March 30, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

More than a few people are reveling in the fact that Rev. Jerry Falwell is in a Lynchburg, VA hospital in critical condition with his second case of viral pneumonia in just over a month.

Falwell, the outspoken, often boorish founder of the Moral Majority, is blamed for claiming AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality and societies who tolerate them, and was the butt of many jokes (look, there goes one now!) for his odd crusade against Tinky Winky, a children's show character that Falwell blasted for being a gay role model. Among his most controversial statements was this one assigning blame just days after 9/11:

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: you helped this happen."
Not surprisingly, Falwell has made plenty of enemies who would like to see him out of the picture. What is surprising is that liberal gay activists who have long been his greatest enemies are now using oppressive tactics the Rev. Falwell would doubtlessly approve of to silence their own critics.

Despite his laundry list of homophobic comments over the years, Falwell was apparently unable to turn the other cheek (hey, another one!) himself when someone else made comments at his expense, leading to charges of libel, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in what led to a First Amendment Supreme Court case immortalized in the movie, The People vs. Larry Flynt.

Now, a prominent politically liberal gay activist named Michael Rogers is using Falwellesque claims of defamation and intimidation to stifle free speech on conservative blogs GayPatriot and LimeShurbert because these blogs claimed that Rogers and fellow liberal activist John Aravosis were "gay terrorists" for their practice of "outing" campaigns targeting closeted gay Republicans. LimeShurburt went so far as to create a poster from GayPatriot's comments, which is being picked up and promoted by free speech advocates around the web.

Jerry Falwell and Michael Rogers both use their political influence to attack gays, and both have tried to stifle the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with their radical views.

Blind fanatical hate makes strange bedfellows indeed.

Notes: I first heard of this issue from this Instapundit post, and also found this followup on Instapundit as well. An impressive list of bloggers right and left is developing that are supporting AlphaPatriot and LimeShurburt, including: Classical Values, Gay Orbit, Haight Speech, The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Yippe-Ki-Yay!, The Jawa Report, and many more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 30, 2005 11:58 AM | TrackBack