By Nicole Nichols
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a 501(c)(3) public policy women’s organization whose main goal is to promote biblical principles in our government and in our society. Started by Beverly LaHaye in the 1970’s, to counter Betty Friedan’s National Organization for Women and its bothersome feminist attempts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, the group has grown into a powerful lobbying and policy making, and legislative action group.
Beverly LaHaye is the wife of Tim LaHaye, an evangelical minister and author. The soon to be eighty-seven year old Timothy has long been associated with religious extremism. Having been a close friend of Jerry Falwell and having sat on the board of the Moral Majority, he also helped establish the Institute for Creation Research. He is best known as the author of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fictional books that took the Christian right by storm in the 1990’s.
Beverly, also an octogenarian, is probably best known for her 1976 book “The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love.” She and Tim met while at the Bob Jones University which helps to explain her incredible bias and extremism. Her main objective in her activism appears to be making certain that America is governed by Christian principles that adhere to biblical values.
Much like Phyllis Schlafly, Beverly claims that women should not work outside of the home. Also, much like Schlafly, Beverly wasn’t much of a stay-at-home mom, herself. So much for practicing what you preach.
To understand the nature of CWA it is essential to understand the founder and her beliefs. CWA’s core issues are abortion, heterosexual marriage, pornography, religious freedom, and national sovereignty. They are frequently involved in legal cases and legislative battles concerning these issues. They vehemently oppose any interference by the United Nations and advocate a complete withdrawal.
Beverly Lahaye claims that the organization was “built on the foundation of the word of God,” and that before anyone becomes politically active it is important that you understand that you are a sinner and deserve punishment in Hell. To Beverly, feminists are “spiritual forces of darkness” and “abortion, pornography, premarital sex and homosexuality are schemes of the devil.”
The current President and CEO of CWA is Penny Young Nance, former advisor to the Federal Communications Commission on media and social issues. Nance served as an advisor to the Federal Communication Commission on media and social issues where she provided outreach to Congress, public interest groups and the industry.
Prior to her position with the FCC, Nance was the founder and president of the Kids First Coalition which focuses on bringing various children’s issues to the attention of Congress, the media, and the public.
Additionally, Nance has been a consultant for Prison Fellowship Ministries, a prison ministry that was founded by the late Chuck Colson, and whose stated mission is: “To mobilize and assist the Christian community in its ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners, victims, and their families; and in the advancement of restorative justice.”
Prison Fellowship Ministries is a branch of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a wholly dominionist organization seeking to push a biblical agenda into the halls of government and American life.
Janice Shaw Crouse is a cherished Senior Fellow at CWA, and a leader of the Beverly LaHaye Institute – an offshoot of CWA. In the 1990’s Crouse was on the staff of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think tank supported largely by the Scaife, Bradley, and Olin Foundations. Also in the 1990’s she was a speechwriter for George H.W. Bush.
Crouse pens a weekly column for Townhall.com, the American Spectator, the Washington Times, the American Thinker, and Human Events, while serving on the Board of Advisors for the Christian Film and Television Commission.
Vehemently opposed to any sort of sex education in public schools, Crouse holds family and faith as the two most important roles of her moral compass. She maintains that “feminism rests on the fundamental misunderstanding of the origins of power.” She rejects all alternative life-styles and stands firmly against same-gender marriage.
Shari Rendall is the Director of Legislation and Public Policy for CWA. In the 1990’s, Rendall worked as a Legislative Aide for Senator Bob Smith out of New Hampshire. Smith was a Republican turned Tax-Payer Party, turned Constitution Party politician. That tells us a lot about the molding of Shar’s political ideology.
She later worked as a year as a telefundraiser for the Republican National Committee until becoming the Manager of Government Relations and Ethics for the National Court Reporters Association, an influential lobbying group.
Mario Diaz, Esq. is the Chief Legal Counsel for CWA. According to CWA: “Mr. Diaz is a Constitutional Law scholar who focuses on cases and legislation dealing with CWA’s core issues: religious liberty, sanctity of human life, family and marriage, pornography, education, and national sovereignty. He also directs CWA’s work on judicial nominations and judicial activism.
He writes regular columns for the Washington Times, Human Events, WorldNetDaily, and Townhall.com and has been a featured speaker at the well-known Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The CWA has four affiliate groups : Concerned Women Education and Legal Defense Foundation; Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC); the Beverly LaHaye Institute; and the Culture and Family Institute.
Concerned Women For America has anywhere between a half million and three-quarters of a million members and a very healthy budget. Conservative politicians covet any endorsement that they can get from CWA, understand that in order to receive that endorsement they must adhere to the ultra-conservative, Christian beliefs that are held by that organization.
Their Statement of Faith is, unequivocally Dominionist in nature:
- We believe the Bible to be the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God and the final authority on faith and practice.
- We believe Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, rose bodily from the dead on the third day and ascended into Heaven from where He will come again to receive all believers unto Himself.
- We believe all men are fallen creations of Adam’s race and in need of salvation by grace through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe it is our duty to serve God to the best of our ability and to pray for a moral and spiritual revival that will return this nation to the traditional values upon which it was founded
In keeping with that statement, CWA’s their public policy advocacy is thusly diected:
- Family – “CWA believes that marriage consists of one man and one woman. We seek to protect and support the Biblical design of marriage and the gift of children.” CWA donated $409,000 in support of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state of California. CWA also opposed the 1988 Act for Better Child Care (H.R. 3660), which would have provided government-sponsored child care for families in which both parents are working.
- Sanctity of Human Life – “CWA supports the protection of all innocent human life from conception until natural death. This includes the consequences resulting from abortion.”
- Education – “CWA supports reform of public education by returning authority to parents.” In 1983, CWA helped the plaintiff in the case Mozert v. Hawkins County School Board, a district court case in which said plaintiff believed it unconstitutional for said public school district to require specific reading material for students.
- Pornography – “CWA endeavors to fight all pornography and obscenity.”
- Religious Liberty – “CWA supports the God-given rights of individuals in the United States and other nations to pray, worship and express their beliefs without fear of discrimination or persecution.”
- National Sovereignty – “CWA believes that neither the United Nations nor any other international organization should have authority over the United States in any area. We also believe the United States has the right and duty to protect and secure our national borders
Additionally, the CWA supports abstinence only sex-education, and the teaching of Intelligent Design in school curriculum. They oppose abortion in all cases, as well as emergency contraception; pornography, obscenity, and indecency in media; mandating the HPV vaccine; same-gender marriage; hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation; and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Because of their size and their influence, Concerned Women For America wields a very heavy hand in promoting right-wing extremism in this country. The have the ears of Congress as well as state level officials and the money and backing to make them very hard to ignore. They are but one more cog in the wheels of this freight train that is careening through America at breakneck speed and delivering a theocratic doctrine to our law-makers.