Alive, he was a wretch. In death, he is -- gulp! -- a saint. That is the wonder of the righteousness imputed to the baptized by God's grace.
Click to read the NPR obit, which is fairly even-handed. I'm not so sure about the NewsHour talking-heads piece last night, with Tony Perkins and Tony Campolo. Perkins insisted that his mentor was a misunderstood, bear-hugging father figure; Campolo said that however reprehensible Falwell's political positions may have been, he was a competent theologian and a gracious human being. I think PBS might have considered a third possibility -- that he was a creep, pure and simple.
Well, this is a sticky wicket. Tradition adjures us to speak no ill of the dead. But the thought of a bear-hug from that smarmy bigot makes my skin crawl. And his decades of right-wing political maneuvering seem to outweigh the blessing of decent table manners. He may have apologized for blaming 9/11 on gays and Democrats, but he has plenty more slander to apologize for in Purgatory. (Or, failing that, to rejoice for having been forgiven as he strums a harp in the clouds).