STATEMENT FROM AMERICAN ATHEISTS CONCERNING
THE DEATH OF REV. JERRY FALWELL
ELLEN JOHNSON, President of American Atheists issued the following
statement this afternoon regarding the death of televangelist Jerry Falwell.
"While we recognize and respect the grief of friends and relatives, it
must be acknowledged in the wake of Rev. Falwell's death that he and the
organizations he founded, especially the so-called Moral Majority, were
serious threats to our Constitution and, specifically, the separation of
church and state."
"Jerry Falwell was instrumental in galvanizing millions of American
evangelicals into an intolerant, sectarian and authoritarian political
movement. Gays, women, secularists, civil-libertarians and other groups
who did not fit in to his plan to construct 'One Nation Under God' were
stigmatized and attacked. Civil liberties were in jeopardy. Falwell
and other religious right leaders advanced their political agenda in the
name of Christianity, while demonizing their opponents."
"Perhaps the most ignominious moment in Falwell's career was his
appearance with Rev. Pat Robertson on a television program which blamed
the terrorist attacks of September 11 not on Islamic fundamentalist
fanatics, but on a wide swath of the American people -- women (because
of their support for abortion), gay and lesbian Americans, and
individuals and organizations like American Atheists which labor for the
separation of church and state."
"We cannot and must not lionize Rev. Jerry Falwell because he is now
dead. We expect that some politicians beholden to the religious right,
who perhaps owe their political careers in part to Falwell, will praise
him for his religiosity or avuncular style. The truth is, however,
that the Rev. Jerry Falwell was a dangerous man who opposed and worked
against many of the key values underpinning our secular American democracy.:
-- Ellen Johnson, President
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for
Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and
addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.
American Atheists, Inc.
P. O. Box 5733
Parsippany, NJ 07054-6733
Tel.: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402