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An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell

On September 14, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had the following to say during a broadcast of the 700 Club (according to a story in the September 15 edition of the Washington Post):

Falwell: "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
Robertson: "Jerry, that's my feeling. "I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."
Falwell: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen."

Below is a letter I wrote to Reverand Falwell in response to his truly exceptional insights:

Dear Reverend Falwell,

When I was a student in Catholic school, I was taught that man was created in God's image. Today, after many years of closely studying the human condition, it's become painfully apparent that whoever authored the Bible got at least one thing wrong. It's obvious to anyone paying attention that we each filter our conception of God through the incredibly subjective lens of our own psyche. How else could we account for a portrait of the creator of this wondrous cosmos that paints him as petty, small-minded, mistake-prone, mean-spirited, provincial, vengeful, sexually-obsessed and politically-reactionary, as the God you routinely appear to speak for -- and you very specifically spoke for on the Thursday, September 14th broadcast of the 700 Club. Let me assure you that this is not the God I have personally experienced -- intellectually, emotionally or spiritually -- in my forty-five years on this earth.

In truth, based on the opinions you have expressed over the years that constitute your public ministry, I would put your theology only slightly to the left of that of Osama Bin Laden or the ultra-conservative clerics of Iran. I think all of you (Bin Laden, the Iranian clerics, Pat Robertson and rest of your "old-time religion" bunch) are in need of some serious, long-term experiential psychotherapy -- which would hopefully help you to open both minds and hearts to the absolute wonder, and extraordinary diversity of manifestation, that God truly is.

In the months and years to come, as we face the terrible forces that would impose religious despotism on the Middle East, and perhaps the world itself, it will be disquieting to know that within America's own ranks there are forces that secretly share the very same ultra-reactionary critique of the emerging evolutionary consciousness that I believe constitutes America's true spiritual destiny. This emerging spiritual understanding will reflect a cross-fertilization of the rich and wise traditions of all the people who will come to inhabit America -- a global village in itself, and one that can eventually point the way to an entire world. We will do our best to not consider you and your flock a "fifth column," and pray for your eventual enlightenment. In return, we only ask that you make a spiritual practice of thinking first before you open your damn mouth, lest you further confuse the faithful into believing that the consciousness that gave birth to all actually originated, not on the proverbial mountaintop, but in an outhouse.


Matthew Carnicelli, © 2001. All rights reserved.
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