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Ted Kennedy and the Moral Majority

The Story

It's a political gambit that is as shrewd as it is shocking. U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy has always been an easy target for Republicans and the religious right. Imagine his surprise when, in 1983, he accidentally receives an invitation to a Moral Majority fundraiser aimed at fighting "ultra-liberals such as Ted Kennedy." When the mix-up hits the media, Kennedy is invited to drop by Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist College - and the senator accepts. In this clip from the Sunday Morning feature Verbatim, Kennedy tells the assembled crowd that "people of conscience should be careful how they deal in the word of their lord."

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Oct. 9, 1983
Guest(s): Edward Kennedy
Host: Michael Enright, Beverley Reed
Duration: 3:35

Did You know?

• Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) was established in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1971 by pastor and televangelist Jerry Falwell. In 1979 Falwell helped found the Moral Majority, an evangelical Christian political lobbying group which lasted for 10 years.


• According to the Associated Press, when Falwell aide Cal Thomas told the religious leader that Kennedy had accepted the invitation to speak at Liberty Baptist College, Falwell "almost turned as white as a sheet." Kennedy had a "friendly" dinner at Falwell's home before delivering his speech.




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