Vital Signs

Throwing Off the Yoke

As a display of “America Standing Together,” “Everybody Pile on Falwell” was even more dramatic a spectacle than “Three Firemen Holding the Flag.”  Following televised remarks by the founder of the Moral Majority to the effect that the terrorist attacks of September 11 conveyed God’s wrath against a nation that has been commandeered by heretics and Satanists promoting abortion, homosexuality, pornography, adultery, fornication, and other godless practices warned against in the Good Book, the establishment right, from President Bush on down to William F. Buckley, Jr., joined the shocked, affronted left in denouncing Falwell’s vulgar, divisive bigotry.  (The prophet Jeremiah was thrown down a well for less.) 

Granted—as pious critics pointed out—no man should presume to speak for God—unless, of course, he’s been divinely appointed to do so (a possibility left widely unconsidered in the case of the Reverend Falwell).  Granted also, Jerry Falwell’s career has smacked more of the role of God’s publicist than of His prophet.  Still, it does not take a prophet to recall God’s historical interventions against a people He wishes to chastise—just a Bible reader.  And, if the notion of direct intervention in human affairs on the part of the Almighty offends your modernized theological sensibilities, there’s always...

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