The Rev. Jerry Falwell
His critics consider it a chilling one, given Falwell's plausible style and willingness to equate political stances like support of SALT II with immorality. Liberal TV producer Norman (All in the Family) Lear has organized a media campaign designed to blunt the movement. It was launched just before the election. The results on November 4 left no doubt that Falwell & Co. had hit home: "It was the American people saying 'Back to Basics'—in the economy, in military preparedness, in traditional moral values," he declares.
In his personal life Falwell, 47, seems to embody those virtues. He is a teetotaler, devoted husband, father of three well-balanced teenagers and confessed workaholic. He also lives grandly in a mansion with a pool, travels on church business in a private jet and runs a tangle of interlocking media ministries. His church has been charged by the SEC with fraud in fund raising (the case was eventually settled) and criticized by the Better Business Bureau for keeping its expenditures secret. Falwell is undeterred by such difficulties. "The real work is just beginning," he says. "We'll now be targeting things like the Human Life Amendment, the Voluntary Prayer in Public Schools Amendment, illegal drug traffic." Another top priority for Moral Majority: sexually titillating television shows. "We'll be doing all we can by persuasion, not censorship," Falwell says soothingly. "We'll have a sitdown with networks and sponsors and say, 'Why don't we just pull back and decide that Mr. Lear is going to have to clean this up a little bit, and the other fellow is going to clean that up a little bit?' "
The constituency for Falwell's "Agenda for the Eighties," as he calls it, is growing; contributions have been pouring in at the rate of about $1 million a month since the election. "Everybody imaginable, from leaders in government to the business community, has called to say, 'We were praying for you, but we didn't think you had a chance,' " he says. "On November 5th, giving to Moral Majority went straight up. Our income has doubled." To Falwell, the portent is clear: "The movement away from traditional moral and family values has been stopped in its tracks."