Know Your Right Wingers
SOURCE: August Pollak
Beverly LaHaye is successful, influential, and has had a long career in the public eye. As founder of an organization called “Concerned Women for America,” she might seem, at first glance, like a role-model for young women everywhere.
But LaHaye’s ideology is anything but mainstream. Concerned Women for America thinks college health clinics shouldn’t provide contraceptives and that young women should marry early and make “their husband and children their priority.” The organization promotes the idea that people can be de-gayed through belief in Jesus and that hate crime laws “threaten religious freedom” — as if no good Christian could be tolerant of homosexuality. LaHaye’s activism is centered on making the American legal system more directly based on a fundamentalist reading of Christian ideology. She encourages women to be strong and courageous, but only in a manner consistent with their God-ordained roles as wives and mothers.
Concerned Women for America has a membership of 600,000 and an annual budget of $10 million. Beverly and her husband Tim LaHaye (author of the spectacularly popular “Left Behind” fiction series that portrays the post-Rapture tribulations of nonbelievers) were named among TIME magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in February 2005. The LaHayes are both activists and novelists, each having published well over 10 books. True to her marriage-obsessed ideology, Beverly’s status as the wife of Tim is frequently included when her other achievements are listed.
Most of what you need to know about LaHaye can be gleaned from her 1987 assertion in a Ms. Magazine interview that “Christian values should dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” According to the Concerned Women for America timeline, she founded the organization in 1979 after hearing feminist writer and activist Betty Friedan claim she spoke for the women of America. LaHaye sprang into action; LaHaye “knew the feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric did not represent her beliefs, nor those of the vast majority of women,” according to the CWA site. She founded the advocacy group to “to protect and promote Biblical values for women and families” through prayer, education, and influence over elected leaders.
LaHaye and her husband have such close ties with the fundamentalist community that Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University is proud home of the LaHaye Ice Center. Within CWA, LaHaye is most visible in her role as head of the Beverly LaHaye Institute. The Institute’s website, hosted by CWA, has helpful advice and content for women. Included, of course, are many articles written by LaHaye herself, such as “How to Make Your Honeymoon a Success” and “The Reality of Middle-Aged Pregnancy.” The site also offers information on a “Chilling New Late-Term Abortion Technique” and issues a dire warning: Porn is being delivered with pizza in Canada.
In 1987 LaHaye appeared as a guest on “The Sally Jesse Rafael Show,” opposite a woman who had been artificially inseminated and had no intention of getting married. In an article she wrote after the fact, she said,
I believe that certainly when God put the family together, He intended that there be a father and a mother. Even in a home where there has been a divorce and the father is no longer present … at least that little child knows that somewhere back in his past, there has been a father; there has been a mother. But you see, these sperm bank children do not have even that. They go back to their beginning of mother and sperm bank.
LaHaye went on to tell the heartbreaking story of children with no fathers, and of evil feminists who do not value life, and therefore send their children to daycare rather than staying at home. She seemed unconcerned that some women need to work to earn a living and support their families.
In 1990 she began to broadcast the nationally syndicated radio show “Beverly LaHaye Live,” which was later called “Concerned Women Today,” using the airtime to nationally syndicate her religious views. Broadcasts included, “The Trouble with Dear Abby’s Advice,” which responded to a number of Dear Abby columns that referred to homosexuality as a genetic trait, and an episode calling “for pastors and churches to examine the influence of homosexual activists on their public school system.” The radio show was named “Talk Show of the Year” by National Religious Broadcasters in 1993.
In 1999 CWA began its “Truth in Love” advertising campaign, promoting the power of Jesus to undo homosexuality. Some of LaHaye’s and CWA’s other central lobbying efforts are focused on overturning Roe v. Wade, bashing the morning-after pill, and banning embryonic stem-cell research (which is wrong, CWA explains, “[b]ecause it kills a human being”).
LaHaye has authored nine books, including The New Spirit-Controlled Woman, Spiritual Power for Your Family: How to Partner with the Holy Spirit and Raise a Loving Family, and, most creepily, A Woman’s Path to True Significance: How God Used the Women of the Bible and Will Use You Today. Her writing focuses on how women can use the teachings of the Bible to become strong Christians, wives, mothers, and role models. Roles are the key to LaHaye’s philosophy and books — they outline how crucial it is for both partners within a marriage to stay within what she believes to be naturally ordained gender roles.
The LaHaye power couple wrote a book together in 1998 called The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love, a self-help book for married couples that outlines the sexual relationship men and women should have. The book carefully outlines the benefits of sex within marriage. As if anyone really doubted that? In case you were wondering, the LaHayes believe marital sex boosts one’s sense of manhood or womanhood, helps married men not to have affairs, makes wives feel more loved, and, most importantly, evens everyone’s temperament. Chapter titles include “For Men Only,” “For Women Only,” “The Impotent Man,” and “Why God Created Sex.”
LaHaye is a woman who enjoys the fruits of success and influence as a best selling-author, award-winning radio host, and powerful activist, yet she urges other women to stay home. Given her hostile attacks on gay people, reproductive freedom, separation of church and state, and women’s rights, we wish LaHaye would follow her own advice.
Quotable moments from Bev:
“. . . Christian values should dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.”
“Most women know the feminist agenda has failed. They see our culture crumbling from its influence. In fact, feminism has harmed women and families worldwide as its proponents have used the United Nations to spread their agenda.”
“[Homosexuals] want their depraved ‘values’ to become our children’s values. Homosexuals expect society to embrace their immoral way of life. Worse yet, they are looking for new recruits!”