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Moral Majority

12 May

Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell Moral Majority 1979-1989

Take one part political neo conservatism, one part Fundamental Christian mix with American Patriotism and you have the Moral Majority.  Often confused with a religious group due to the founder Rev Jerry Falwell’s over the top brand of Evangelical Christianity they were actually a political lobby group with the agenda of unseating the liberal left of the 60’s and 70’s.

RISE OF THE MORAL MAJORITY

Falwell, a Pastor in Virgina at the Thomas Road Baptist Church had a successful religious radio show that morphed into  a national Sunday TV sermon  with the “Old Time Gospel Hour” with an audience of  7-10 million viewers.  Claiming a support base of 50 million, 80,000 affiliated  preachers and 4.5 million financial contributors.  The Majority boasted it raised a million dollars a day through its media outlets and claimed they added 3-4 million registered conservative voters to the Regan and Bush presidential campaigns of the 80’s.

The Moral Majority supported 2 parent family values, prayer in school, free enterprise, creationism education, Israel, the  military and the Bible.   It opposed Communism, Gay rights and homosexuality,  sex education, pornography, the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion.

 Falwell Quotes and Scandal

The loose based organization of the different chapters  and Falwell’s love for provocative speeches on TV news  led to frequent public gaffes that  prevented the Moral Majority from attaining a high insider status with the Republican Party.

6.5 million dollar illegal bond scheme to fund the church, later overturned as intent to fraud could not be proved.

“Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them.”

Falwell fearing a communist revolution called Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu a “phony”  “as far as representing the black people of South Africa”.

Took over the PTL televangelist  club in 1987  after the Bakers were involved in sex and financial scandals.

 “He is purple — the gay-pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay pride symbol.” –from a “Parents Alert” issued in Jerry Falwell’s National Liberty Journal, warning that “Tinky Winky,” a character on the popular PBS children’s show, “Teletubbies,” may be gay.

Defended the Reverend Sun Myun Moon of the Unification Church who was in prison for tax evasion and endorsed  The Washington Times, the Unification Church-owned paper.

“Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America.”

In New York the Moral Majority director made an anti-Semitic comment about the “almost supernatural ability” of Jews to make money.

Falwell was the driving force behind a 1988 campaign to collect 2 million signatures for a pardon for Oliver North. He requested assistance from 32,000 Baptist pastors from around the country.

“many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia.

“I think Muhammad was a terrorist.”  “I concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim writers that Muhammad was a violent man, a man of war.”

By 1989 The Majority had lost most of its base and was out of money.  Jimmy Swaggert and Jim and Tammy Faye Baker with their multiple scandals ended the reign of TV evangelists and neo con  politics mixed with fundamental Christian religion.

How Many Balloons?

18 Feb

The 70’s had Ban The Bomb and the 80’s No Nukes.  This was the height of the cold war with Ronald Reagan leading the pack of  “Hawks” on both sides.  The former Soviet Union was still under harsh communist rule with a quick succession of leaders in the early 80’s before Mikail Gorbachev came to power in 1985.  Gorbachev, best remembered  for his birth mark resembling a map of southeast Asia could be described as a “Dove” in comparison to his predessors and Reagan.

PROTEST MOVEMENT & MARCH

The  80’s saw mass protest marches on both sides of the US/Canadian border and across the pond, Western Europe joined the No Nuke movement  as they were in the fallout zone between the States and the  USSR.  Major cities across North America experienced crowds of  100,ooo people, the largest crowds since the Vietnam War.  Even conservative cities like Toronto had protest marches topping 100,000 people, complete with the RCMP filming the crowd.  I was convinced for years that CISIS had a file with my picture in Ottawa for taking part in peace marches and various protests, as I was a semi regular on the circuit. 

PROTEST MUSIC

The big difference this time is the protestors cut across all demographics and once again musical genres.  Just like in the 60’s music played a big part in the No Nukes movement.  Springsteen, Jacksone Brown, the Doobies, Tom Petty, Carly Simon and Crosby, Stills and Nash were outspoken playing a number of concerts supporting Nuclear Disarmament.  The 80’s were the last decade to produce top bands with commercial hit political protest songs.  Rap was just begining to appear but it’s protest was directed more internally than outward.   Probally the biggest hit that personified the  80’s No Nuke movement was Germanys,  Nena with  “99 Luftballons”.  Originally sung in German, 1983, it became an international hit when re-recorded in English in 1984.  The 83 live video consisting of only the band is raw and commonly believed to be a truer song.  By 1984 MTV was in full bloom and the band got the TV video treatment.  For the most part this was her only success outside of Germany even though she has officially released over 29 albulms, 48 singles and featured in 8 films.  The song is still played often, played for an hour straight on MTV classic during a 2006 Huricane Catrina fundraiser as a donor gave $35,000 for the privledge and Nena herself  re-recorded the original in 2000.  I have included the original German version for you.

 

 

Ronald “Raygun” Reagan

15 Feb

Voted into power in 1980 Reagan came to embody the conservative political shift  that was going on worldwide throughout the 80’s.  The former Hollywood actor was once head of the Actors Union and refused to name names during the McCarthy era, only to find out years later he was working for the CIA.  In his early years he was more succesful as an Advertising spokesperson than an actor. Under contract with General Electric he toured the country as their pitchman untill he was fired for discussing politics more often than the GE product line.  After 3 failed attempts at the presidency; he was thought to be to radical,  riding on the Iran/American Hostage crisis and the popular belief that Jimmy Carter was much too soft his style of politics would soon have the Americans fighting or covertly supporting corrupt Governments in one country or a Rebel Army in the next  in Afghanistan, Grenada, and throughout Central and South America.  He brought the world to the brink of Nuclear War in 1984 with the former Soviet Union as the doomsday clock was lowered to 2 minutes to midnight as he aggressively pushed his “Star Wars” missile defence plan.  He and his wife Nancy were also noted for the “War on Drugs” and the “Just Say No” anti drug campaigns. Reagan was the  major story in the 80’s and will be discussed greatly.

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