been canceled for every single agent.

If Muslims attack us, and refer in any way to our celebration of homosexuality as part of the reason, then according to liberals culpability must be laid at the feet of the Supreme Court.

So, the next time there is a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and there will be a next time, it’s all because of the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. No matter what ills befalls us, it will be blamed on, by Pastor Nutter, Sister Ignor and Brother Amus, the legalization of same-sex marriage.

This kind of thinking is the direct result of too much exposure to Fox News, Worldnet Daily, and the Sunday morning preaching of conspiracy nuts. Once entropy starts there is little that can be done to stop it. Brain cell after brain cell dies until all that is left is a mind unable to distinguish between fact and fiction. They become the Walking Dead.

holy war

 

Songs of Sacrilege: Jerry Falwell’s God by Roy Zimmerman

This is the twenty-sixth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Jerry Falwell’s God by Roy Zimmerman, an American satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Video Link

Lyrics

Jerry Falwell’s god was standing by the elevator while we were talking about the party, so we had to invite him.

Secretly, we were all wishing that he wouldn’t come, because he’s vengeful and jealous and he tends to smite people.

And, of course, he knew we were thinking that, so it made him all the more determined to show up and punish us.

And I wanted to invite my god, but I couldn’t find him.

But, Jerry Falwell’s god is hard to miss… the gossamer robe and the beard down to here, and the button that says, “What would Jesus do?”

And sure enough, day of the party, there he was at the door.

And he spoke, spaketh he, saying, “I AM COME.”

And I knew there was a joke there… but Jerry Falwell’s god will not be mocked.

So I said, “Come in.”

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

Now, I’m no heavenly host, but I throw a decent party, and there were people of all kinds there — black, white, Swedish, Norwegian, the whole human spectrum.

And right away, Jerry Falwell’s god found the two people who would listen to him and began spaking in a voice so loud, it made the Beastie Boys sound like the Vienna Boys Choir.

And he made the lame to walk.

And these were my friends, so they were still lame, but they could walk.

And he turned the loaves to fishes, and the Oreos to Hydrox.

And he divided up the room, divided he, saying “Gays here, lesbians here, pagans here, abortionists, feminists, civil libertarians, People for the American Way,” and frankly, some of us did not know where to stand.

I went with the lesbians.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

And he pointed his huge finger at each group in turn, saying, “I blame you, and you, and you, who have secularized society and cast me out of the town square,” and I thought, “Man you are the town square.”

He said, “Lo, I have lifted the Veil of Protection, for the end days are here, and the judgment is nigh, where I will draw the faithful to heaven and will leave the unrepentant to walk a desolate earth.” And I thought, “More polyester for the rest of us.”

And he spat fire, and he rained toads, and he brought forth seven bowls of seven plagues, and finally I just said, “Look, I’ll tell you one thing Jesus would not do.

Jesus would not wreck a guy’s party.

And Jesus would not preach hate.

And Jesus would not stand in the rubble and say, ‘I told you so.’

And Jesus would not use an international catastrophe to score points for some misogynistic, narrow, homophobic, anti-Semitic interpretation of his life and teaching.

And if people are jealous and judgmental and vengeful and violent, maybe it’s because you made them in your image.

And if people have cast you out of the town square, maybe it’s because you are a finger-pointing, moralizing, rageaholic, stone drag who gives deities a bad name!

And if people have turned away from your word, maybe it’s because you have spinach in your teeth!”

And he smote me.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

 

Women, the Doormat of the Church

women doormat

Many years ago, I was watching the Old Time Gospel Hour on TV.  At the time, the Old Time Gospel Hour was the flagship program of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Jerry Falwell.

Falwell was preaching about women and the Equal Rights Amendment.

I have never forgotten what he said:

We don’t believe in equal rights for women. We believe in superior rights for women. We believe in putting women on a pedestal.

I remember thinking, at the time, that makes a lot of sense. The Equal Rights Amendment was viewed as an attempt to blur the lines between the sexes; to make our culture unisex, which was considered by Evangelicals to be a grievous, damning sin.

The Evangelical pastors of my youth and college years taught me:

  • Women are to submit to men.
  • Women are best suited to be mothers and keepers of the home.
  • Women are emotional and men are logical.
  • Women should be discouraged from going to college because graduating from college makes it less likely that a woman will be a good mother and keeper of the home.
  • If a woman is insistent on going to college and refuses to marry the nice boy who sits behind her in church, then she should go to a Christian college. Her career choices? Pastor’s wife, single missionary, Christian school teacher.
  • Women are not suited for intellectual endeavors.
  • Women should not be involved in making major decisions. The decision maker in the home is the husband. The decision makers in the church are the men and political office is reserved for men.
  • Women are to conjugally perform whenever  their  husband demands it. Being tired from feeding the children, changing diapers, cleaning the house, homeschooling the children, and making sure the king of the home’s every need and whim is met, is no excuse for not joyfully having sex for three minutes before her God-fearing husband falls off to sleep.  If she doesn’t put out, she is risking her husband having an adulterous affair and it will be HER fault.

The above social strictures showed up in uncounted sermons. Is it any wonder so many Evangelical marriages are dysfunctional; that women schooled in such an environment have difficultly functioning in the real world?

Even in my marriage, I was a typical “I am the boss, chief decision-maker, you submit to me” husband. I made ALL the decisions. For twenty years this is how we “did” marriage. Gradually, as I became more liberal in my understanding of life, I realized how hurtful this was to women in general and to my dear wife in particular.

For many years, Polly found it hard to make decisions. She told me one time that  she was “afraid to make decisions because she might might make a wrong decision and then you’ll be mad at me.” I said “Yep. That’s the price of admission. Making decisions means you might piss someone off.”  As a supervisor where she works, she is required to make decisions that inevitably leave one or more parties unhappy. When she comes home discouraged by the response of this or that person, I remind her of what Colin Powell said about leadership:

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

Bit by bit, I see Polly throwing off the bondage of yesteryear, but I do wonder if she’ll ever be totally free from teachings of the past. (I know I’m not) Submit. Obey. Do what your husband says. He is the head of the home. It is hard to shake such indoctrination.

Is marriage really a partnership when only one partner decides everything? Certainly, we each have strengths and weaknesses. I am not about to enter my wife’s kitchen. First, we will all starve. Second, she is a far better cook than I will ever be in ten lifetimes. On the other hand, I pay the bills, write the checks, and manage the money.  Thanks to my business background, I am good at handling money, bills, and debt and I am able to analyze numbers on the fly. So, I do what I am good at and so does Polly.  Our marriage is a partnership of equals, each doing those things that best serve the partnership. (on a funnier note, she’d rather mow the grass and I’d rather clean the house)

There is ONE area I refuse to relinquish control, the remote control!!  It’s mine. Don’t touch it. If I died today, Polly would never watch TV again because she has no clue and little interest in how the remote works. She can run a sewing machine and do all sorts of intricate stitches,  but ask her to change a TV program or set up a recording and suddenly she’s the young woman wooing her man, hoping he’ll do what she wants him to.

I digress…

How did Jerry Falwell’s superior rights for women work out practically in the church?

You be the judge. Does what follows seem superior to you?

  • Women sang in the choir and did special music numbers
  • Women played the piano and organ
  • Women cleaned the church
  • Women worked in the nursery
  • Women taught children in Sunday school and Jr church
  • Women cooked food for potlucks and church meals
  • Women cleaned the church
  • Women took meals to shut-ins
  • Women did any menial work at the church that needed done

This list looks very similar to what was expected of women at home.

Women were not permitted to be pastors, deacons, elders, or teach older children. They were not allowed to teach any group of people that had adult men in it. Doing so would violate the Biblical command for a woman to never usurp the place/authority of a man. After all, God/Jesus is a man, as were the apostles.  End of discussion.

Granted, there is great improvement in some sectors of the Christian church when it comes to how women are treated.  Women can now be pastors, elders, deacons, worship leaders, etc. Women teach theology at some Christian colleges. Thanks to feminism, women have a lot more opportunities than they did years ago. But, the church still has a long ways to go.(i.e the Catholic Church is still in the 12th century) Vast swaths of the Evangelical church still actively practice the repression of women, They sincerely believe they are following the teachings of the Bible when they do so. If God said it…end of discussion. As a result, thousands of churches continue to be man only institutions.

One church I co-pastored wouldn’t even allow women to speak in a public church business meeting. If they had a question they were required to whisper the question to a man and he would ask the question. I visited a Mennonite church years ago where the women sat on one side and the men on the other. Keeping to the mantra that women should never lead, when the congregation sang the women always started singing one note after the men. (that said, the singing was spectacular)

In the early 1970’s, my mother gave me an important lesson in equal rights for all. She worked as a nurses aide for Winebrenner Nursing Home, a Church of God owned facility in Findlay Ohio. Female aides were paid less than male aides because the male aides did more of the “heavy” work. However, as my mom found out,  both sexes did the “heavy” work.

So my Mom, ever the crusader, sued Winebrenner in federal court.  At the time, to a fifteen year old teenager, it seemed so silly. There was only a few coins difference in the wages, why bother, I thought at the time.  I was so embarrassed when the lawsuit story hit the front page of the newspaper. But, she was right. Winebrenner was discriminatory in their treatment of women. My mother filed a federal lawsuit under the Title 7 provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The court agreed and my mother won her lawsuit. While I was embarrassed while this was being aired out in public,  I now see how brave my mother was; to stand up for what was right; to dare demand that women  be treated equally.

We still have a long way to go on the issue of equality. Women are still treated as inferior to men. The glass ceiling exists, regardless of whether troglodytes like Phyllis Schlafly can see it. Yes, things are BETTER,  but we should not rest until we are a society that is blind to gender, sexual orientation, race, and religion. Utopian? Perhaps. Justice and fairness require that we press forward even when it seems failure is certain. That’s one lesson my mom taught me, one that I will never forget.