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The Moral Majority Speech by Sen. Ted Kennedy

Kennedy recognized that risk at the beginning of his address when he said that "it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a Kennedy to come to the campus of Liberty Baptist College."

Many of the positions taken by Senator Kennedy were anathema to members of the Moral Majority. He was the embodiment of the American liberal political establishment which Falwell regularly attacked. Televangelist Falwell had founded the Moral Majority

in 1979 "to spearhead a national Christian political organization that would apply pressure to the Republican Party on abortion and other social issues" (American Civil Liberties Union 3). The Moral Majority had helped elect conservative Ronald Reagan president in 1980 against whom Ted Kennedy was considering running in 1984. In his book, Listen America, published in 1980, Falwell had said that "both godless communism and secular humanism have infiltrated society and will eventually, unless stopped by a return to moral principles, destroy the nation" (Webber 15). The Moral Majority was for a strong national defense, the teaching of literal creationism in schools, the restoration of prayer in the public schools, and against pornography, gay rights, loose morals, and the breakdown of the family, issues on which liberal Democrats in general and on some of which Kennedy in particular after the Chappaquidick incident was especially vulnerable.

Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles

Kennedy used a number of devices to overcome or sidestep these obstacles. He sprinkled his speech with humor to relax his audience. In issuing his plea for tolerance, he said "we will always respect the right of others to differ --that we will view ourselves with a sense of perspective and a sense of humor." He pointed out that Falwell had been criticized by strict fundamentalists by including various faiths in his coalition, including Catholics, and had thus "become the target of narrow prejudice."...

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The Moral Majority Speech by Sen. Ted Kennedy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:45, August 19, 2017, from
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