The same people who have been telling me for years that Jerry Falwell is an anachronistic irrelevance are now singing his praises as a pivotal figure in American politics and culture. Presumably that's why all the Republican candidates had to bow the knee at the moment of his passing. Hugh Hewitt recommends this reminiscence by Al Mohler. Money quote:
As a 16-year-old boy, I was in the crowd at the convention center in Miami Beach when Dr. Falwell joined singer Anita Bryant in holding a rally to involve Christians in the struggle against a gay rights ordinance adopted by Dade County. I had never heard of Jerry Falwell until that night - and after that experience I would never forget him.
What was that ordinance? Wiki tells me
In 1977, Florida's Dade County (now Miami-Dade County) passed a human-rights ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In response to this, Bryant led a highly publicized campaign to repeal the ordinance. The campaign was waged based on "Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of “homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation."
Indeed, the concerns over "homosexual recruitment" of children inspired the name of Bryant's political organization, Save Our Children. Among Bryant's assertions during the campaign were "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children" and "If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters." On June 7, 1977, Bryant's campaign led to a repeal of the anti-discrimination ordinance by a margin of 69 to 31 percent.
Not marriage; not hate crimes: just a basic anti-discrimination ordinance. And she opposed it by accusing gay people of being pedophiles, out to molest other people's children. This was the occasion for a spiritual epiphany for Albert Mohler. Thanks, Jerry, for the memories.
(Photo: Karl Rove, chief political advisor to President Bush, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell attend commencement of Falwell's Liberty University May 8, 2004 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rove, who received an honorary doctorate in the humanities, told graduates to have the courage to "do what's right, regardless of consequence, fashion or fad." By Eric Brady/Getty Images.)