Dr. Ben Carson | Feb 25, 2015
Recently, I was temporarily placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s watch list for extremism simply because I vocally support traditional marriage. I remember thinking: When did advocating for lifelong love between one man and one woman become a hate crime? Fortunately, the group saw the folly of its ways and apologized, removing me from the list.
It was a small battle, a blip in the daily life of someone who has entered the political arena. And I enjoyed the support of many who rallied in the conservative media to my cause to help reverse such a silly distinction. But it wasn’t that long ago when liberal extremism tried to suffocate traditional values, and there were few media voices to come to the rescue.
There was one, though, so powerful and elegant, persistent yet graceful. Her name is Phyllis Schlafly. And for the past 90 years she has been a tireless advocate for the nuclear family, for traditional marriage and for common-sense conservatism that resists injecting government into every aspect of our lives. On Wednesday night, she will be honored at the Paul Weyrich Awards dinner that precedes the start of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Schlafly fought battles most lacked the courage to fight, and time and again she won. She has been credited for single-handedly stopping the Equal Rights Amendment, which in the 1970s was racing on a media freight train toward ratification. Schlafly stopped it dead in its tracks. It was not because she didn’t believe women deserve rights, but rather because she rightfully recognized the ERA was skewed toward favoring young professional women, and that it would punish middle-aged and older women who chose to stay at home and raise their families by taking away “dependent wife” benefits under Social Security and alimony.
In those days, it took courage and lots of hard work to roll back what a liberal media had started in motion. But Schlafly succeeded because she was intellectually honest, impassioned and skilled in not only communicating the fight, but also in waging it. Likewise, she has relentlessly fought for life, recognizing early on that the Roe v. Wade decision would be one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions.
Through good and bad economic times, and the ebb and flow of conservative activism, Phyllis Schlafly has remained a steady voice for common sense and traditional values. Her speeches, books, TV appearances and radio commentaries blazed the way for modern conservatism while also protecting the rights of traditional families from the onslaught of Hollywood’s culture wars.