But, he says, he has become alarmed by the attacks on religious conservatives during the political campaign. "Because I am obsessed and driven by this new burden, I am therefore announcing a seven-month campaign, ending November 7 (Election Day), which I am calling PEOPLE OF FAITH 2000."
The full, unedited text of Falwell's note to supporters, reprinted with permission from Falwell:
TO: "Falwell Confidential"
DATE: March 9, 2000
FROM: Jerry Falwell
CALLING TEN MILLION NEW VOTERS TO POLITICAL ACTION: I am officially announcing the formation of a seven-month campaign -- a movement to reclaim America as one nation under God. I call this movement PEOPLE OF FAITH 2000. With this movement, it is my intent to bring TEN MILLION people of faith -- people who have never before voted -- to the polls on November 7, 2000. In recent days, certain elements in both major political parties have made it clear that people of faith are persona non grata in the American electoral process. Sen. John McCain was passionate when he attacked Pat Robertson and me in his now-famous Virginia Beach speech -- which was followed the next day by huge losses in Virginia, Washington and North Dakota -- and the "crash and burn" of his total campaign a few days later.
Meanwhile, Vice President Al Gore, in his LA Times/CNN debate with Sen. Bradley, told of an alleged private meeting between Governor Bush, Pat Robertson and me, from which Pat and I emerged telling the Governor we were pleased with what we had heard. However, I can assure you that no such meeting ever occurred -- just as Mr. Gore did not invent the Internet, nor was "Love Story" based on his and Tipper's relationship. By fabricating this false story in a national forum, Gore sent a clear signal that religious conservatives will be under a focused and dangerous siege until at least November 7. Likewise, the national media is in almost unanimous agreement that the "religious right" has no business participating in the political arena. Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other liberal ministers are heroes of the left while social conservatives are anathema.
As a result, Ronald Reagan was elected to two terms in the White House and a new and more conservative Congress was swept into power. I dismantled Moral Majority in 1989, feeling I had fulfilled this commitment, and returned to my first love -- serving as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church and chancellor of Liberty University. In recent times, however, the same burden that drove me to create the Moral Majority 20 years ago has returned to weigh heavily upon my heart. America -- her families and children -- is again in serious moral and spiritual condition. Worse, people of faith are being attacked openly and often, and a concerted and frightening effort is being made on many fronts to force religious conservatives into a status of second-class citizenship. (If you don't believe this, look into the current demonization of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, as her new television series is being fiercely attacked by homosexuals who hate her Judeo-Christian stand.)
We cannot remain silent while our rights are stripped away. People of faith in America must arise and be counted. This nation under God desperately needs our participation today. According to many network exit polls in several states during the McCain/Bush primaries, about 20% of voters identified themselves as members of the "religious right." They voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush, having been angered by McCain's statements which they considered anti-Christian. Many of the commentators referred to the "Christian backlash" suffered by McCain, which may have cost him the Republican nomination. I consider Sen. McCain an American hero for his service to our nation, and I sincerely hope he and Gov. Bush can be reconciled and work together in the general election. However, all of America was reminded of what Sen. McCain apparently forgot -- that about 20% of the total electorate is comprised of religious conservatives. This is, by far, the largest minority voting bloc in America. This bloc can always make the difference in a presidential election and in the congressional elections, if we are truly energized and totally involved.