The Moral Majority has launched a major effort to kill the criminal-code revision bill scheduled to be marked up next week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ronald S. Godwin, second in command to Jerry Falwell in the Moral Majority organization, said yesterday that the effort had been mostly behind the scenes, including letter writing and private meetings with Senate staff members so far, but the plan was to "turn up the burner on our people," probably this weekend.
He said the organization objects to certain provisions in the legislation that he believes will make life easier for criminals. And, he added, the criminal-code revision bills being talked about in the House are "infinitely more flawed" than the Senate bill.
Proponents of the bill expressed concern that the committee would adopt many of the changes sought by the Moral Majority and that some of the Democratic cosponsors could be forced to dissociate themselves from the bill.
But a Republican staff member said that most of the Moral Majority's changes were seen as "very reasonable" and probably 90 percent of what it suggested would be considered. The staff member added that it would be difficult politically for Democrats to oppose such changes as lengthening the sentence for rape.
One of the major changes the Moral Majority is seeking is to include a federal death penalty provision. Proponents of criminal-code revision, including Attorney General William French Smith, have asked Congress to deal with the death penalty in a separate bill for fear that it could lead to a filibuster that could end up killing the whole code revision.
Among the provisions that the Moral Majority dislikes are:
* A provision that would increase fines for white-collar criminals to as much as $1 million. The Moral Majority complains that the result of such fines would be suffering by stockholders and consumers.
* A change in the civil rights laws, making it an offense to intimidate a person attempting to exercise civil rights if that intimidation is based on sex. The Moral Majority is fearful that sex may be interpreted by the courts as sexual preference.
* A provision to allow prosecution of a husband for forcibly raping his wife.
* An end to the statutory rape penalty for consenting sexual activity between teen-agers whose ages were within three years of each other.
* A clarification in the law to provide that the Hobbs Act, which involves extortion, cannot be applied to labor unions involved in collective bargaining in cases where destruction of property is involved.
* Language creating a compensation program for victims of violent federal offenses to pay for personal injuries. The Moral Majority has interpreted that part of the legislation to mean that abortions could be paid for in rape cases.
* Changes the Moral Majority believes would make it easier to distribute pornography.