Conservative Leaders Mourn Phyllis Schlafly, Recall Her Courage Under Fire

By Barbara Hollingsworth | September 6, 2016 | 3:38pm EDT
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP photo)

 

(CNSNews.com) –  Conservative leaders across the country who knew her mourned the death of Eagle Forum founder, prolific author, attorney and political activist Phyllis Schlafly, recalling her intelligence, strength and courage under fire.

“I was blessed to know Phyllis personally. She had so many virtues it is hard to single out any one. But if I had to, I would say that Phyllis exemplified unshakable conviction and integrity,” said Media Research Center (MRC) president Brent Bozell.  

“Once she was convinced of the truth of her position, she could not be moved by any political or social pressure.”

Schlafly died at her St. Louis home Monday at the age of 92, one day before the release of her latest book, The Conservative Case for Trump, and 50 years after she penned A Choice Not An Echo in defense of Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

She “was one of the most influential conservatives who never held public office,” Richard Viguerie wrote in a tribute to his longtime friend on ConservativeHQ.com. She “was the authority on the battle for the soul of the GOP between conservatives and the establishment ‘kingmakers’.

“Schlafly was perhaps the first person to set forth the argument that the first and greatest impediment to governing America according to conservative principles is not the Democrats and the Left, it is the corrupt and feckless Republican establishment,” Viguerie noted.

During the 1970s, Schlafly was targeted by the Left for leading a successful grassroots effort to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

"Phyllis Schlafly will be remembered for her courageous leadership in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC).

“With the political establishment, the media, and academia all arrayed against her, she organized a grassroots movement that not only stopped the ERA, but became the foundation for the pro-life, pro-family movement we have today.

"I have little doubt that the political and cultural landscape of America today would have long ago been devoid of true conservatism if not for her leadership. She never surrendered her principles and she never gave in to intimidation… I'm proud to have stood alongside her for faith, family and freedom,” Perkins said.

Gary Bauer, president of American Values, called Schlafly “a dear friend” and “a champion of American conservatism.”

“It is always a risk to say someone is irreplaceable. But it is hard to imagine what the Republican Party would look like, and, more importantly, what America would look like without Phyllis Schlafly,” said Bauer, adding that she was prescient about the threats the feminist movement posed to American society.

“Phyllis… warned that the feminist movement would lead to all kinds of unintended consequences. She was labeled an extremist by the media for warning that those consequences would include the blending of genders and the undermining of marriage. Recent headlines have only proven that Phyllis Schlafly was right all along," Bauer pointed out.

“Since the first time we met over 50 years ago, Phyllis was warm and inspiring and supportive and my, was she far-sighted,” retired Christendom College Professor Christopher Manion told CNSNews.com. “She was the first homeschooling mother I ever met.

“Her Choice Not An Echo was a brilliant bookend to Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative, which she encouraged my father to publish in 1960 because no one else would,” Manion recalled.

“She was original, brilliant, quick, devastating, and endearing, and gave the feminists fits. We owe her more than we’ll ever know,” he said.

Schlafly was also remembered for her defense of the unborn, and her unwavering insistence that the same pro-life plank that President Ronald Reagan successfully ran on in his 49-state landslide defeat of Walter Mondale in 1984 be included in all subsequent Republican Party platforms.

National Right to Life vice president Tony Lauinger, who worked with Schlafly for over 30 years to retain the pro-life plank, praised her “devotion to the unborn child, her exceptional organizing skills, and her ability to educate and inspire others.”

Schlafly “influenced the Republican Party’s principled pledge to defend the sanctity of innocent human life more than…any other individual,” he stated.

Her 26th book, released on the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, explained How the Republican Party Became Pro Life. The 2016 GOP Platform currently calls for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and asserts that “the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”

“Phyllis was a dear friend and the guiding hand behind much of what I did, especially in the early days of American Life League's (ALL) forays into legislative battles,” said ALL president Judie Brown. “I truly miss her and those days, but I know she served the Lord, her family, and her nation to the utmost.”

“There are many things I learned from Phyllis Schlafly,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, who pointed out that she “inspired and helped launch millions of women activists to fight for family, faith, and for justice in the law for born and unborn.

“I learned that ‘consent of the governed’ is for real; Americans have the power if they will use it. I learned that Supreme Court decisions on constitutionality are not adequate substitutions for the argument the Constitution itself makes.

“I learned that you can save the world from your living room and need never abandon your family for a cause. And that there is nothing more important than loving and raising your children and never contracting out the entire project to others,” Dannenfelser said.

Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, called Schlafly “a courageous defender of liberty for all Americans, especially those who have no voice.”

“Her heart’s desire was to defend each member of the American family from conception to natural death. We are grateful for her influence in America politics, her fight against Communist dictators and her education of grassroots women on the importance of constitutional and free market principles.

“There will never be another Phyllis Schlafly. She possessed an exceptional intellect and a kind heart. She will be greatly missed,” Nance said.

“America has lost one of its most beloved conservative activists and icons.  She embodied the spirit of principled activism her entire life,” agreed Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance and a leader of the Convention of States Project.

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, who was friends with Schlafly for over 30 years, said that her influence on modern American history “is hard to overestimate.”

MRC is the parent organization of CNSNews.

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