Jerry Falwell was a religious man.
Jerry Falwell lived according to his principles.
This, we will hear over and over again.
Being religious doesn't make you a good person. A life lived according to principles is only as good a life as those principles allow.
Jerry Falwell thought we deserved 9-11 and Katrina and he thought that because he's an anti-homosexual bigot. That was one of his principles: that it's bad to be gay.
Jerry Falwell thought that a Teletubbie was gay and indoctrinating toddlers in all matters of Gaydom.
Jerry Falwell can't take a joke and in that he made his best contribution to society by losing a lawsuit against Larry Flynt in front of the Supreme Court.
So if the rules of polite society dictate that I have to say something nice about Jerry Falwell then I want to thank him for the thin-skinned crusade over a joke that would have been forgotten and for all he did for free speech by fighting and failing.
In his most bitter defeat, he gave us a boon.
If there's a heaven and Jerry Falwell is in it, that's the only thing that would have gotten him past St. Peter. Too bad I don't believe in that stuff. It would be fun to imagine.
(Falwell stands nervously at the gates to heaven. St. Peter sees him and laughs.)
St. Peter: Bet you're worried.
Falwell: Actually, I little. I know I shouldn't be...
St. Peter: Oh, you should be. Racism, homophobia, illegal use of donated proceeds for political purposes, a willingness to take money from poor people who could ill-afford to send you their hard-earned money...
Falwell: I thought I was doing the Lord's work.
St. Peter: Jerry, we're talking about God here. If he wanted money from poor people he'd just, you know, take it.
St. Peter: But, you did help free speech.
Falwell: I did?
St. Peter: Not on purpose. You were trying to stop it. But that's why we like you, Jer. Your incompetence outweighs your misdeeds.
(The gates open.)
St. Peter: You will, uh, have to do about ten million years community service. Mostly picking up trash and cleaning the mansions of dead homosexuals. You don't have a problem with that, do you?
Falwell: No sir. No, not at all.
St. Peter: And, for once, try to do a good job. We can always change our minds and send you somewhere else.
St. Peter: Baghdad. You know, on second thought, you should clean the mansions of the war-dead as well. Only fair.