I note that in Falwell's list of Americans he blamed for ejecting God from public life, only the gays got a qualifier. Falwell referred to gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle.
No Christian minister is going to preach that homosexuality is godly behavior, but Falwell didn't add any limiting qualifications to his condemnation of feminists, the ACLU or People for the American Way.
There have always been gay people -- even in the prelapsarian '50s that Jerry Falwell and I would like to return to, when God protected America from everything but ourselves.
What Falwell was referring to are the gay activists -- the ones who spit the Eucharist on the floor at St. Patrick's Cathedral, blamed Reagan for AIDS, and keep trying to teach small schoolchildren about "fisting."
Also the ones who promote the gay lifestyle in a children's cartoon.
Beginning in early 1998, the news was bristling with stories about a children's cartoon PBS was importing from Britain that featured a gay cartoon character, Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubbie with a male voice and a red handbag.
People magazine gleefully reported that Teletubbies was "aimed at Telebabies as young as one year. But teenage club kids love the products' kitsch value, and gay men have made the purse-toting Tinky Winky a camp icon."
In the Nexis archives for 1998 alone, there are dozens and dozens of mentions of Tinky Winky being gay -- in periodicals such as Newsweek, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post (twice!), The New York Times and Time magazine (also twice).
In its Jan. 8, 1999, issue, USA Today accused The Washington Post of "outing" Tinky Winky, with a "recent Washington Post In/Out list putting T.W. opposite Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, essentially 'outing' the kids' show character."
Michael Musto of The Village Voice boasted that Tinky Winky was "out and proud," noting that it was "a great message to kids -- not only that it's OK to be gay, but the importance of being well accessorized."
All this appeared before Falwell made his first mention of Tinky Winky.
After one year of the mainstream media laughing at having put one over on stupid bourgeois Americans by promoting a gay cartoon character in a TV show for children, when Falwell criticized the cartoon in February 1999, that same mainstream media howled with derision that Falwell thought a cartoon character could be gay.
Teletubbies producers immediately denounced the suggestion that Tinky Winky was gay -- though they admitted that he was once briefly engaged to Liza Minnelli. That's what you get, reverend, for believing what you read in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek. Of course, Falwell also thought the show "Queer as Folk" was gay, so obviously the man had no credibility.
Despite venomous attacks and overwhelming pressure to adopt the fashionable beliefs of cafe society, Falwell never wavered an inch in acknowledging Jesus before men. Luckily, Jesus' full sentence, quoted at the beginning of this column is: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
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