While many political observers say the Religious Right has lost the prominence it gained after Ronald Reagan’s landslide elections, one conservative group continues to wield considerable political clout.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) is emerging as one of the most influential and outspoken activist groups on the American political scene. Emphasizing traditional values and family concerns, the group has made an impact on public policy debates nationwide and garnered the praise of many leading conservatives, including President Reagan.

Range Of Concerns

CWA was founded in 1979 by Beverly LaHaye, a Christian author and lecturer on marriage and family life. Beginning with nine members, the organization now claims the allegiance of more than half a million women, with 1,800 local affiliates called Prayer/Action Chapters. Each chapter is active in its own community and can also be mobilized for prayer and lobbying efforts at the national level. LaHaye says her organization’s membership is diverse, but the majority can be characterized as politically and theologically conservative women with families.

CWA’S list of concerns is broad. The organization backs the rights of the unborn; human rights; religious freedom; quality public education; and a strong national defense. It opposes the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); the spread of AIDS; sexual promiscuity, especially among the young; pornography; violent and sexually explicit entertainment; drug abuse; violence among families; and Communist expansion in the Western hemisphere. On the local level, CWA chapters have been involved in opposing school-based health clinics that provide contraceptives to teenagers. They have also called for sex-education courses that promote ...

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