On the one hand, we have Andrew Sullivan who damns Falwell with silence:
Since I can think of nothing good to say about him, I’ll say nothing. And pray for the repose of his soul.
Jerry Falwell was an embarrassment to a nation whose values of toleration, liberty, and reason he sought to undermine in every conceivable way. He exploited the ignorance of some of the most helpless members of our society, and sought only to train more like him to spread a ludicrous and insidious dogma into the most powerful levels of government—and, of course, to dissolve the separation of church and state that stands as the greatest defense against such ambitions.
Which is the right approach to take? For me, I don’t have the words to express the contempt I have for people like Falwell. I also have more important things to do with my time than to keep track of the multitude of transgressions. Ultimately I feel it’s a waste of time to follow people like Falwell around, trying to scrub the world clean of the trail they leave behind. This sounds paradoxical, but, despite the obvious widespread impact he’s had on the world — primarily by being a magnet for money donated by the gullible — I think that Falwell is too small and meaningless to be bothered with. Sure, there are lots of people with blackened hearts who follow him and his ilk, if only for the false certainty they provide. But the truth is, our “values of toleration, liberty and reason” are too strong to be undone by one mere fundamentalist Baptist.
But perhaps I’m an optimist.