I’d like to tell you about my remarkable friend, Phyllis Schlafly. Like me, Phyllis is a lawyer as well as President of Eagle Forum. I have the privilege of working in an office in the Eagle Forum building and, on occasion, with her. When she is working in her office, I will stop by and she’ll say “Ed, come on in!” Phyllis is busy, but she will usually make plenty of time for me and for many other young conservatives. We’ll talk about the events of the day, she will ask me about my kids and I will ask her about her children and grandchildren. She has an immense wealth of insight – personally, politically, and professionally.
Some of you know Phyllis as the unwavering voice for the family. For decades, she has been at the tip of the spear in the culture wars. During the Cold War, Phyllis formed reading clubs among women to inform them about the existential threat of Communism, and why it was imperative to fight them.
She ran for office, served as a Republican committeewoman, and has been a delegate to every GOP convention since the early 1950s. Phyllis fought the Republican Establishment before it was cool, supporting Goldwater, excoriating Nixon, and helping Reagan get elected.
Phyllis used her growing influence to fight for life. In the years around Roe v Wade, both the Democrat and Republican leadership were in favor of abortion. She organized the group RNC for Life and inspired the rank and file of the Republican party to rise up and demand that a pro-life plank be included in the platform. She has fought to secure that plank every time it is challenged.
It is hard to believe the small lady down the hall wrote one of the most influential books of the 20th century – A Choice Not an Echo without one lick of help from a major publishing house. Her self-published bestseller informed and inspired millions of men and women to participate in our nation’s great debates.
Phyllis recognized feminism as a great threat to womanhood. Her sharp mind was not fooled by the misleading title of the Equal Rights Amendment which would have done far more harm to women than good. She led the charge against ratifying this destructive change to our constitution despite the overwhelming odds. Phyllis beat the academy, the media and our political class almost alone.
When I pass by her office and see her at work, it is easy to forget how incredibly prolific she is. Phyllis’ intellectual output is a force of nature. She just finished recording her three minute radio commentaries that run five days a week for the month of September. She has been doing this for years, producing nearly 8100 scripts and recordings. Every week she pens The Phyllis Schlafly Report. Each week she does a radio program for an hour.
Phyllis formed the Eagle Forum which has been invaluable in providing influence over our political culture.
She will be releasing two more books to add to the dozen already published. I am currently reading an advanced copy of Who Killed the American Family which is a detailed study of the cummulative effects of our culture on those closest to us. She has revised her landmark book A Choice Not An Echo (email me to pre-order a copy) to remind conservatives that this is not the first time the Party of Lincoln has been run by the feckless.
Phyllis Schlafly is a sharp, charming woman, a good friend and a formidable intellect with an amazing resume, but all of her effort is directed at protecting what matters to her most – her family. She wanted her beloved children and grandchildren to grow up in a free society where they could pursue happiness and faith.
I’ve read some of the nasty things her political foes said about her over the years, particularly in the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment. Despite this vitriol, Phyllis was and is a happy warrior. She knows the truth, knows that the truth is worth fighting for, and does it all with joy, laughter and class. An amazing achievement considering how crass her opponents are.
Today is Phyllis Schlafly’s birthday. When I sit across from my friend, it is hard to imagine that she will begin her tenth decade. When you consider all that she has done, any one of those decades would be a great lifetime achievement. Even so, as the Lord gives her strength, there is much more she will do. Join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday, and to thank her for her amazing service to us all.
All the best.