Thursday, August 25, 2005

Falwell: Civil Rights For Gays Is An American Value!

The Reverend Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and long-time opponent of gay civil rights, has had a change of heart--a big change of heart. During a recent appearance on MSNBC's, "The Situation With Tucker Carlson", Falwell spoke out in favor of gay civil rights for the first time reports the Washington Blade. Falwell announced his support in the context of a question from the show's host, Tucker Carlson, about whether he was troubled by news that John Roberts had assisted gay activists in preparing to argue the landmark gay civil rights case, Romer v. Evans, to which he responded that he was not at all troubled. When Carlson commented to Falwell that conservatives were always against "special rights" for gays, Falwell responded, "Well, housing and employment are not special rights. I think—I think the right to live somewhere and to live where you please or to work where you please, as long as you‘re not bothering anybody else, is a basic right, not a—not a special right."

But Falwell didn't stop there. He continued, "[C]ivil rights for all Americans, black, white, red, yellow, the rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight, et cetera, is not a liberal or a conservative value. It‘s an American value that I would think that we pretty much all agree on." Wow--if Rev. Falwell finally gets it, then there must be real hope out there.

Why the change of heart you might ask? The Washington Blade attributes the change of heart to the lobbying efforts of a former Falwell aide, Mel White, who worked closely with Falwell and ghost-wrote his auto-biography. White and his partner, Gary Nixon, founded the activist group Soulforce, which seeks to free gays from religious oppression and is based in Lynchburg, Va., near Falwell's church according to the report. Soulforce has done extensive outreach to Falwell according to the story. White and Nixon moved into a rented house across the street from Falwell's church in 2001, after they realized that Falwell was not going to change his views and accept gays without long-term persuasion the Washington Blade story reported. "I think last month when he dealt with his heart condition, he got closer to his maker," Nixon said. "And I think he knows in his heart that what he was doing is wrong."

The next time you hear Micah Clark, Eric Miller or any of the other Christian fundamentalists talking about "special rights" for gays and lesbians tell them what Rev. Falwell has to say: Civil rights for gays is a basic right and an American value. The support for your cause can come from the strangest places sometimes, but it's all good.

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