A Norman Lear-backed political organization is launching a television campaign attacking the Moral Majority and similar groups for what it says is religious and political intolerance reminiscent of "witch hunts, slavery, and McCarthyism."
"You'll see that we, as a nation, are besieged today by a powerful wealthy movement with one dangerous goal," actor Burt Lancaster declares as narrator of a 30-minute program produced at a cost of $200,000.
" . . . To mix religion with partisan politics, so they can force, I mean force, their narrow doctrine on all of us."
An angry Jerry Falwell, head of the Moral Majority, rejoined that "This is the typical dishonest, irresponsible type-programming that has become vintage Lear."
Falwell said "every TV station in America" has been warned that Moral Majority will seek equal time if they air the program.
The program was prepared by People for the American Way, an organization founded by Lear, producer of "All in the Family" and other television shows. The organization was created to counterbalance the Moral Majority and protect "beliefs in pluralism, diversity and tolerance," according to Lear.
The program has been scheduled for airing in Washington and a number of other big cities during October. Air time here is 11 to 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 on WTTG (Channel 5). Officials are raising funds and negotiating with other stations to arrange additional air time.
The film includes clips of fundamentalist leaders, some affiliated with the Moral Majority and others not, making statements likely to offend nonfundamentalists:
* Dr. Greg Dixon, pastor of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and an official in the Moral Majority, protests an Indiana state child-abuse law for "establishing Gestapo agencies . . . called child protection agencies." Dixon adds, "Fundamentalist Christians believe the Bible and it even says that the blueness of wound cleanseth the inward parts."
* Falwell says, "We have a three-fold primary responsibility: number one, get people saved; number two, get them baptized; number three, get them registered to vote."
* James Robison, a pastor in Fort Worth, Tex., is seen addressing a congregation and appealing for $100,000 in contributions to purchase a television camera. "I sincerely believe it to be in God's will for us to have the television camera that will make it possible for us to be so much more effective," he says.
* Paul Weyrich, a New Right political operative, says: "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people . . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down."
A Moral Majority spokesman said Dixon, while an official of the Moral Majority Indiana organization, was not speaking for the organization when he complained about the state's child abuse laws. The organization believes in "discipline with love," the spokesman said.