Jerry Falwell is dead but his political legacy of hate and discrimination lives on among the fundamentalists. As the face of the original, now-defunct Moral Majority, Falwell built this political action committee by exploiting fear and ignorance. Anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-science, Falwell -- along with his friends in the Republican party -- spread anger, bigotry and intolerance all the while hiding behind God and a twisted interpretation of "family values."
Having grown up a gay Baptist, I know first-hand about the hypocritical "family values" Falwell espoused in order to further his own political power and influence. And make no mistake, it was all about political power and influence. From stealing PTL from poor Tammy Faye to calling Desmond Tutu a "phony" to saying "AIDS is the wrath of a just God;" his own hypocrisy as a supposed man of God is simply astounding -- not to mention irrational, lest we forget the Tinky Winky debacle.
But Falwell's death also gives us reason to reflect on the positive. In spite of all the venom Falwell spent his life so generously spreading around, gay people are now successful and visible in all walks of life -- out-of-the-closet, living their lives with dignity and self-worth. From the majority of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits for their gay employees to anti-hate legislation being passed all around the country to lesbians hosting popular talk-shows, try as he might, Falwell could not ultimately stop the movement of a nation toward equality. Why? Certainly not because he didn't try, but because his underlying message of hate and discrimination went against everything this great country was founded upon. Jerry Falwell is dead. Long live inclusion, freedom and equality.