First Jerry Falwell, now James Kennedy. Two of the leading Christianist homophobes dying within not many of weeks is an interesting coincidence. That leaves Pat Robertson and James Dobson as perhaps the remaining top tier gay haters, although Tony Perkins, Rev. Wildmon and others are striving hard to keep peddling the hate Falwell and Kennedy helped to first package. Here is a portion of the Miami Herald's coverage (http://www.miamiherald.com/459/story/226256.html):
The Rev. D. James Kennedy, the controversial televangelist who built Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church into a politically powerful house of prayer on a foundation of Biblical fundamentalism, died Wednesday morning.
With a steeple tall enough to require aircraft warning lights -- 30 stories -- and a world-class, 6,500-pipe organ, the church is the nucleus of a $37 million evangelical empire that includes Westminster Academy, Knox Seminary and Evangelism Explosion International, an outreach program. Kennedy's Coral Ridge Hour television broadcasts reportedly reached three million viewers in 200 countries. With equal fervor, he preached the Gospel, promoted Bible study, family values and the power of prayer, and decried secular humanism, homosexuality, abortion, global warming and the public schools.
Kennedy campaigned tirelessly to tear down the constitutional wall separating church and state. In 2005, Rolling Stone called him ``the godfather of the Dominionists [and] the most influential evangelical you've never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham's gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving.
''Kennedy [preached] that it was time to save America -- not soul by soul but election by election ... [George W.] Bush sought his blessing before running for president ...'' the Rolling Stone piece said.
Kennedy once preached that he and his followers' ''job'' was to ``reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.''
Fort Lauderdale gay-rights activist Wayne Besen calls him something else: 'a source of great pain for gays and lesbians, distorting our lives on a national level. The whole `ex-gay' movement we see nationally was jump-started by Coral Ridge Ministries ... Kennedy popularized this idea that has caused a lot of suffering for gay people,'' that homosexuality could be ``prayed away.'' He was ''far to the right of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell,'' Besen said.
I suspect Kennedy and Falwell will be roommates in Hell for all the hate they generated and all the pain they cause so many.