settings icon
share icon

What was the Moral Majority?

Moral Majority

The Moral Majority was a conservative political organization in the United States founded in June of 1979 by the Baptist minister Jerry Laymon Falwell (1933—2007). The group’s primary objectives were to inform and mobilize a conservative, predominantly Christian base of voters to elect morally upright candidates to office, to restore Judeo-Christian values in America, to stand against the rising tide of secular humanism in society, to reverse or amend immoral laws governing abortion and pornography, and to influence public policy on a variety of issues through lobbying officials in Washington, D.C.

The pro-life, pro-traditional-family group was headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Falwell’s Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church, one of the largest independent Baptist churches in the United States. At its height, the Moral Majority claimed to have more than four million mailing list recipients and two million donors. Prominent politically and theologically conservative religious leaders such as Tim LaHaye, D. James Kennedy, and Charles Stanley served on the Moral Majority’s executive board.

During its ten years of operation, the Moral Majority’s core agenda focused on four main points: opposing abortion, supporting traditional family values, maintaining a strong national defense, and standing with the nation of Israel. According to the Dictionary of Christianity in America, the majority of the organization’s supporters were “white fundamentalist Christians living in rural areas and attending independent Bible churches. Falwell also claim[ed] that about thirty percent of the members [were] Catholics, drawn to the organization by its anti-abortion stance” (Daniel Reid, et al., Dictionary of Christianity in America, InterVarsity Press, 1990).

In response to feminist and homosexual political activist groups that were influencing laws and governmental regulations regarding abortion and religion in public and private schools, the Moral Majority supported the campaigns of conservative Christian politicians. The name Moral Majority was chosen because it reflected the group’s belief that it represented the views of the majority of Americans.

The Moral Majority’s political platform was resolutely conservative, supporting the sanctity of human life, the freedom to pray in public schools, tighter limits on pornography, and fewer restrictions on businesses. The Moral Majority also supported capital punishment, a strong national defense, and solid backing for Israel. It opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, sexual orientation and gender rights movements, and most government welfare programs. To accomplish its aims, the Moral Majority funded a robust education campaign utilizing mass mailings of its newsletter, The Moral Majority Report, radio and television programs, telephone hotlines, and state-wide rallies usually led by conservative-minded ministers.

Many sources credit the Moral Majority with registering millions of voters who helped to elect Republican Ronald Reagan as President in 1980 and 1984. Perhaps the organization’s most remarkable achievement was bringing together Protestants, Catholics, and Jews to realize common goals. Before this time, these three major religious branches had, for the most part, allowed theological disagreements to hinder coordinated and effective action on shared concerns such as abortion and other traditionally conservative issues. The Moral Majority broke ground as a successful ecumenical model.

Jerry Falwell presided over the Moral Majority from 1979 until 1987. Jerry Nims succeeded him as president until August of 1989, when Falwell disbanded the organization, maintaining that it had reached its objective. By this time, Falwell had established another organization under a more socially palatable name, Liberty Federation (1985), which sought to broaden support and become involved in domestic and international issues. The Moral Majority was essentially dissolved into the Liberty Federation.

Return to:

Questions about Worldview

What was the Moral Majority?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: February 13, 2024