By now you are all aware of the passing of Dr. Jerry Falwell. While I had occasional disagreements with him, I am more than thankful for his passion for his Savior and hope that I can be counted as faithful as Falwell when I come to the end of my life. As I was reading today about Falwell’s life I came across the following from a CNN.com article remembering Falwell. I don’t know what to say, really, other than I thought it was an interesting, and stimulating quote.
“Fundamentalists had been a separatist movement,” Harding [Susan Friend Harding, a professor of anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz] says, “which was stigmatized even by other Protestants” for three-quarters of a century, ever since their “self-imposed exile” after the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, which was ostensibly about the teaching of evolution in the schools, but in effect put fundamentalist intolerance on trial. “Falwell openly and actively disavowed the separatism.”
Before Falwell, in the world of fundamentalist evangelicals, Harding says, “being a minister or a missionary was the highest calling. Now it’s to be a Supreme Court justice, or the president of the United States. Or a lawyer, doctor, corporate executive, journalist, filmmaker, you name it. It even means being a teacher — including of biology — in all the school systems.”
Falwell helped break down the walls of the separatism in many ways. “True fundamentalists didn’t have friendships, even with other fundamentalists who associated with non-fundamentalists,” Harding says. “Falwell said this was wrong; we’re going to stop having religious tests. He included you if you supported his agenda — an agenda that involved attacking other groups.”