To the editor:
When we look up to individuals whom we hold in high esteem, we have the collective ability to see only the attributes we want.
Whether you saw the late Rev. Jerry Falwell as a shining example of Christian virtue, or a rigid, intolerant ultraconservative, he was a man of fierce religious conviction. Yet in praising his Moral Majority and numerous Christian charities he supported, many of his extremely divisive and hateful statements are ignored.
Rev. Falwell blamed the 9/11 attacks on feminists, gays and liberals, and stated that the Antichrist is a male Jew already among us, Teletubby Tinky Winky was a gay role model aimed toward children and the AIDS epidemic was God's wrath for homosexuality.
His rigid condemnations of these "moral abominations" led his 6.5 million followers to believe a "true Christian" must adopt those same intolerant precepts. I was taught from a young age that Christianity was faith, hope and the belief in the goodness of God. I know that Rev. Falwell's religious convictions were sincere - yet in these times of uncertainty, fear and hopelessness, such intolerant fundamentalism only fans the flames of intolerance, discrimination and hatred.
Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist - no matter your beliefs, now more than ever, we need to embrace the teachings of compassion, inclusion and forgiveness. It's a shame that we don't hold all our role models to those tenets. It's a shame that Rev. Falwell wasn't held to them either. Nevertheless, may God bless him.