MCC's Rev. Nancy Wilson once debated Rev. Jerry Falwell on the national (U.S.) late-night "Ron Reagan Show" hosted by Ron Reagan Jr., and on July 6, 1983, Rev. Troy Perry took part in a national (Canadian) debate on HIV and AIDS with Jerry Falwell on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. You can view the CBC archival video on-line at http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-70-413-2376/disasters_tragedies/early_aids/.
May 15, 2007
Today we join with people of faith and conscience everywhere in expressing our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died of heart failure while in his office at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is noteworthy that Jerry Falwell, once an adamant voice against the involvement in politics by people of faith, later become the face and voice most associated with conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism and its political influence in the United States.It is a sad truth to also note today that Jerry Falwell became one of the faces and voices most associated with religion-based condemnation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. While his passing most certainly brings sorrow to many, any honest appraisal of his life must also note that his work and words brought needless suffering to many LGBT people.
In our interactions over many years with Rev. Falwell, we came to believe two things about his views of LGBT people: 1) they were sincerely held and 2) they were sincerely wrong.Instead, we found that the Jesus of Scripture never supported the judgment and exclusion too often perpetrated by religious leaders throughout history. Like those who experienced rejection in Jesus' day, we, too, have found in Jesus a message of hope, and acceptance, and love.Today, we call upon people of faith and goodwill to ask simply that you join us in praying for Rev. Falwell's family. Join with us in praying that he, himself, will find peace in eternity.
We trust, as St. Paul said of the human condition, that though he saw dimly and understood many things, including God's gifts of diverse sexual orientations, with only partial insight, in the light of eternity and in the presence of God's unconditional love, he will now see and understand clearly. In this Light, we trust that he will now join the angels and saints in praying for all our sad divisions to cease.As we acknowledge the passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell, we recommit ourselves to pray for the healing and spiritual restoration of all who experienced pain and rejection from his teachings, and to MCC's vital mission of sharing the message of God's unconditional love with all of God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.
+ Rev. Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator & +Rev. Troy Perry, Founder and Moderator Emeritus
This statement prepared in conjunction with MCC's Global Justice Team, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.