The Queer Issue
This is the year that Jerry Falwell started the Moral Majority. Falwell was a guy who looked not unlike a pie and who spent the early part of his career as "a rabid segregationist who railed against the civil rights movement from the pulpit," as The Nation reminded us recently. "This opening episode of Falwell's life, studiously overlooked by his friends, naively unacknowledged by many of his chroniclers, and puzzlingly and glaringly omitted in the obituaries of the Washington Post and New York Times, is essential to understanding his historical significance in galvanizing the Christian right."
The founding of the Moral Majority, Falwell's project after ditching the professional-racist track, was more than the founding of a single organization. It represented the rise of the religious right as we now know it—a powerful association of political action groups all lobbying to criminalize abortion, demonize gay people, etc. Its purpose was to "activate the religious right," Falwell said. It had millions of members. After a decade, the Moral Majority dissolved to make way for bigger, scarier, better-funded groups like the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family.
After a successful run of years as cable news' go-to guy for batshit crazy Christianist commentary (Falwell is the one who said that gay people "caused" 9/11 to happen), Falwell resurrected his organization in November 2004 as the Moral Majority Coalition, with himself as the leader—but then, wonderfully, died three years later.