- September 2021
In the lead-up to today, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I've heard frequent laments for the national unity we Americans felt and displayed in the days after the attacks. This isn't surprising, considering we're now a nation of fissures.
I remember that feeling. A complete wuss where needles are concerned, even I was prepared to give blood. As much as they needed. As long as they knocked me out first.
But I also remember that, for some, unity wasn't on the agenda.
Two days after the planes flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Jerry Falwell appeared on Pat Robertson's "700 Club" TV show, and offered this: "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.'"
Robertson heartily agreed. During a period of monumental national sorrow, America's two most prominent conservative Christian leaders chose to demonize queer people and our fellow travelers.
After an outcry, Robertson blamed Falwell. The televangelists couldn't even manage unity in their disunity.
Looking back, I suspect the issue was partly timing. The nation was too raw. If they'd waited a month to blame gays and feminists and liberals, they might've been better received, not come across as heartless, vicious toadstools.
I guess they just got caught up in their enthusiasm for sharing God's love.
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