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Falwell Quits His Moral Majority Post : Will No Longer Stump for Candidates, Lobby for Religious Right

November 03, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Rev. Jerry Falwell said today that he is resigning as president of the Moral Majority and will no longer play an active role in stumping for political candidates or lobbying for causes of the religious right.

"I am now rededicating my life to the preaching of the Gospel," he said at a news conference.

However, he said his views on issues will remain well known through his television ministry.

He said he continues to favor Vice President George Bush for President but will take no active role in any campaign.

Hot-Line Program

Falwell, 54, said he will also be closely involved with Liberty University, which he founded near his church in Lynchburg, Va., and with a developing program to provide a national phone number through which people in crisis--drug addicts, pregnant teen-agers and others--could receive counseling and other help.

The minister noted that he had told his church members in Lynchburg one year ago that he planned to pull back from politics and other non-church efforts. But since that time he had been brought in to take over PTL after the sex scandal involving Jim Bakker and a church secretary.

Falwell has now left PTL, and he said he felt that he owed it to his church to return to it full time--though he will also continue his television ministry.

Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority in 1979, said, "Eight years is a long time."

'Sometimes You Get Tired'

He said that conservative Christians have gotten used to being more involved in politics and secular issues in those eight years and that he feels confident they will stay involved.

"There's no need now for Jerry Falwell to walk point and be the lightning rod," he said. "Sometimes you get tired of being the lightning rod."

Nearly two years ago, Falwell had announced that the Moral Majority was being subsumed into an umbrella organization called the Liberty Federation. He is resigning as president of both groups. He said the Moral Majority had a budget of about $8.4 million for the last fiscal year.

Falwell said his positions as president of the groups will be taken by Jerry Nims, whom he described as "an entrepreneur from Atlanta." He said Nims had been co-founder of the Rutherford Institute, a conservative national organization of lawyers "involved in judicial change."

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