So now Jerry Falwell has determined that everything is fine in South Africa. According to Falwell, the media have blown the events there out of proportion, P. W. Botha's government is worthy of further American investment, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is a "phony."
I have often doubted the sincerity of Falwell's religious conviction, but his recent behavior is outrageous and irresponsible. No Christian in his right mind would assail the qualifications of Bishop Desmond Tutu, much less act as a cheerleader for apartheid. Falwell says he based his opinions on discussions with South African blacks. How many blacks did Falwell speak with? One? Two? Most likely, none. He certainly didn't visit any of the townships.
Could it be, Mr. Falwell, that Tutu's refusal to meet with you has brought on this scathing and ridiculous indictment? It seems likely. The bishop is an intelligent man-- no doubt he is aware of your shameful record on civil rights in your own country. What could you possibly have to offer in the way of constructive criticism? The whole incident reeks of sour grapes.
Jerry Falwell has consistently demonstrated his contempt for any viewpoint that differs from his own. In this respect, he is a member of a distinguished fraternity that includes Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. By Falwell's criteria, Gandhi and Christ would qualify as "phonies" too.
LOWELL F. CANNON JR.