After Highlighting the Controversial, Sawyer Says Falwell Will 'Answer to His Maker'

Sure, it's a basic Judeo-Christian tenet that we will be accountable to God for our actions on earth. But if a reverend from the religious left had died yesterday, do you think Diane Sawyer, immediately after reviewing controversial statements he had made in the course of his career, would conclude by archly observing that the reverend has "gone to answer to his Maker"?

Neither do I. But that is just what the Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer did today on the occasion of the death of Jerry Falwell. After a brief biographical review, Sawyer stated "as the years went by, even some believers saw intolerance buried inside his attacks." She highlighted three of his statements. First, a clip of Falwell stating "I happen to be a Bible-believing Christian. And the Old and New Testament both teach that homosexuality is sin." Sawyer and anyone else are free to reject that teaching. But in Sawyer's eyes, does stating what Scripture says amount to "intolerance"?

Sawyer next honed in on the statement Falwell had made after 9-11, suggesting that various groups that "helped to secularize America" had "helped to make this happpen." Sawyer rolled a clip [from which the screencap here is taken] of her own cross-examination of Falwell back then, when he had come on the show to apologize for his remarks. Sawyer was seen seeking to extract an assurance from Falwell that "you will not be attacking these groups again."

Finally, Sawyer stated that "his next highly-publicized assault would be on a children's show, warning parents against what he called a homosexual TeleTubby." "Assaulting" a children's show is not "assaulting" children, but Sawyer's choice of words seemed to associate the concepts.

Sawyer moved immediately to her conclusion: "the headlines this morning of his death say it all: uniter, divider. Preacher, and polarizer. A political giant, gone to answer to his Maker."

Sawyer left little doubt as to what she thinks the judgment should be.

Contact Mark at

9/11 Religion Sexuality Culture/Society Christianity ABC Good Morning America