I'm not going to miss Jerry Falwell
There is much to be admired in the extent to which simple Christian faith still pervades middle American society. The image of the whitewashed weatherboard church with its belfry in every small town is ubiquitous; from the Simpsons to Bond, an echo of our own mediaeval village churches but with real congregations.
However, American Christianity has always had its ugly, bigoted side. Those who masterminded the Salem witch trials never really went away. We viewed the Scopes Monkey Trial on this side of the pond with more than wry amusement. And the image of the southern preacher whose profound public scriptural ignorance and private promiscuity is clothed in a powder-blue polyester suit and white loafers is perhaps as ubiquitous here as is the weatherboard church.
Falwell's bigotry and risible theology, his asinine posturing in the aftermath of 11th September and his perverse morality have done American Christianity no favours. I'm not going to miss him.