Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell by Larry Flint

The Reverend Jerry Falwell exemplifies the essence of what we should be as believers living in this increasingly darkened world. Here is a statement about him that I found to be quite interesting:

"The Reverend Jerry Falwell and I were arch enemies for fifteen years. We became involved in a lawsuit concerning First Amendment rights and Hustler magazine. Without question, this was my most important battle ? the l988 Hustler Magazine, Inc., v. Jerry Falwell case, where after millions of dollars and much deliberation, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in my favor. My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling. The most important result of our relationship was the landmark decision from the Supreme Court that made parody protected speech, and the fact that much of what we see on television and hear on the radio today is a direct result of my having won that now famous case which Falwell played such an important role in.” --Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler Magazine

The famous lawsuit came after the magazine used Jerry’s photo in an ad for a certain brand of liquor along with a parody (Fake interview) with him about his "first time." The story was particularly graphic and lewd, not to mention insulting. Falwell sued the magazine over character defamation, probably more in an attempt to stand against the whole of the porn industry than to save his own name. What I love about the quote from Larry Flint is that even though Jerry cost him millions in legal fees, and stood against everything he is, the Spirit of God still allowed Jerry to minister grace. We often talk about hating the sin and loving the sinner. This is what it looks like fleshed out. The difficulty that we face today is a growing trend towards either of two extremes. The fightin’ fundamentalist who spews venom on everyone or the bleeding heart liberal who approve those who practice the sin. I pray that I can always stay unspotted from the world and stand for right even when it is unpopular, but I also pray that on my passing, even my greatest enemy will write such a statement of me. That through my opposition to their sin, the grace and the love of God overcomes.