The Resurrection of the Moral Majority
Jimmy Carter was President. The Soviets were fighting Islamic guerillas in Afghanistan. Three Mile Island was melting. The U.S. Embassy in Tehran occupied by a band of young Muslim radicals. In Virgina, an independent, fundamentalist Baptist preacher named Jerry Falwell founded an organization that would claim credit for changing the face American politics by electing Ronald Reagan. The Moral Majority was a powerful force in the conservative church for the next decade or so until Falwell quit to turn his attention to the rapidly deteriorating financial situation at his church based school, Liberty University. Of course, Falwell was never really out of the political scene. He couldn’t stand being away from attention that he got from the media and the politicians he helped elect. Then, like Lazarus rising from his grave, the Moral Majority was resurrected as “The Moral Majority Coalition.” According to its website, “the group’s central premise is to utilize the momentum of the November 2 elections to maintain an evangelical revolution of voters who will continue to go to the polls to ‘vote Christian.’”
Since The Reverend Falwell is making the claim, and since the Bible says “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world,” (I John 4:1) I’d like to apply some simple tests to the claim that the Moral Majority Coalition is Christian.
Test #1: Is the Platform Christian?
The MMC’s four-fold platform is:
1)TMMC will conduct an intensive four-year “Voter Registration Campaign” through America’s conservative churches, para-church ministries, pro-life and pro-family organizations.
2)TMMC will conduct well organized “Get-Out-The-Vote Campaigns” in 2006 and 2008.
3)TMMC will engage in the massive recruitment and mobilization of social conservatives through television, radio, direct mail (U.S.P.S. and Internet) and public rallies.
4)TMMC will encourage the promotion of continuous private and corporate prayer for America’s moral renaissance based on 2 Chronicles 7:14.
What is either explicitly or implicitly Christian here? No mention of Jesus. No mention of the Creeds, no reference to the Christian Scriptures. There is a clearly defined marketing strategy here, but basing an American moral renaissance on Israel’s King Solomon would appear to be pretty dubious. If I recall, Solomon was a religious syncretist, and following his death, the country was rent by civil war and eventual destruction, due to his failed policies.
Test #1: Failed.
Test #2: Does the MMJ stand up for God’s Kingdom or is it an apologist for one political party?
Falwell writes: “On election night, I actually shed tears of joy as I saw the fruit of a quarter century of hard work. Nearly 116 million Americans voted. More than 30 million were evangelical Christians who, according to the pollsters, voted their moral convictions. I proudly say… they voted Christian!!”
The problem with Falwell’s assertion is its equation of voting for Republicans with “voting Christian.” But you decide: Which party’s platform took the mushy position: “Faith can often be a crucial element in the struggle to overcome personal challenges – and now Americans have the option of receiving treatment that meets their physical as well as spiritual needs.”
And which said: “We honor the central place of faith in the lives of our people. Like our Founders, we believe that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires.”
The first quote is from the Republican party. The second, from the Democratic platform. Neither is explicitly Christian, but you have admit that the Democrats were much bolder in their praise of faith-based initiatives.
Test #2: Failed.
Test #3: Does salvation come from grace by faith or works?
“The Bible tells us salvation is a free gift and it cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8, 9; II Timothy 1:9; Romans 4:16). The entire book of Galatians was written to warn us that you cannot mix faith and works as the grounds for justification. Galatians 2:16 tells us: Man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ . . . The last portion of this verse also tells us: . . . for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:21 tells us: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Forgiveness of sins and justification come from Jesus to all who believe (Acts 13:37-39).” That’s from Liberty University’s theological questions site.
But Falwell writes: “Everyone now knows that the stage is set for the church of Jesus Christ to turn this nation back to the faith of our fathers and the Judeo-Christian ethic. New Supreme Court justices can overturn Roe vs. Wade. The Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can forever define the family as one man married to one woman. Any senator who opposes this FMA could face the same fate Sen. Tom Daschle experienced. I truly believe we can bring 40 million “faith and values” voters to the polls in 2008 to assure that Sen. Hillary Clinton, or someone of her ilk, will never be president of this nation.” In other words, grace has nothing to do with it. Overturning Roe vs. Wade, banning gay marriage and keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House will save America. No Jesus. No cross. No grace. Just Republicans working very hard to stay in power.
Salvation by works? Yep.
Test #3: Failed.
The Moral Majority is not a Christian movement. It is a cynical, partisan attempt to dress the Republican Party up in Christian vestments. While it claims to be promoting “faith and moral values,” all it is promoting is a right-wing vision of an America created in Jerry Falwell’s scowling image. It denies the basic moral values of Jesus like caring for the poor, loving your enemies, and seeking peace. In other words, it’s a lie.