Like Saddam Hussein, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died on May 15 at age 73, was satirized so frequently that it's easy to underestimate his influence. Of late, he was best known for determinedly moronic cultural crusades and brain-dead pronouncements epitomized by his assertion that Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby, was gay. But Moral Majority, an organization he headed, helped establish the conservative Christian voting bloc that gave America presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- and if the group's ideological offspring aren't quite as powerful as they once were (thank you, Ted Haggard), presidential candidates who shrug them off do so at tremendous peril.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Turns out, though, that the phrase "Moral Majority" didn't spring fully developed from Falwell's brow. Rather, it was conceived by former Denver newsman Paul Weyrich, whose 1994 profile in Westword (penned by Ward Harkavy, who's now a staffer with the Village Voice) sheds light on Falwell and the movement he helped spawn. To read it, click here. -- Michael Roberts