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Conservative Evangelical Activist Beverly LaHaye Dies At 94

By Liz Lykins
beverly lahaye
On Sept. 13, 2019, Beverly LaHaye speaks at the 40th Anniversary Gala for Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C. (Video screengrab)

Beverly LaHaye, a prominent conservative Christian activist who founded Concerned Women for America (CWA), passed away Sunday at the age of 94, CWA announced.

LaHaye formed CWA 45 years ago to advocate for Biblical principles at all levels of public policy. Since then, it has become the “nation’s largest public policy women’s organization” with chapters in nearly every state, CWA said on its website.

“Mrs. LaHaye championed the forgotten women of this country, whose voices were not being heard in Washington and in the culture,” Penny Nance, CEO and president of CWA, said in a statement. “Her life is a testament to the impact one woman with a vision and mission can have on the course of history.” 

LaHaye testified before Congress multiple times against abortion and worked closely with presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, her obituary on CWA’s website said. Additionally, she spoke on behalf of Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia in their confirmation hearings.

“It is hard to imagine a woman who has had a greater impact on our culture than our founder,” Nance added. “We are forever grateful for her vision, her wisdom, and her spiritural leadership. A tenacious woman of God, her legacy will live on and be cherished by the organization she founded and the millions of people she has touched.”

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LaHaye was a mother of four children, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of 20, according to CWA.

LaHaye was born in 1929 in Detroit. She was raised in an evangelical household and from a young age, faith was an important part of her life, her obituary said.

In 1947, she married ministerial student Tim LaHaye – a World War II Army Air Force veteran –after meeting him at Bob Jones University. Her husband later became well-known for co-authoring the best-selling Left Behind series with author Jerry Jenkins.

The couple had three children before relocating to San Diego in 1956 to begin their ministry at Scott Memorial Baptist Church, CWA said. Soon after, they had their fourth child.

Beverly LaHaye’s inspiration for CWA formed after watching a 1978 television interview of Betty Friedan, the founder of the pro-choice National Organization for Women. To LaHaye, Friedan advocated for homosexuality, abortion on demand, and values that “undermine the core of American culture: the family.”

LaHaye wanted to form an organization that would provide a platform to advance conservative values in politics and policy, her obituary said. A year later, CWA was launched at a rally LaHaye hosted in a local San Diego theatre and quickly grew into a national organization.

In 1985, LaHaye moved CWA’s headquarters to Washington, D.C. to help CWA have its “greatest impact on the culture,” according to CWA.

President Ronald Reagan praised LaHaye as “one of the powerhouses on the political scene today” in the keynote address at the organization’s national convention in 1987. 

“Because of her, the great majority of women once again have a voice in the issues of the day. You can no longer be ignored by the media or by their elected representatives,” the President said. “Beverly LaHaye is changing the face of American politics, and she deserves our thanks and congratulations.”

LaHaye served as president of CWA until 2006 but continued as chairman of the board for until her retirement in 2020.

LaHaye authored more than 30 books, including “The Spirit-Controlled Woman,” “Understanding Your Child’s Temperament,” and “The Desires of a Woman’s Heart.” LaHaye and her husband also co-founded San Diego Christian College in 1970.

LaHaye’s work was recognized through several awards, including the Southern Baptist Convention’s Religious Freedom Award in 1991, and the Council for National Policy’s Thomas Jefferson Award for Servant Leadership in 2001. In 2019, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association awarded her book, “The Spirit-Controlled Woman,” their Platinum Book Award for 1 million copies sold.

In 2005, Time Magazine named LaHaye and her husband as among the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” dubbing them “the Christian power couple.”

She was married to her husband for 69 years before his passing at the age of 90 in 2016.

On social media, many are mourning LaHaye.

“I’m very sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Beverly LaHaye,” Robert Aderholt, the U.S. representative for Alabama’s 4th congressional district posted on X, formerly Twitter. “CWA gave women in our country a platform to advance conservative values in politics and policy. Beverly will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on for years to come.”

Tanya Ditty, a member and leader at CWA, said LaHaye was a “true trailblazer and warrior for Jesus.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity she gave to women like me who had a calling on their life to make a difference for His kingdom and our nation. She will be missed,” Ditty posted on Facebook.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.

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3 Responses

  1. Three things regarding Beverly LaHaye:

    #1 – As reported above: “LaHaye authored more than 30 books, including “The Spirit-Controlled Woman,” “Understanding Your Child’s Temperament,” and “The Desires of a Woman’s Heart.”

    My question: What were Beverly LaHaye’s professional / sociological qualifications that afforded her to pen the above books? Is it just because she thought it was so? Or, was it that her husband (who penned the book “The Unhappy Gays”) told her it was so? Or, some other reason that compelled her to think she had the sociological answers?

    #2 – Also from the reported above: “LaHaye and her husband also co-founded San Diego Christian College in 1970.”

    My question – Being “co-founders” (both Tim and Beverly) suggests no patriarchy, however, I’m betting Tim LaHaye would have disagreed with the word “co-founders” (aka “equals”).

    #3 – Not from the reported above: Beverly LaHaye was pretty much on the side of anti-feminism.

    My question – Yet, weren’t the benefits of feminism the reason why Beverly LaHaye had the capability to speak out against feminism?

  2. LaHaye’s group, while looking like an innocent group of church ladies, has done great harm to many people in America.
    For information see the Campaign for Accountability whose staff has done a deep-dive into the shady underpinings of LaHaye’s CWA.
    Here are their key findings in the report dated January, 2020:
    -Concerned Women for America is in a steady state of decline as measured by donations and staffing.
    -CWA appears to operate as a nonprofit for hire that rents out its name and membership to conservative advocacy organizations including the Koch Network and the Judicial Crisis Network.
    -CWA’s finances are rife with problems. The organization has redirected funds designated for political purposes into its main bank account, has paid salaries to family members of its directors, has directed lucrative contracts to vendors with personal ties to the group, and its top fundraisers are paid substantial percentages of the money they raise.
    Link: https://campaignforaccountability.org/work/fake-feminists-for-hire/

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