A once popular bumper sticker read, “The Moral Majority is Neither.” The fact that there was a bumper sticker criticizing the Moral Majority, measures how large of an impact they once had in politics in America. Led by Reverend Jerry Falwall, the Moral Majority was an ultra-conservative group that aimed to incorporate politics with strong conservative religious views. The mission itself was controversial which made their political agenda criticized even more. Falwell and the rest of the Moral Majority believed that American society was headed into the wrong direction, and viewed modern lifestyle as being immoral and independently pleasure seeking. With a strong financial backing from the start, the Moral Majority was able to make their voice heard throughout the nation, which made them extremely appealing to conservative Christians, as well as very conservative people in general. The group dissolved in 1989 after Jerry Falwell claimed that the group fulfilled its mission and completed all their goals. The Moral Majority may have fulfilled their mission, but Jerry Falwell had an agenda of his own that was ultimately not satisfied.
Controversy surrounded Jerry Falwell well before the founding of the Moral Majority. The origins of the social group trace back to 1976. Prior to the official establishment of the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell held a series of “I Love America” rallies across the nation in which Falwell raised awareness of social issues important to him. With a mix of religion and patriotism, Falwell believed that the lack of Christian morality in the nation was causing a decay in general morality in America. The “evils” that were producing this decay included the Equal Rights Amendment, homosexuality, pornography, women’s liberation, and abortion. The only way the country could be healed of these evils listed was through Christian morality. The “I Love America” rallies were extremely provocative because it was uncommon for religion and politics to be associated during this time in America. The message of these rallies was contradicting to the traditional Baptist Church principle that religion should never be incorporated with politics. In the sermon given by Falwell on July 4th, 1976, he said, “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.” Jerry Falwell strategically used the Bicentennial to stage the “I Love America” rallies. At a time where patriotism was flowing through the veins of all American citizens, Falwell was easily able to demonstrate that his views were in the best interest of America. With a great deal of media coverage, the rallies exposed the “silent majority” and caused many Christian conservatives to come out of the shadows and voice their opinions. The rallies provided a snowball effect in the amount of Christian ministers who were voicing their opinions. To the disapproval of traditional Baptists, the “I Love America” rallies revolutionized politics by making it acceptable to incorporate religion and politics. (Hale 273) The Moral Majority successfully made it common for fundamentalists to be involved in politics. Prior to the formation of the Moral Majority, there was a strong notion that church and politics should be separated. This was emphasized when Catholic John F. Kennedy was elected in 1968. A 1968 Gallup survey found 53% of Americans believed that churches should keep out of politics (Taylor 4). This emphasis by Kennedy along with the traditional Baptist principle made most fundamentalists stray away from politics. Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority successfully changed this phenomenon and significantly impacted presidential elections in the 1980’s. After an abysmal presidential term by Jimmy Carter in the view of the Christian right, the Moral Majority gave Ronald Reagan full backing during the 1980 presidential campaign. Reagan’s eventual victory was monumental for the Moral Majority because Reagan...
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Hale, Grace Elizabeth. A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson Blame 9/11 on Organizations Like People For the American Way [Video]. (2001) Retrieved November 16, 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMkBgA9_oQ4
Phan, Katherine T. "Falwell Seeks to Enlist One Million Members for 'Moral Majority Coalition ', Christian News." Christian News, The Christian Post. 24 Nov. 2004. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. .
Taylor, By Paul. "Rev. Falwell 's Moral Majority: Mission Accomplished?" Pew Research Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. .
Wald, Kenneth D. Religion and Politics in the United States. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 1997. Print.
Wilcox, Clyde. God 's Warriors: the Christian Right in Twentieth-century America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992. Print.
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