As Pat Robertson begins his journey into politics, another well-known conservative Christian appears to be backing away from the fray. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, told newspaper columnist Cal Thomas he will not stick his neck out for another political candidate as he did for Ronald Reagan, “because it is too polarizing to unbelievers.”

In his syndicated column, Thomas quoted Falwell as saying, “I will no longer allow in my pulpit anything but a minuscule amount of politics. We are going back to where we were before Moral Majority when we had a clear purpose, but did not have a major emphasis on politics.” Liberty Federation, the organization that superseded Moral Majority, will remain active, Falwell said, to make pronouncements on issues such as drug abuse.

Falwell’s repositioning comes as a surprise, at a time when other Christian activists are busy distributing congressional scorecards and cheering on Pat Robertson. It is a move Thomas recommends to other clergy drawn toward political life. Thomas, who was the spokesman for Moral Majority for five years, laments division in the church today over temporal issues. People outside the fold who observe the internecine battles among Christians, Thomas wrote, must be tempted to say, “See how they fight and hate one another. Who wants to be part of that?”

Thomas concludes his column by calling for “a balance between spirituality and politics, otherwise the church loses its moral authority.”

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