An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell

December 09, 2005

Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, has written an open letter to Jerry Falwell about the supposed "war on Christmas." Americans United: An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell He seems to peg Falwell's motivations very well. Here are a couple of highlights:

"Here’s some news: There is no 'war on Christmas!'"

"I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen a time that Christians observe as a season of peace and good will and turned it into a time of religious divisiveness and community conflict. Your 'Friend or Foe' campaign may be great for fund-raising and publicity, but it has sown discord unnecessarily."

"I think we all know what’s really going on with your campaign. You want an America where there is no separation of church and state and where your rather narrow interpretation of Christianity is forced on everyone. If you can convince Americans that their cherished Christmas traditions are under fire, you think maybe they will join your nefarious crusade to tear down the protective church-state wall that guarantees our freedoms."

"Many people remember the outrageous comments you made after the 9/11 terrorist assaults, suggesting that America had it coming because of our (in your opinion) sinful ways. They also remember your dire warning that Tinky Winky, a kids’ TV character, was brainwashing our children into homosexuality! You can’t rehabilitate an image like that by trying to depict yourself as Father Christmas."

"Since I debated you about the Christmas issue on Fox News Channel’s 'O’Reilly Factor,' I have received 66 nasty e-mails, including two death threats. Observed one of my correspondents, 'Hope you die soon. Merry Christmas.' Jerry, this is the kind of interfaith and community hostility that you are stirring up, and I implore you to stop it now. You are polluting the public square with animosity and anger. And at Christmas, of all times!! Have you no decency?"


Amen!

Thanks to the Dark Christianity blog for pointing this one out.

6 comments

  1. Hmmm, do you know what Barry Lynn believes?

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  2. Anonymous9:19 AM

    I must say, that if you attempting to change the world for the cause of Christianity, your attempts seem to be ineffective. You are just as harsh and judgmental as some of those you have opposed. This is a ridiculous waste of my time and I'm mad at myself for even reading it.

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  3. Roger,

    I am not sure what you are suggesting. I do know much of what Lynn believes, but I am not saying I agree with him on all issues. However, I do think he makes a good point here.

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  4. Anonymous (I wish you would be willing to stand by your remarks),

    Thanks for the post and your concern. I am not sure why you posted it on this remark since I did not really say anything. This one was simply quoting Barry Lynn.

    For the blog overall you might have a point about me being harsh and judgmental, though I try to moderate it with humor. However, read Matthew 23 and I think you'll find I am much nicer to misguided religious leaders than Jesus was.

    So what's your idea about how we should react? What should I do? Sit around, do nothing, and allow Christianity to be misrepresented to the world? Sit around, do nothing, and allow people to be driven away from God? I am not perfect, but I believe my efforts are better than doing nothing.

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  5. No, I don't think you should sit around and do nothing - when there are REAL, serious issues. I don't know your exact thoughts on Barry Lynn and how much or in what way you support his ideas, so it's hard for me to comment without generalizing. I myself don't support Barry Lynn because of his involvement in the AU.

    You said you don't want to have Christianity be misrepresented to the world, but that is exactly what you are doing. There's nothing wrong with humor and I wasn't suggesting that. I think you need to be careful with some of the words that you use or who you choose to support. At the same time, I think it is important for you to be careful of judging and condemning others. Yes, Jesus did address some serious issues in Matthew 23 - he was teaching them and us how to act as godly leaders, not teaching you how to judge. In fact, please, by all means correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the following scripture make my point concrete?

    6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

    So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:6-7

    Oh, and about my being anonymous - does it really even matter what my name is. For your satisfaction, I will give you one - does Mike work?

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  6. Mike,

    Thanks for continuing the discussion. The original post was not supporting Lynn, just his words in this one case.

    You are correct in noting that Jesus was teaching us with His words how to act as godly leaders in Matthew 23. But Jesus was also teaching us by His example how to act when our leaders are not acting godly. Much as the prophets had pointed out the errors of political and religious leaders, and similar to how Paul would later publicly rebuke Peter for misrepresenting the faith. This task is still our responsibility today so that God’s Kingdom may be advanced.

    As far as the passage you mentioned, it is not included in early manuscripts and thus most theologians suggest it was actually added by someone else later, as was the end of the book of Mark. I would be very hesitant to use a questionable passage as my foundation or guide. For instance, the added part of Mark is the only passage that talks about handling snakes and be okay—I will not, however, because it is likely that passage does not actually belong in the Bible and thus the promise of the verse is wrong.

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