The Rev. Jerry Fahwell, founder of the Moral Majority, has sent out an emotional fund-raising appeal that says his organization is so short of money it may have to stop publishing its monthly newspaper.
"I have only a few days before I must make a decision about the Moral Majority Report newspaper. This means your next issue may be the last you will ever receive." Falwell wrote in the letter, mailed last month. "Unless I can find a way to pay the bills, the presses will grind to a halt.
"In many ways, this would be just like signing a death warrant for the Moral Majority."
The publication, which began two years ago when Falwell founded his organization, has a circulation of 840,000, according to editor Harry Covert. It is one of Falwell's key links to his supporters.
Covert said contributions to the Moral Majority fell off substantially after the election of Ronald Reagan and other conservatives who support many of the aims of the organization, based in Lynchburg, Va.
As a result, the report's budget was trimmed and plans to expand it were postponed. Covert said responses to Falwell's letter are beginning to come in and that the paper remains "in limbo week to week."
Emotional appeals are common-place in fund-raising letters. Falwell's letter, however, appears unusually strident. "Liberals and pornography kinds are banding together to destroy us. . . . And we've been deeply wounded by their attacks," the letter said. "Many well-meaning people are reading their vicious propaganda and are believing it."
A flier enclosed with the letter said: "Without the Moral Majority Report, we would not have been able to assist in the defeat of the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] in Virginia and keep friends like you informed about the progress we and others are making toward defeating it in other states; give you up-to-date information on what is happening in Washington as we attempt to restore voluntary prayer in public schools; tell you what the gays were and are still are doing to make homosexuality a legally accepted alternative life style; and keep you informed about what the liberals are trying to do to regain control of our government."