Tags: McAteer: | Soldier | the | Right

Ed McAteer: Soldier of the Right

Friday, 08 October 2004 12:00 AM

McAteer persuaded me that I needed to meet these leaders and he set out to accomplish that. I went all over the South with McAteer, meeting Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, Adrian Rogers, James Robison, W.A. Criswell and many others. In every case I urged them to get active in the political process. They were very reluctant to do so, telling McAteer and me that they were concerned that their followers would cease to support them if they did so.

McAteer had nearly all of these leaders gathered to support televangelist James Robison, who had been kicked off of WFAA-TV in Ft. Worth. After a rally in Dallas, McAteer arranged for everyone to meet. In typical fashion he turned to me and said "Okay, Brother Paul, tell us what we should do." I suggested that we have a professional poll done to determine whether or not it were true that supporters of these ministries would leave if the leaders got involved in the political process. One by one people pledged a couple of thousand dollars each until we reached the $40,000 needed to cover the cost of the survey.

We engaged Lance Terrance and Associates for the survey. A few months later McAteer again arranged for all of these important religious figures to attend a meeting of his Religious Roundtable in Washington. In a closed-door session, the survey was revealed. It showed that not only would the followers of their ministries not leave, their followers were anxious for their ministries to get active politically. And here was the zinger...the survey showed that people would be willing to contribute to political activity in addition to contributing to the ministries. That was it. The Moral Majority was born. Thereafter came many other aspects of the Religious Right. The year was 1979.

The next year McAteer organized national affairs briefings all over the nation. The most important of these was his briefing in Dallas at which Ronald Reagan spoke just after his presidential nomination. Feelings were raw because Reagan had selected George Bush as his running mate. But Reagan won over the crowd of nearly 20,000 by saying, "I know you can't endorse me, but I endorse you."

The thousands upon thousands, especially throughout the South, who heard from Phillips, General Al Knight and many other important conservatives, were energized. It was an extraordinary achievement. Maybe Ronald Reagan would have won the presidency without Ed McAteer but it might have been a close election rather than the great landslide from which Reagan benefited.

From 1980 forward, McAteer kept spreading the message of religious conservatives. He never seemed to tire. He loved America in a way that was reminiscent of earlier times.

America owes a great debt to Ed McAteer. Without him there would not have been a Religious Right as we know it. Moreover, the Religious Right is perhaps the most important component of the conservative coalition.

Tuesday McAteer and his wonderful wife, Faye, were watching the Vice Presidential debate. Ed said before it was over that he felt very tired and was going to go to bed. His wife gave him extra blankets as he seemed terribly cold. He slept through the night. He got up for a bit at 5:30 the next morning. On his way back to bed he collapsed and died.

Gatherings of the faithful will never be the same without Ed. He always had a kind and uplifting word for everyone. I am not one who is big on hugs. But when Ed McAteer hugged you, somehow you felt better.

Just weeks ago a book about McAteer's remarkable life was published [The Ed McAteer Story, the Power of One, by Daniel E. Johnson, Thomas and Jonathan Lindberg]. Future generations should read his inspirational story. God called one his most loyal soldiers home. Ed McAteer dead at 75.

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McAteer persuaded me that I needed to meet these leaders and he set out to accomplish that.I went all over the South with McAteer, meeting Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, Adrian Rogers, James Robison, W.A. Criswell and many others.In every case I urged them...
McAteer:,Soldier,the,Right
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2004-00-08
Friday, 08 October 2004 12:00 AM
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