Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly–patriot, benefactor to her country, who stopped the Equal Rights Amendment and made respect for the lives of unborn babies a cornerstone of American conservatism–died Monday at the age of 92.
I’ll always remember Mrs. Schlafly because I had the privilege of interviewing her in 2009. It was not a good time for her to be giving interviews, because she was recovering from an injury sustained in a fall off a stage during one of her speeches. If I’d known about that, I wouldn’t have troubled her. But I didn’t know, and rather than bite my head off for not knowing, Phyllis Schlafly made time to discuss a hot public official with a reporter that she’d never heard of, writing for a Christian education ministry (me, writing for the Chalcedon Foundation).
We talked about the proposed new Constitutional Convention, or “ConCon,” which was a pretty hot topic in 2009 and, in fact, pretty close to becoming a reality. Mrs. Schlafly opposed it. When she was done presenting her arguments, I opposed it to. She was extremely gracious and even more persuasive. She had a knack for bringing up points that you never thought of before, but should have.
In 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment was all but a done deal. But then Phyllis Schlafly rolled up her sleeves and started asking questions; and when the American people heard the answers–or, more often, the failure to answer the question–the deal got undone. Mrs. Schlafly kept up the fight for ten years until the ERA finally ran out of time in 1982, having failed to get the last three states needed for ratification.
And no, she wasn’t afraid to oppose something cleverly labeled “Equal Rights Amendment” in hopes of scaring off the opposition by raising an eyebrow and exclaiming incredulously, “You’re against equal rights?” Tricks like that didn’t work on her.
Phyllis Schlafly will never be forgiven for proving, time and time again, that the Smart People of America are really anything but.
She will enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven forevermore.
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