Defending Jerry Falwell

At Politico, Joe Scarborough writes: "Since Jerry Falwell founded The Moral Majority in 1979, few things have unified American liberals as much as their contempt for self-righteous types who pushed a political agenda by attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Alas, whatever one's objections to Falwell's politics, I do not once recall him "attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Yes, he criticized their moral reasonings. Yes, he felt betrayed especially by Jimmy Carter, the first "born again" president who, in Falwell's eyes, gave Baptists a bad name. But, he never denounced Carter's faith, or Ted Kennedy's, or any other politician. He was highly critical of other evangelists, especially Pentecostals, on religious grounds but those criticisms had nothing to do with politics.

The habit of some rightwing zealots today have adopted of impugning President Obama's faith, or some leftwing zealots today have of impugning Mitt Romney;s faith, is truly ugly. It is not truly Falwellian.


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