That said, I also struggle with the right's deification of the man. This evening I brewed a batch of beer for the first time in a year. During the process, you have a lot of time to watch tv, so I flipped through the channels only to find James Dobson talking about how brave Falwell was--how he refused to be cowed by political correctness--yet, according to Dobson he did it with no malice or hatred.
Yeah. When he blamed liberals, feminists, gays, etc., for allowing 9-11, he meant it in a good way.
I won't cheer his death. His family is grieving right now and I respect that. But neither should we lie about what he did.
Update: Greg at the parish has the best take, I think:
"If there is an epitaph for Falwell it would be, 'He left the state of the debate far worse than he found it.' Still, the man accomplished much, and it would be dishonest to fail to mention the many shelters, crisis centers and homes for single mothers his ministry provided. Enigmatic, bombastic, and hateful to his core, he still occasionally caught a vision of what Christianity could be. Alas, it was tied up in the whole Protestant fundangelical bloody Jesus God will send 'em to hell kind of Christianity. With his death, we can hope that a kinder voice emerges, but I won't be holding my breath."