Wednesday, November 10, 2004
(CNSNews.com) - The Rev. Jerry Falwell is launching a new organization called The Faith and Values Coalition, which he describes as a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority."
The new coalition will lobby for pro-life judicial appointments; a federal amendment barring same-sex marriage; and the election of another conservative president in 2008.
Falwell, now 71, said he would serve as national chairman of the new coalition for four years.
"Following the sweeping re-election of President Bush and a new generation of conservative lawmakers nationwide, a new organization, The Faith and Values Coalition (TFVC), has been launched," Falwell announced Tuesday from his headquarters in Lynchburg, Va..
He said the group would capitalize on 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.'"
Mathew Staver, founder and general counsel of the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, will serve as vice-chairman of The Faith and Values Coalition. Falwell's son Jonathan
will serve as executive director. And theologian Dr. Tim LaHaye will serve as the board chairman.
"One of our primary commitments is to help make President Bush's second term the most successful in American history," Falwell said. "He will certainly need the consistent prayer and support of the evangelical community as he continues to spearhead the international war on terror and the effort to safeguard America."
Falwell said the new organization has a three-fold platform:
-- the confirmation of pro-life, strict constructionist U.S. Supreme Court justices and other federal judges;
-- the passage of a Federal Marriage Amendment;
-- the election of another socially, fiscally, and politically conservative president in 2008.
"My new leadership role in TFVC reminds me of a similar commitment I made more than a quarter-century ago," Falwell said in a press release. "It was April 1979. I had just founded the Moral Majority and agreed to devote five years to its leadership. I actually gave ten years of my life before disbanding the organization in 1989 to focus on the expansion of Liberty University."
"At that time, God burdened my heart to mobilize religious conservatives around a pro-life, pro-family, strong national defense and pro-Israel platform, designed to return America to her Judeo-Christian heritage. And I distinctively feel that burden again," he said on Tuesday.
"Our nation simply cannot continue as we know it if we allow out-of-control lawmakers and radical judges -- working at the whims of society -- to alter the moral foundations of America."
Falwell noted that during Moral Majority's heyday, "we registered millions of new voters and re-activated millions more. More than 100,000 pastors, priests and rabbis and nearly seven million families joined hands and hearts to reclaim America for God. Many historians believe the result was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and the genesis of what the media calls the 'Religious Right.'"
Falwell said that on election night 2004, as the returns came in, "I actually shed tears of joy as I saw the fruit of a quarter century of hard work." Of the 116 Americans who voted, more than 30 million were evangelical Christians who voted their moral convictions, Falwell noted.
"I proudly say - they voted Christian!"
Falwell credits several "Christian giants" for turning out the vote: They include Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Dr. Donald Wildmon of the American
Family Association; Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, Dr. John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio; the many leaders of the Arlington Group; the "upstart, alternative" Internet news sites; and more than 225,000 evangelical pastors.
Falwell said his vision for the future includes an effort to multiply the voter turnout for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
"As national chairman of TFVC, I am committed to lending my influence to help send out at least 40 million evangelical voters in 2008. The thought of a Hillary Clinton or John Edwards presidency is simply unacceptable (and quite frightening)," he said.
Falwell said he is praying for the strength and wisdom to "successfully complete my 'salt of the earth' ministry. America is worth saving," he said. "Our children and children's children will hold us accountable if we fail."
The TFVC plans to organize in all 50 states, "enlisting and training millions of Americans to become partners in this exciting task of bringing this nation back to the moral values of faith and family on which it was founded."
Falwell said his National Liberty Journal newspaper will serve as a springboard for the effort.
"I urge my friends around the country to immediately get involved and join me in this four-year commitment, which is really an investment in America, in our children and in our children's children."