Sunday, September 23, 2001
Open letter to Jerry Falwell
Dear Mr. Falwell:
I hope you won't mind my contacting you, but I feel as if I know you. Especially since your remarks following the attack on America.
While the rest of us were reeling, you took the opportunity to spread your version of the Gospel on national television. Now, I want to make sure to get this right because there's nothing worse than being quoted out of context. You told Pat Robertson's 700 Club audience:
I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, and the ACLU, People for the American Way all of them who have tried to secularize America I point the finger in their faces and say, "You helped this happen.'
Boy, you sure don't mince words. And your context seems abundantly clear.
By the way, I caught your very clever apology, in which you called your remarks insensitive and ill-timed. You did not, of course, say that your remarks were wrong. This will allow you to revisit this line of thinking when it is more timely and our emotions are not so raw, when we're not quite so sensitive.
Sometimes we reveal our true character in a crisis, don't you think? For instance, you can talk about bravery until you are red, white and blue in the face, but your true colors really show when the chips are down. Like those guys on United Flight 93 who decided to do something.
Nobody alive knows for sure, but officials think four passengers stormed the cockpit and saved not only lives on the ground but the U.S. Capitol. One of those passengers, by the way, was a 6-foot-5 rugby player by the name of Mark Bingham.
Who was gay.
And in New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani plunged in with gallantry and guts when his city was attacked. And the president rallied not only his staff and the leaders of Congress, but the American people. All of them.
A Methodist himself, President Bush visited a mosque shortly after the attack. He quoted from the Quran and encouraged everybody to pray, but he didn't demand that we all say the same one. I'll bet you are thinking of taking him off your Christmas card list.
Outing Donald Duck
You can't be too vigilant, as I think you proved when you outed the purple Teletubby, Tinky Winky. I wondered at the time why you didn't also investigate Snow White and her dwarf love nest. You can't tell me there wasn't something between that floozie and Sneezy. Doc bunks a little too close to Bashful to suit me. And who does Donald Duck think he's fooling in his prissy little sailor hat and middy blouse with no pants?
Sinners. All of them. And I hope you just keep pointing that pudgy little finger of yours.
This may cost you an invitation to the ceremony which is being discussed to honor some of the heroes of Sept. 11. I mean, what if they accidentally put you next to, say, Mark Bingham's mom? What if you bumped into a firefighter or Rudolph Giuliani and were forced to point your finger in their faces and tell them that essentially New York was just asking for this?
Anyway, sir, I just can't thank you enough for the reminder that religious zealots can be an ugly and dangerous lot. And they can turn up where you least expect them.
E-mail Laura at email@example.com or call 768-8393.
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