A Letter to Jerry Falwell

By Daryl Lease leasefinn@earthlink.net

Dear Rev. Falwell,

I read with great interest your recent declaration that, "Pro-family Americans are terribly concerned about homosexual images coming into their homes through reckless advertising campaigns."

Now, it so happens that I am pro-family. I'm from one. I have one.

It so happens that I am American. I was born one. I'm quite happy as one.

And it so happens that I am heterosexual. I was born one. I'm quite happy as one.

So I suppose you'd be likely to include me among the pro-family Americans who are terribly concerned about homosexual images coming into their homes through reckless advertising campaigns.

The fact is, I do see a lot of reckless advertising campaigns. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Unhealthy food. Obscenely overpriced cars, appliances and clothing. Get-rich-quick schemes. Gizmos that don't work. As a general rule, though, I can't say I give much thought to the sexual preferences of the people in these ads.

I watch a fair amount of TV, and I read quite a few newspapers and magazines. Even so, I'll be darned if I've noticed any homosexual images coming into my home.

But you're a man to whom many people turn for guidance, for everything ranging from Teletubbies to the Antichrist, so I figured maybe I was missing something.

I looked a little further into your complaint. I read your e-mail newsletter, "Falwell Confidential," to learn more about the homosexual images that are coming into the homes of pro-family Americans like me. Specifically, you're upset with an Anheuser-Busch ad depicting, as you put it, "two Bud-drinking homosexual men in a hand-holding posture."

Again, I couldn't recall seeing this ad.

It turns out there's a good reason for that. It has appeared only in one place -- EXP, a small, gay-oriented publication based in St. Louis.

I'm not a subscriber.

In fact, it's not very likely I or anyone in my family would ever see this ad. Anheuser-Busch has scheduled to run the campaign solely in gay-oriented magazines, where it is most likely to reach its target audience.

So, reverend, after giving this considerable thought, I've reached the uncomfortable conclusion that the homosexual images depicted in the Budweiser ad came into my pro-family American home because you dragged 'em in.

This distresses me.

What, exactly, were you thinking?

As a pro-family, American heterosexual, I'd like to offer a "Falwell Confidential" of my own.

Please, Rev. Falwell, give some thought to what you're doing. People are beginning to whisper things about you, terrible things. They're saying that you're the King of Fear, that you're engaged in a reckless advertising campaign, one that spreads misunderstanding, intolerance and hate, all at considerable profit for yourself.

If you wouldn't mind, I'd like for us to join hands and pray for guidance out of this mess.



There's that damnable hand-holding posture again.

Daryl Lease's column appears regularly in the Spectacle. He lives in Bradenton, Fla.