On Monday, Christine Kelly presented an excellent senior honors thesis (“From Separatism to Activism: The Political Life of Jerry Falwell and the Making of the Moral Majority”) examining the emergence of the religious right in modern American history. Her focus was the late Reverend Jerry Falwell and how his political activism from the early 1980s coincided with his separatist and pietist background. Christine showed that Falwell was first and foremost a Baptist minister with strong separatist leanings, who was not only reluctant to be involved politically but consistently advocated personal piety over activism. He was only drawn into politics to form the Moral Majority in 1979 after a gradual process of reevaluating his views in the years following Roe vs. Wade. Through the presentation, Christine depicted a more complicated picture of Falwell with his religious background and spiritual ethos in tension with his political activism.
Congrats on a fine thesis and defense, Christine!