King Charles I
by Matt Chancey
My friend Rick Shaftan, who in addition to being an excellent political strategist also enjoys an encyclopedic political memory, reminded me of an important Falwell legacy-- which brought to my mind some historical lessons from our British forefathers.
During the English Civil War, King Charles I’s supporters (Cavaliers) were composed of many Catholics. Charles’s wife was Catholic and the king had been integrating many “Popish” features into the Anglican liturgy—much to the dismay of the Puritan majority (Roundheads) led by Oliver Cromwell.
This Catholic vs. Protestant conflict in English politics crossed the Atlantic and has manifested itself at various times in various ways in our own political history.
What Rick pointed out to me was that during the 1960s and 70s when school prayer was outlawed and abortion legalized, there was pathetically little organized resistance from "Christian Fundamentalists." The greatest organized opposition came from Conservative Catholics.
This is where Jerry Falwell comes in.
In 1977, my friend Howard Phillips, Chairman of the Conservative Caucus, drove to Lynchburg to meet with Dr. Falwell. He proposed that Jerry become the leader of a new movement to enlist Evangelicals as a block vote into the political arena. His suggested name for the organization? The Moral Majority. The rest is history.
Falwell’s greatest political legacy was orchestrating a shotgun wedding between Conservative Catholics and Christian Fundamentalists. This unprecedented alliance of conservative "Cavaliers and Roundheads" gave Reagan the Presidency and forever changed American politics.Matt Chancey is President of the Alabama Republican Assembly