How does a conservative columnist remain in good standing at the
That's what Michael Gerson did on March 19 in an otherwise excellent column taking apart Barack Obama's
In “A Speech that Fell Short,” Gerson likened the late Rev. Jerry Falwell to the America-hating, racist, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Lest I be accused myself of demonizing Barack Obama's former pastor and mentor, please recall that even his defenders don't deny the documented record that has emerged this week. It's quite shocking.
Since Dr. Falwell is not around to defend himself against such a scurrilous comparison, I'll point out the problem.
First, unlike Wright, Jerry Falwell was no hater. After his most controversial moment, when he blamed pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups for 9-11 as God's punishment on
While opposing homosexual activism as a false and dangerous hijacking of the civil rights movement, Dr. Falwell took pains to explain the difference between sin and the sinner, and welcomed all people to his church. But gay activists and liberal media routinely painted him then and now as a “hater” and “bigot.” This week, Mr. Gerson joined the bashers, firing this vile shot:
Yet didn't George Bush and other Republicans accept the support of Jerry Falwell, who spouted hate of his own? Yes, but they didn't financially support his ministry and sit directly under his teaching for decades.
Whoa, Mr. Gerson. Do you mean to say that if the Republicans had attended Thomas Road Baptist Church, or perhaps Liberty University, where Dr. Falwell was founder and chancellor, that this would be morally equivalent to Obama's listening to Wright's racist, leftist rants for 17 years? That appears to be what you're saying. And what part of Rev. Falwell's defense of Biblical morality do you find hateful, by the way?
How is this different than John McCain chasing after Pat Robertson or the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, who talk about how we have a culture of murdering unborn children in this country and that we've turned into
Gerson and Cafferty are not alone in using crude caricatures of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Maybe this is some folks' way of appearing more enlightened than the people who still defend sexual morality. Similar cheap shots have surfaced in far more conservative venues than The Washington Post.
The next time you see this happen, just shake your head and say, “Yup. It's another Gersoning.”
If it happens on TV, you can say, “Yup. That person's being Caffertyed.
Or, if you prefer:
“It's another high-tech Gersoning.”
On second thought, forget it. I never did like name calling, just accurate descriptions.
As a Christian who also errs, I don't think Mr. Gerson or Mr. Cafferty are beyond redemption at all for their stunningly unfair comments about my friend Jerry Falwell.
But they might want to apologize to the Rev. Falwell's family and to Rev. Robertson and his family, not to mention the