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Concerned Women for America: 'the looniest of the loony'

Beverly LaHaye, embalmed chairman of Concerned Women for America; and Robert H. Knight whose incredible bio states: “Robert is a former editor for the Los Angeles Times, the author of The Age of Consent and a sought-after expert on family, the homosexual agenda, television, film, and freedom of religion.”

House Blend reader Jon pointed this LA Times piece on our friends at Concerned Women for America, the “masterminds” behind the anti-Subaru campaign. Apparently they are so rabid that they turn on wingnuts that they feel are even too far to the left for them. Note that an ex-Liddy Dole staffer is among the army of CWA knuckle-draggers. These folks are scary.

Concerned Women for America always takes the most uncompromising positions. The group, founded 25 years ago in San Diego, almost never settles for half a loaf. And at the first hint of backsliding, it attacks its conservative comrades with the same fury it unleashes on liberals.

In a town run on the art of compromise, it is an unusual and lately galvanizing strategy.

“We’re not just anti-liberal. We put principle above all,” says chief counsel Jan LaRue. “We hold anyone’s feet to the fire if we think that they’re compromising on principle.”

That unflinching strategy — plus an $11-million annual budget, more than $200,000 in political action money raised last year and 500,000 members ready to flood Washington with letters, e-mails and personal visits — has begun to make the once-marginal group a player to reckon with.

As the group’s leaders see it, President Bush’s reelection means their moment has arrived.

I believe God has built up an army,” says Lanier Swann, director of governmental relations, who moved to the organization from the offices of Sen. Elizabeth Hanford Dole (R-N.C.). “Following Nov. 2,” Swann says, “they’re ready to march.”

What Concerned Women for America is ready to march for may be the most zealous interpretation of what it means to be a Christian conservative.

Like other such groups, for example, it opposes abortion and marriage for gays and lesbians. But the organization also objected to this year’s proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because, officials say, the language did not go far enough — it did not ban civil unions. They hope a 2005 version will close loopholes that could have sanctified marriage by another name.

The group opposes hate crime legislation too, because it says making attacks on gays a special crime suggests the government approves of homosexuality.

…Religious liberty, as the group defines it, includes lifting the Internal Revenue Service ban on churches participating in politics. And it includes cheering judges who display the Ten Commandments in public places and championing courts that uphold the right of schoolchildren to say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Robert H. Knight, director of the group’s Culture and Family Institute, an in-house think tank, is among those who object to the use of nonspecific holiday greetings instead of “Merry Christmas.” He says “millions of Americans are waking up to the fact that the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ is less a happy greeting than a pointed assault on our civil liberties.”

…”The agenda of the left is to make religion strictly private and pornography public,” Knight said. “And the people behind this agenda, more often than not, are homosexual activists.”

…Concerned Women for America is especially vigilant when it comes to anything involving homosexuality. When Sen. George V. Allen (R-Va.), a staunch conservative, voted for hate-crime legislation this year, the group attacked him.

To some liberal groups, all this makes Concerned Women for America what one gay rights leader calls “the looniest of the loony.” Referring to the organization’s tendency to turn on conservatives who it believes compromise, he says, “This is an organization that has no problem eating their own.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding