David Kuo on Falwell’s Legacy


David Kuo, the former deputy director of the office of faith-based community initiatives in the Bush administration, delivered a very thoughtful commentary on NPR today regarding the legacy of the recently deceased Jerry Falwell.

Check out the audio clip of his commentary here.


7 thoughts on “David Kuo on Falwell’s Legacy

  1. i feel as though i am at a crossroads with regarding dr. falwell’s death. if you can believe it, liberty university actually forced me to think more liberally on a lot of issues because of how strongly they pushed certain agendas.

    there were numerous times when i would sit and listen to dr. falwell and think “is this really where i want to get my education?” sometimes i would feel so strongly against what was being said.

    but i can say that there have been a few things things that have helped me: 95% of what dr. falwell said was never on cnn. i am not making an excuse for things he did say, but i do remember numerous times thinking that he was spot on with a lot of things.

    i used to sit with dr. falwell at liberty basketball games. i worked for the athletic department at LU to earn some money, and my spot at the games was to sit next to him to keep kids from coming up to talk to him during the entire game. so he and i would shoot the shit together, if you can believe it. i could not believe how loving he was. i could not believe it that every time a kid came up to talk to him or to get a photograph w/ him, he treated that kid as if it was the first time it had ever happened. he made everyone feel like they were gold. it was astounding. i think he was a lot like president clinton in that way.

    i loved college. there were parts that drove me insane, but i think i learned to discern the things getting thrown at me during my years there. i always loved getting to spend time w/ dr. falwell, and i will be eternally grateful for his sacrifices in starting that school.

    i know i am in the minority on this, but i am just as guilty as he. granted i’m not on cnn all that often, but i am guilty. he pissed me off and astounded me in the same moment, which is fascinating. when i think of dr. falwell in the future, i’m not going to think of mispoken words or children’s show comments, but rather i’ll remember those times sitting at basketball games and how i loved college, through the terrible and the wonderful.

  2. I’m sure that for those who had a personal connection to Falwell are more easily able to overlook the outrageous and damaging comments he has made. But for the rest of us, all we have to reflect on are the results of his efforts to publicize his personal views on a variety of different moral issues.

    The most severely damaging of his views is the idea that God doesn’t hear the prayers of the “unsaved”. This position of his gives us a glimpse into the nature of the kind of god he proclaims. Falwell’s exact quote was, “I do not believe that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.” How very sad. By that logic, how would someone who is “unredeemed” pray for redemption?

  3. i don’t think that i’m necessarily overlooking the things he said, but rather trying desperately to find grace in it all. trust me zach, when Dr. Falwell would say things along the lines of what you’ve referenced in regards to God not hearing those who don’t follow Him, well those were the times that I wanted to get up out of my seat and drop out.

    I don’t excuse his comments like that, nor condone them in the least.

    I simply long for grace, both for me and everyone else.

  4. from what i’ve heard, falwell was broadly calvinistic (but i never heard him say anything pointing to it). this would tell you why he said that about not answering prayers (especially about the unredeemed praying for redemption). if they were praying for forgiveness and rededmption, that would point to them being regenerate.

    not that i agree with most of what he said, but nonetheless, i think that might have been some of his rationale.

    also, check http://benwitherington.blogspot.com

    ben has some good things to say about falwell (as someone who disagreed with him often).

    remember, the foot of the cross lays on equal ground, so to speak.

  5. I’ve never suggested that grace not be shown towards Falwell. But there is a difference between showing grace and glossing over the damage caused by many of his positions. And Sean, I’ve also not suggested that the foot of the cross is on unequal ground. I don’t understand how you’re coming to that conclusion. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems as if you guys are suggesting that to consider Falwell’s legacy is out of bounds.

  6. no no no, not saying that to you, zach. i’m very sorry for making it seem like i was attacking you or accusing you of things. definitely didn’t mean that.

    the first little bit was just my attempt at explaining falwell’s rationale for the whole not answering sinner’s prayers (but certainly not saying that i agree with the statement).

    the last statement was more just a general statement that it’s often tough for many people, particularly myself, to remember. it was not aimed at you or anyone else.

    i mainly posted just to draw attention to witherington’s post. he has a good blog where he shows that the word “evangelical” isn’t the same as “fundamentalist.” sorry again for making it seem like i was insinuating anything else.

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