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Mea Culpa, Mr. Falwell

09.16.2001 | SOCIETY

I understand, from reading the comments of the Reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, that I am to blame for the recent terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

I want to say I am sorry. I didn't mean to do it.

According to Falwell and Robertson, God has exacted unspeakably cruel punishment on the United States because of the existence of the ACLU, feminists, gays, abortionists (whatever that means), and the federal courts. As an ACLU member and a feminist, I apparently have much more power than I was fooled into believing.

What I was doing was working to ensure that freedom of speech remained more important than what people said. That every ethnic, political, national and religious group was treated the same as all of the others. That individuals didn't have to live with a poorer quality of life just because they were black, Asian, native American, Hispanic, Jewish, gay, female, children, or disabled.

Rapes, stalkings, mob attacks, sexual harassment, gender and ethnic stereotyping, racial profiling--I considered all of these things evil, and I did what I could to try to stop them.

As a woman, it troubled me that--because American women have more legal rights than women in the other parts of the world--there were people who tried to silence the women's movement. Subtle sexism affects me every day of my life, even if there are days when I don't confront outright sexism. Subtle racism is always there, too, and I have said and done what I could to bring it to light.

I thought I was fighting ignorance. I thought I was battling the ever-present misuse of ancient Jewish texts by fundamentalist Christians to justify their fear and hatred of people not like them, including Jews. It seemed to me that I was struggling against people who heard an inflammatory or inaccurate phrase on television, at work, or on the Internet, and then took that phrase as a personal mantra to feed their own insecurities. I thought my enemy was the mass of people who believe anything anyone tells them, or who have never in their lives bothered to educate themselves about history or social change. I thought I was up against citizens who had no respect for or interest in the objectivity of fact.

Most ironic, I thought I was doing something, no matter how small, to push back the threat of terrorism within the United States.

I made a mistake. While I was writing letters, signing petitions, penning editorials and donating money, I was being used by God to terrorize and kill thousands of my fellow citizens, attack the Pentagon, and destroy a major landmark in one of my most beloved cities.

God does indeed move in mysterious ways.

About the Author
Diane E. Dees is a psychotherapist and writer in Covington, LA. Her work has appeared in many publications. Diane and her husband, Orvin Tobiason, are the webmasters of, the world's only virtual rock and roll restaurant. Diane's blog is
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