Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
17 May 2007

Jerry Falwell, homophobe, is dead

The Televangelist, Jerry Falwell, died this week. He was quite a nasty piece of work – even for a Televangelist. Some of his choice quotes:

“Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”

“Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them”

“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being”

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”

After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “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.”

“[Homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

The writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has just published a book against religion called God is Not Great: How religion Poisons Everything, appeared on CNN after Falwell’s death and delivered the most extraordinary broadside against him and against religion. He points out that Falwell was anti-semitic and homophobic and says people like that should be in the street with a cardboard sign selling pencils. A must see for people who are sceptical of religion, so I post the clip below. Not for the religiously squeamish…

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