Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Jerry Falwell, a leading spokesperson for the Christian Right has died at the age of 73. In death, it would seem that he is creating almost as much controversy as he did during his life. While some are mourning the loss of a great Christian leader, others could not be happier at his passing. Both responses are understandable even if they should not be regarded as reasonable.

So, what's my take? Personally, I was deeply distressed by his agenda and the fact that he has now died isn't going to change that. This said, I don't believe that I am in any position to judge him as a person. I say this for three reasons:

  1. Jesus teaches us that we should not judge, lest we be judged
  2. I too am a flawed human being
  3. Every individual has a story that explains the way they act

It is particularly on this third point that I would like to comment. One of the things I've learnt much more acutely during the last year or so of responding to blogs and now blogging myself is that people are more than merely the sum total of their opinions. Sometimes in the impersonal world of blogging, we can treat individuals as opinions needing to be critiqued rather than people needing to be loved. This is an entirely wrong-headed approach. The people we meet on the blogosphere are people with back stories. They have families. They have hopes and dreams and desires. They have had their hearts broken, been disappointed by friends and have suffered the pain and loss of the death of loved ones. It is for this reason that I seek to get people to tell me their respective stories so that I might be able to understand where they are coming from, even if I do not agree with them.

So, with the abovementioned considerations in mind, who are we to judge Jerry Falwell? What do we know of him as a person? Was he not human, just like us, subject to the same weaknesses and frailities that we ourselves are?

After all is said and done, let us remember that we too have stories that have shaped and moulded the way that we understand and relate to the world ...

1 comment:

Dr. Chaotica said...


Firstly, according to the Bible we are all to be judged, so that would give us the right to judge.

Secondly, everyone has a story is a contradiction as a moral defence. Unless of course one is taking a position that everyone is righteous, or at least that a postmodern view of morality solves for everyone being righteous from their own point of view.