Newspaper editorial writers and columnists across the country blasted Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for their recent comments on the terrorist attacks against America. Here's a sampling:
Meet the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Pat Robertson, America's Taliban. Falwell and Robertson threw salt into the nation's wounds last week.... It's hard to know whether to laugh at these guys or to weep over their maliciously divisive comments at a time of national need. Instead of hearing words that might ease their pain, the families of those who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were told by Falwell and Robertson that their loved ones pretty much had it coming to them.... Afghanistan's Taliban may be a sect of religious fanatics, but at least they don't own a TV network.
Wisconsin State Journal
Hostile, Hurtful And Shameful
Crises don't so much create character as reveal it. In this case, Falwell and Robertson have been revealed as hostile and hurtful toward others at a time when countless other members of the clergy as well as mental health professionals and other counselors -- are doing their best to provide comfort and support in a time of national grief. It's shameful.
The Kansas City Star
Even by Mr. Falwell's own standards of intolerance, these comments were breathtakingly hateful. Evil exists of man, not God. It is the duty of the righteous to stand against it, not to make it worse. Someone Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson both claim to know once said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Befouling The Gospel
As a person who imagines himself to be Christian, and who likes to humor himself as being moderately conservative when it comes to religion, let me profess that the "Christianity" of Jerry Falwell reeks with a nauseating stench to my spiritual being. The words of the gospel as uttered by preacher Falwell befoul the sweetness and light of the gospel of Our Lord.... One wonders why Falwell gets so much attention in the media when he makes so little sense.
Rickard Allin, in The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Americans Shouldn't Forget
Americans may forgive this pair their transgressions, as they have in the past, but this is one they can't afford to forget. They should remember that when they were grieving, when they were frightened, when they were in need of spiritual guidance, these two prominent religious leaders told them they got what they deserved. They said God might decide they deserve worse. And they told them to blame their feminist, civil libertarian, liberal, homosexual, secularized neighbors. Fortunately, neither man speaks for most Christians, any more than Osama bin Laden speaks for most Muslims.
Peoria Journal Star
Nauseating And Revolting
[T]his is a secular society governed not by theology but a practical system of man-made laws, no matter what Falwell thinks. Professing to speak for God and blaming the Sept. 11 tragedy on civil libertarians, women, the federal courts and every other group he dislikes is beyond imbecilic. At a time when we need unity, it is divisive. It is nauseating, revolting, shameful. No words suitable for a family newspaper can possibly express the depth of my outrage.... [President George W.] Bush should personally condemn Falwell's insane remarks in the strongest terms, disown both men as political allies and make it clear that he is angry at this display of intolerance.
Marianne Means, in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Using God For Their Purposes
The deadly mix of religion and politics has led to bloodshed throughout history. A supreme deity has been called on to bless unspeakable acts of carnage, as was most certainly the case with the Sept. 11 hijackers. Falwell and Robertson are using God for their own intolerant purposes, just as the Taliban is. They've revealed themselves for what they really are, and with any luck the nation will send them into the obscurity they so richly merit.
Judy Mann, in The Washington Post
Messengers Of Bigotry
Nestled safe within the multi-million dollar castles of hypocrisy they have built in the name of Christianity in order to forward their political and personal agendas, these messengers of hatred and bigotry kicked the nation while it was down on Friday.... It's unconscionable and unforgivable and we as a thinking and reasoning people should turn our backs on these false prophets once and for all.
News Leader (Shenandoah Valley, Va.)