The origins of the Moral Majority can be traced to 1976, when Jerry Falwell embarked on a series of “I Love America” rallies across the country to raise awareness of social issues important to Falwell. These rallies were an extension of Falwell’s decision to go against the traditional Baptist principle of separating religion and politics, a change of heart Falwell says he had when he perceived the decay of the nation’s morality. Through hosting these rallies, Falwell was able to gauge national support for a formal organization and also raise his profile as a leader. Having already been a part of a well-established network of ministers and ministries, within a few years Falwell was favorably positioned to launch the Moral Majority.
The Moral Majority was formally initiated as a result of a struggle for control of an American conservative Christian advocacy group known as Christian Voice during 1978. Robert Grant, Christian Voice’s acting President, stated in a news conference that the Religious Right was a “sham… controlled by three Catholics and a Jew.” Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan, Richard Viguerie (the Catholics) and Howard Phillips (the Jew) left Christian Voice. During a 1979 meeting, they urged televangelist Jerry Falwell to found Moral Majority (a phrase coined by Weyrich). This was also the beginning of the New Christian Right.