The Rev. Jerry Falwell yesterday announced "a massive effort" by the Moral Majority to work with clergy around the country in registering 1 million new voters before this fall's elections.
Falwell said the Moral Majority would supply these new voters, and many others, with information about how candidates stand on issues such as abortion, school prayer and tuition tax credits.
The Moral Majority, which claims to have 3 million members and 82,000 clergy in its computer files, was a force in the 1980 elections in some areas because of a similar campaign that reportedly registered 3 million to 4 million voters.
Falwell, who is president of the Moral Majority, made the announcement at the Family Forum II, a New Right conference sponsored by the Free Congress Foundation and the Moral Majority. He said conservatives would also pressure Congress this year, particularly for restrictions on abortion.
"We're lobbying intensively," he said. "Any congressman will tell you that if he goes one day without getting a call or letter from one of our people, we've slipped up."
Ronald S. Godwin, vice president of Moral Majority, said the first phase of the effort will be to telephone or send letters or mailgrams to clergy. Next, letters will be sent, within a month, to "grass roots" supporters.
The letters and calls will ask supporters to set up registration tables in the backs of churches, and in other ways to encourage registration, Godwin said.
The focus of the conference yesterday was that public education is corrupting young people without teaching them adequately how to read or write. A particular target was sex education, which Phyllis Schlafly called "fundamentally how-to-do-it classes."
Schlafly charged that sex education classes not only ignore morals but also disdain the facts, particularly the danger of herpes, a venereal disease. The audience of 500 cheered when she said that the herpes epidemic threatened to turn back the sexual revolution.
"It might even be so frightening it would be worth staying a virgin," she said, to cries of "Hear! Hear!"
Schlafly encouraged parents to examine textbooks their children read in school, searching for criticism of traditional values and glorification of socialism or permissive lifestyles. Many school books are so negative and pessimistic that more children are commiting suicide, she said.
As an example of works that can be negative and destructive, Schlafly cited the plays of Arthur Miller.
Rejecting charges that conservatives are book-burners, Schlafly said the real censors are feminists and liberals who require that any reference to sexist language or role models be eliminated from school books.
Terrel H. Bell, secretary of education, explained to the conference his plan for reducing the federal role in education and then replacing the Department of Education with a foundation. Bell said the federal government should avoid any involvement in school curricula and focus on research in education.
Some conservatives have called for President Reagan to replace Bell, who they think has not tried to dismantle the department as Reagan promised in the campaign. Bell, however, received polite applause during his speech and a standing ovation at the end.
Connaught (Connie) Marshner, conference coordinator, outlined to the conference her understanding of the "new traditional woman." Distinguishing between traditions and conventions, she said that women could be unconventional--by involving themselves in politics--if they subscribed to traditional values.
She said a wife could be the chief wage earner in a family, and the husband could make a meal now and then, so long as the wife still accepted her husband's authority.