Falwell Explains Evangelical Politics

Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell in a speech last night at the Law School said that because fundamentalists vote as a group their conservative social agenda is able to influence American public policy.

"The evangelical vote is monolithic, not by party or by person. It is monolithic by principle," Falwell told the overflowing audience of about 400 at Austin Hall.

Falwell, in a speech entitled "The Evangelic Vote: Is It Monolithic?," stressed that the support from "evangelist followers" of groups like his own Moral Majority transcends political parties.

"The majority of our voters are Democratic in registration," said the leader of the Liberty Federation, a political group which encompasses the Moral Majority and whose members voted overwhelmingly for Reagan in 1984.

In an interview before the speech, Falwell told The Crimson that the chief problem facing the Republican party is "reconciling the 20 percent social conservative vote with the 40 percent economic conservative vote."

"The Yuppies and the social conservatives form a tenuous coalition," Falwell said.

Falwell said that Vice President George Bush is "most qualified" to forge this coalition in the 1988 presidential election. Falwell endorsed Bush last year.

"I hope Mario Cuomo is not the Democratic candidate," Falwell said in the interview. "He is the most formidable opponent. He is articulate, warm, has a lot of charisma and is a good leader," the Reverend said.

In the question-and-answer period following his speech, Falwell had praise for Harvard University's policy that opposes complete divestment. "I am in agreement with Dr. Bok" about continuing investments in South Africa, Falwell said.

"We must find an end to Apartheid, but Congress made a mistake in overriding Reagan's veto" of the economic sanctions bill, Falwell said.

In response to a questioner who said that the Reverend was a dogmatic teacher, Falwell defended Liberty University, which he founded. He said it was "a bastion of conservatism," adding, "You have a right to be at Harvard University which everyone knows is a bastion of liberalism."