In 1978, Christian author Beverly LaHaye organized a rally against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in San Diego. To her surprise, more than 1,000 people showed up. A series of meetings followed, and by the next year, Concerned Women for America (CWA) was born.
Today, the organization is based in Washington, D.C., and boasts a membership in excess of 500,000. The group has broadened its focus from the ERA to a host of social and political issues and is gaining national attention. During an appearance at the CWA annual convention in September, President Reagan said LaHaye is “changing the face of American politics.” CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked her about CWA’s growing influence.
What prompted you to move from being a writer and pastor’s wife to leading a political activist group?
It was not by design. I wanted to inform churchwomen in my area about some of the issues that were coming up, like the ERA. Our first meeting in 1978 was so successful that the women said, “What are you going to do next?” I realized then that my vision was shortsighted, because churchwomen all over America were hungry for someone to sort out the things that would affect families and the religious values systems they had. From there, it took off like a prairie fire.
Why did the group take off so quickly? And why has it grown so much in numbers and in influence?
The time was right. The more women learned about what was happening, the more they wanted to get involved. When they hear about issues, women are not content to sit back and say, “Well, somebody’s got to do something.” They say, “What can we do?” CWA gave them a plan of action. Every month, we try to give them not just prayer ...1
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