May 16, 2007
"I don't think he's going to be missed," theorized Barboursville resident Randy Davis.
"It's a very sad loss for the community and for the people who believed in his beliefs," shared North Garden resident Denise Sprouse.
In the wake of the Reverend Jerry Falwell's death, very polarizing views emerge from people in Charlottesville about the legacy of a very polarizing man.
"He made a lot of controversial and biased comments. I will even go as far as to say that for someone who was supposed to be a man of God, he definitely stepped over his bounds," said Dangelo Farrish of Charlottesville.
Farrish cites a remark Falwell made after the 9/11 attacks in which he placed blame on several social groups by saying: "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.'"
Falwell apologized a few days later on CNN by saying: "The terrible tragedy that has befallen our nation is the sad byproduct of fanaticism. I would never blame any human being except the terrorists."
But his remarks remain seared into the brains of many.
"Shortly after 9/11, he basically was saying that 9/11 was God's punishment for immoral behavior," said Davis. "Jerry Falwell will not honestly be missed."
Still some will miss him and continue to admire a man who despite criticism stuck to his convictions.
"He was a go-getter," said Sprouse. "He believed in what he believed in and he fought very well."
While people have opposite views on what the Reverend's legacy should be, there is a meeting of the minds in one area: his ability to stir up emotions and controversy.
"He said very controversial things," said Parrish.
"He was very controversial," concurred Sprouse.
"I just don't know where his head was at," concluded Davis.
Falwell's survivors include his wife, Macel, his two sons and a daughter, Jeannie Falwell Savas.