Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Falwell, Baptist Press Perpetuate Moral Majority Myth

Baptist Press is quoting Jonathan Falwell perpetuating a myth about the origins of the Moral Majority. Jonathan says,

When Dad started the Moral Majority back in the late '70s, he had a vision, he had a plan to bring our country to the point where abortion on demand would no longer be legal.
The truth is that the Moral Majority began with a conversation between Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Moral Majority. Weyrich was encouraging Falwell to lead a movement of evangelicals into secular politics. Here's what Weyrich said according to Rice University Sociologist William Martin, author of With God and Our Side and the companion PBS documentary series by the same name:

Paul Weyrich emphatically asserted that, "what galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the ERA. I am living witness to that because I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed. What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter's intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation." Weyrich explained that while Christians were troubled about abortion, school prayer, and the ERA, they felt able to deal with those on a private basis. They could avoid having abortions, put their children in Christian schools, and run their families the way they wanted to, all without having to be concerned about public policy. But the IRS threat, "enraged the Christian community and they looked upon it as interference from government, and suddenly it dawned on them that they were not going to be able to be left alone to teach their children as they pleased. It was at that moment that conservatives made the linkage between their opposition to government interference and the interests of the evangelical movement, which now saw itself on the defensive and under attack by the government. That was what brought those people into the political process. It was not the other things." (With God on Our Side, p. 173)

1 comment:

Streak said...

Randall Balmer confirms that Weyrich affirmed that in a meeting Balmer attended in 1990. The IRS case that caused them the most concern was an attempt to withdraw the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University.