- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

‘Jerry’s mountain’

“Realtor Brenda Phelps likes to point out the sights to those contemplating a move to Lynchburg: ‘There’s Jerry’s church. There’s Jerry’s mountain.’ Once, when asked if Jerry Falwell personally owned that land overlooking the city, she said no, Liberty University did — ‘but it’s Jerry’s mountain.’

“Lynchburg is one of those cities that, in the Roman tradition, claim to be built on seven hills, and Jerry Falwell, who died on May 15 at age 73, was a man of many mountains. He’s probably best known for founding the Moral Majority in 1979 and quickly growing it to 6.5 million members: It played a major role in electing Ronald Reagan but faded in the late 1980s.

“Liberty University is another Falwell mountain: It began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 and … now claims almost 10,000 students in residence, with 15,000 more in distance learning programs. He hoped some day to have Liberty play Notre Dame in football and joked … that he was officially Liberty’s chancellor but primarily its athletic director.”

— Marvin Olasky, writing on “Jerry’s Mountains,” in the May 26 issue of World

Jew vs. Jew

“When a people is under siege it matters more, not less, how the besieged treat each other. Perhaps I am wrong, or only partly right, but it seems as though too many Jews are treating each other in a manner that is hardly loving, ethical or even minimally civil.

“This worries me more than do the forces of irrational hatred arrayed against us. …

“We have all heard about raised voices and raised fists, soul-scorching sarcasm, terrible threats, theft, corruption, adultery, incest, wife-beating, child-abuse, addiction within the Jewish community. I despair — not because of what non-Jews may think, but because of what God may think and what our collective punishment might ultimately be. …

“Such behavior demoralizes and shames Jews who often end up leaving the Jewish organizational world. …

“Living as we do in a time of growing anti-Semitism, and with Israel seemingly adrift and lacking strong leadership, we must, for the sake of Jewish survival, follow Hillel’s timeless maxim: That which is hateful to you, do not do to others.”’

— Phyllis Chesler, writing on “My Jewish Wars: A Dispatch From The Front,” May 16 in the Jewish Press

Banal fame

“Fame confers authority, and the principal way of acquiring great fame is via the entertainment industry. Entertainers are the popes of our age, with de facto — though as yet not de jure — powers to call down anathemas on or beatify whomever they choose. …

“Celebrity is a source of moral authority, as if it were the case that no one could be famous who was not good. Celebrities also must be clever, for how could someone have ascended to great fame without some superiority of mind?

“One of the curious things about modern celebrities, however, is that although they should be glamorous and unapproachable in some way, they also should be completely banal at the same time (that was the great appeal of Princess Diana). Nothing could illustrate this better than the Web site of Rosie O’Donnell, the comedian, lesbian activist and recent chief attraction on ‘The View,’ who pronounces on so many subjects and whose utterances appear to be taken seriously by many.

“People e-mail her questions, to which she replies. Compared with the questions and answers on the site, the average barfly sounds like Socrates.”

— Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “Pope Rosie? Pray for us,” Sunday in the Los Angeles Times

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