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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.


Tuesday, May 15 -- Jerry Falwell died today after being found unresponsive in his office at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The 73-year-old conservative Falwell's television ministry helped fuel the rise of the Religious Right. Rev. Falwell took very public stands on a variety of issues, and he encouraged his followers to do the same.

On embryonic stem-cell research:
Most pro-life people believe that life begins at conception or fertilization – that is the foundation for being pro-life. Therefore, we believe that even embryonic life is something to be cherished and protected even though, as Ron Reagan noted, these lives have no arms or legs or discernible signs of what we recognize as humanity.

The fact is, most liberal politicians and pundits long ago sold their souls to the abortion-rights movement that is responsible for the million or so abortions in America each year. We can't really expect the abortion-rights community to understand our regard for life when they have already disregarded 40 million aborted lives. What we can expect is the usual flurry of accusations that we are "right-wing" zealots who are out of touch with what the left has determined to be the "mainstream."

Our ethics on life cannot be offhandedly modified simply because an arm of science demands it or because the left calls us names. Once we begin to adapt our ethics because of political heat, there is literally no telling where we could arrive in terms of completely manipulating innocent life.
On the 9/11 attacks:
On September 13, 2001, Falwell appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network's TV program "700 Club," hosted by Pat Robertson:

JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. 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."

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.
The fallout was swift and loud. Robertson quickly back-pedaled and claimed he hadn't understood what Falwell was saying. Falwell himself called CNN the next day and issued an apology of sorts. After saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the deadly attacks, he couldn't leave well enough alone:
"I do believe, as a theologian, based upon many Scriptures and particularly Proverbs 14:23, which says 'living by God's principles promotes a nation to greatness, violating those principles brings a nation to shame,'" he said.

Falwell said he believes the ACLU and other organizations "which have attempted to secularize America, have removed our nation from its relationship with Christ on which it was founded."

"I therefore believe that that created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812," he said.
On Teletubbies:
The February 1999 issue of Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal ran an article entitled "Tinky Winky Comes Out Of The Closet," which questioned the "sexual preference" of the Tinky Winky character in the popular children's show, noting that the character carries a handbag. Need more evidence?

"He is purple — the gay-pride color;" observes the alert, "and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay pride symbol."

Concludes the Lynchburg, Va.-based newspaper, "These subtle depictions are no doubt intentional and parents are warned to be alert to these elements of the series."
Jerry Falwell. I can't think of much we agreed on, but you sure had a knack for making things interesting. Rest in peace.

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