Nov 10, 2004

The Rev. Jerry Falwell has announced plans to launch a group he calls a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority," but Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the new organization is likely to be just another fund-raising gimmick for the intolerant TV preacher.

"Falwell keeps threatening to reanimate the Moral Majority," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Has he never seen an old horror movie? Every time they bring Frankenstein's monster back, it just gets worse."

Added Lynn, "Some things should be left dead and buried."

The re-election of Bush and Republican gains in the House and Senate have undoubtedly led Falwell to believe that the time is right for him to gin up his fund-raising machine once again, Lynn said.

But Lynn said Falwell is wrong in assuming that Americans agree with his goals. The AU head noted that recent analysis of election results have debunked early claims that "values voters" put Bush back in office. In fact, voters' main concerns were terrorism, national security and the war in Iraq.

"The people do not share Jerry Falwell's repressive vision of an America where church and state are merged and the views of intolerant TV preachers form the basis of our laws," Lynn said.

Lynn added, "I welcome Falwell's new organization to the debate. I feel confident it will meet the same fate as the Moral Majority."

Lynn also expressed some skepticism about Falwell's plans, noting that the Lynchburg preacher periodically promises to reactivate the Moral Majority, which he closed in 1989.

After Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, Falwell sent letters to religious conservatives nationwide asking them if he should reopen the Moral Majority and seeking donations. Falwell never reactivated the group, but he did keep the money.

Falwell says the new group, the Faith and Values Coalition, will press for anti-abortion nominees on the Supreme Court, push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and advocate for the election of a "George Bush-type" conservative in 2008.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in the safeguarding religious freedom.