Archive for March, 2012

Conforming Carl Schmitt

Central Connecticut State Universirty

Conforming Carl Schmitt

Elitist Controlling the Mob

Dan Whalen




A look at how Carl Schmitt conformed to what Hannah Arendt had in mind as a member of the elite allying with the mob within a totalitarian movement,




Hannah Arendt and Carl Schmitt are two on different sides of the political and philosophical spectrum.  Even with these differences they make arguments that parallel each other.  They were and still are considered intellectual elites.  This is important because when Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism she speaks of an alliance between the mob, the disgruntled lower classes, and the elite, the intellectual.  In essence she is pointing the finger at those like Carl Schmitt.

It is interesting to point out that Arendt feels that the intellectual elite is part of the reason a totalitarian movement is able to grab a foot hold within in a country. She fails to disclose that she is part of the intellectual elite, but a Marxist bias does come out in her writing.  This is not to be confused with her critique of Stalinism.

The term elite is a broad term that can mean almost anything, but Schmitt does support her claim of an attraction between the intellectual elite and the mob as a clue to understanding the totalitarian movement[i].  He does seem to lean towards a totalitarian style government.  Schmitt says “A state standing above society could be called universal but not total, as the term is under stood nowadays[ii].”  This can be seen as a whitewash of what totalitarianism is, making totalitarianism seem as if it can be better than what it is known of being.  It places him on “the terrifying roster of distinguished men whom totalitarianism can count among its sympathizers, fellow-travelers, and inscribed party members[iii].”  Whitewash maybe to weak of a word, but what he is saying that within a totalitarian regime there will be a sense of universality that will be all in inclusive.  Everyone will be better off and equal within the state based on his theory.  It would be the Utopia Sir Thomas More[iv] wrote about, giving all those within the state the social and economic justice they are seeking.  This gives the mob Arendt speaks about hope if the message is relayed to them correctly.

The mob, whipped up in a frenzy unleashing its terror, well have to have an enemy, some entity that has denied them social and economic justice or is the way of it.  Schmitt would admit, “The actual participants can correctly recognize, understand, and judge the concrete situation and settle the extreme case of the conflict… Emotionally the enemy is easily treated as being evil.[v]”  How ever as Arendt points out “the European status quo was still the most serious threat to the ambitions of the mob.[vi]”  An enemy foreign or domestic would have to be created.  The concept of the domestic enemy does not elude Schmitt; he wrote “as the state is a political entity this requirement for the internal peace compels it in critical situations to decide also upon the domestic enemy.[vii]”  As for the Nazis there was not a shortage of people to be labeled as an enemy.  The enemy is the scapegoat of the totalitarian regime to distract the populous from the shortcomings and mistakes made by the regime.  Schmitt notes, “the distinction of friend and enemy denotes the utmost degree of intensity of a union or separation[viii]” and “without having simultaneously to draw upon all those moral, aesthetic, economic, or other distinctions[ix].”  The elite and the mobs “preference for terrorism over all other forms of political activity[x]” means they need an enemy so weak that there is little possibility for them, the enemy, to have any desire to fight back or resist.  This is why the Nazis chose the Jews within Germany, because their first enemy, the Communists, fought back.  As Germany occupied territory other groups became domestic enemies based on that territory, for example the Gypsies in Hungary[xi].  Also common for a totalitarian regime is an ideological enemy, for Stalin it was the United States.  The enemy is important not only for propaganda purposes but for their “desire to see the ruin of this whole world of fake security, fake culture, and fake life.[xii]”  The enemy is opposed to the realness of the totalitarian regime and its virtues.

With upheaval caused the mob under control from the elite is what causes both entities to form “an alliance because of their common antipathy toward the state[xiii]” and the elites “smugness of spurious respectability gave way to anarchic despair[xiv].”  The newfound status of the intellectual elite supersedes “the fact that their lives prior to their political careers had been failures, naïvely held against them by the more respectable leaders of the old parties.[xv]”  To have these new successful careers they need the mob to whip up support by any means necessary.  An example of which would be how Mafia heads, not to be confused with the mob Arendt is speaking of, transcend their lack of education to acquire wealth and power through brute force.  The mobs violence “become(s) a kind of philosophy through which to express frustration, resentment, and blind hatred, a kind of political expressionism[xvi]” which is the fuel the elite needs to push forward their platform which would other wise be quashed by the wealthy elite.  Plus the intellectual elite needs to use the mob because unlike the wealthy elite who have money and power they can use to garner influence within the political establishment.  Intellectual elite really cannot garner influence in the same manner.  Writing papers and journal articles can only do so much and hardly leave the realm of academia.  The sphere of influence is not that large, but with the power of the mob the sphere grows and expands into a stratum of society it had not reached before.  As it grows it is reinforced by means like propaganda, even if the messages meaning is distorted.

As I wrote this one story kept popping in my head and that was The Cave by Plato.  Reasoning being perception is everything because we all see things differently.   The intellectual elite would know this and in knowing this would know how to exploit it.  That is why the allegory of The Cave is so important.   The mob would be more or less the people bound in the cave and the intellectual elite are the people behind the mob projecting images on to the cave wall.  The only difference is the mob does not break free and see the light.  The mob is forever trapped in an

endless cycle, forever doing the bidding of the intellectual elite.   It is like the slogan “Stupid people in mass can be a very dangerous thing.”   The slogan was referring to the election of George W. Bush, but it’s meaning is timeless.   The mob is in effect mindless, lacking direction, until the intellectual elite gives it a mind.   That is why the alliance is needed between them and so important for both parties.   Carl Schmitt is, for lack of a better word, the poster child of the elite that Arendt is describing.  She to fits in that group, but to the other extreme.














End Notes

[i] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 433

[ii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 24

[iii] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 432

[iv] For this paper I will refer to Thomas More as Sir Thomas More and not St. Thomas More .  Referring to him as Saint gives the meaning of my words a religious context that is not desired.  Although Schmitt does reference religion in his text I reframed from using religion in my paper.

[v] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 27

[vi] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 436

[vii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 46

[viii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 26


[ix] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 27

[x] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 439

[xi] It is well known that the Nazi’s also had Gypsies and homosexuals among other groups in the concentration camps.   My Grandmother, a German born in Hungary, would rail against the Gypsies.  Other members of her, she came to the United States during the First World War, family that came after the Second World War felt the Gypsies were more of a threat than Jews because Gypsies never laid roots in the manner other Europeans had.  This was exploited by the Nazi occupation force to build support among the local population.

[xii] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 435

[xiii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 41

[xiv] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 433

[xv] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004)  : 434

[xvi] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004) : 439

Works Cited

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism: Introduction by Samantha Power. New York: Schocken, 2004.

Schmitt, Carl. The Concept of the Political. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1996.



The Sheep of Christ

Central Connecticut State University

The Sheep of Christ

How Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson over estimated their importance

Daniel Whalen


A brief overview and look at how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson took different paths to gain lobbying power for the Religious Right.  With their methods one can see how they failed to push any Christian agenda forward.


In the early part of the United States the citizens felt the country should be a country with a religious orientation.  The overwhelming majority of people were Protestants.   Protestantism is a made up of many dominations, many of which have beliefs that overlap each other.   Religion has always been a part of the United States in one form or another.  It was not until after the Second World War that religion had a reawaking and reinserted it’s self into everyday American life.  Most of this has come from the ever-shrinking Protestant majority.   Many have selected to follow those who have extreme and outrageous views of what the country and world should be.   To better understand this one must look at two of the movements most notable leaders and see why people are driven to their point of view.  Also it is important to see if these men are actual leaders or looking for something else such as money and notoriety.

As the post-war era was beginning a new war was beginning.   The new enemy was the atheist Soviet Union.  Under communism all forms of religion were discouraged and persecuted.  With the Soviet Union as a political and militarily enemy it was only natural for the religious to choose it as an enemy.  With its godless society it was easy for the religious leaders to shepherd a flock.  These factors would forge a partnership with some of the top preachers in the United States and its elected officials.   A partnership that over the years would try to define a nation and push towards sites people never thought possible.

In the 1950’s the United States was coming out of World War II the victors and engaged in the Korean Conflict to stop the spread of Communism.  Americans were not just looking for leadership in the war against the Communist, but a spiritual guide.  One of these guides was Rev. Billy Graham. We today think of Rev. Graham as a man who periodically was on television during prime time interrupting our favorite programs.   But he was more than that, some would say he pulled America from the abyss.  He was not out for power, nor was he out for political gain.  By the time of his preaching had ceased he had established a legacy like no other.  He also advised a number of presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton.  This relationship he had with Presidents would not go unnoticed by preachers that would try to follow in his footsteps.

Pat Robertson is a man we all know is known for saying outlandish things from time to time.  A person from outside the United States surely would think he is insane for the remarks that he has made over a variety of issues.  Born Marion Gordon Robertson on March 22, 1930 to Absalom Willis and Gladys Robertson in the state of Virginia.  His father was a Democratic Senator from Virginia from 1946 to 1966; this gave Pat a leg up in politics[1][2].  This is important because as Pat becomes a televangelist he will champion causes dear to religious conservatives.  An ability to know the workings of government is a vital tool to have.  In 1960 Pat would found the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the first Christian television network in the United States[3].  As the CBN evolved over the decades it would become the soapbox from which Pat Robertson would spread his message.  In 1989, after a failed run for President, Robertson would form the Christian Coalition to promote the religious conservative agenda within the United States[4].

Jerry Falwell was also from Virginia and started the Thomas Road Baptist Church with 35 members in June of 1956[5].  Falwell would not have the background of Pat Robertson, nor would he have the ambitions of Robertson.  Jerry Falwell would have a television show that would never reach the heights of the CBN and he would never run for office.   But he had the same impact on the religious conservative movement that Pat Robertson had.   Falwell in 1979 would found the Moral Majority with the hopes of returning America to Christian morality[6].  Falwell would want to have the power Robertson had, but he would go about it in a different way with different results.

As the decade of the 1970’s was about to close, the United States was at a crossroad.  The 1960’s brought an end to school prayer with the Supreme Courts ruling on it[7].  Along with this the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal with the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.  These rulings and the open sexuality and drug use were emerging threats to the values of the conservative Christian people in the United States.   They also were concerned with passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which a staggering 91% of conservative Christians against it[8].  Also among their issues was reestablishing school prayer, teaching creationism in schools, and homosexuality[9].  They had lost hope in President Carter, himself a born-again Christian, in getting these ruling reversed.   The Religious Right as the conservative Christians are known as needed a new leaders to pin their hopes on, to forge a new trail for the country.  They knew they would have to form a voting bloc that can in some way sway the election in 1980.  The Religious Right would start this process of organizing in 1979.  Prior to this it is important to point out that they did have smaller groups that acted more like think tanks and never went to the methods we would see in the 19080’s..  One of these early think tanks was the Religious Roundtable founded in the late 1970’s[10].  The Roundtable was a collection of preachers, television evangelists, wealthy business, conservative anti-feminists, and lastly politicians gathered together to promote an agenda put forth by the Religious Right[11].  The most notable of these meetings for the Religious Roundtable happen in Dallas, Texas in August of 1980[12].   In attendance would be two television evangelists who had a taste for power, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson[13].  It was at this event that a candidate named Ronald Reagan gave a speech and within that speech said, “I know this is nonpartisan, so you can’t endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you.”[14]  To the ears of Robertson and Falwell these words would be like magic, a gateway to the most powerful office in the country if Reagan gets elected.  Actually to them it meant that they could harness the power to shape the country as they see fit if they can get their followers out to vote.  The difference is they each had a different idea of how to achieve that power.  Not only can this be used for personal gain, it would give these to men a key to the White House, ideal for marketing to their followers.

For Falwell this remark by Reagan would be a godsend.  Falwell already had the Moral Majority established and knew he could make it into a powerful lobbing machine.   He just needed away to make it known it was a force to be reckoned with.  To make his voice heard he would stage rallies in what he called “I Love America.”  He would have these rallies in 44 state capitols for which would not only be political rallies, but anti-abortion rallies also[15].  This was the kind of mobilization that could benefit the Republican Party[16].  The negative to these rallies would be Falwell and his Moral Majority would be supported by mainly by fellow Baptists[17] and white fundamentalists[18].  The issue with this is that the  message Falwell wants to spread is already focused onto his core following.  There is not any expansion into mainstream America.    His Moral Majority in reality is the Moral Minority.  Falwell fails to see this and insists he has an impact on policy.

Meanwhile as this is developing for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson focuses spreading his message from his show the 700 Club.  The powerbrokers in the Religious Right decided that Robertson would not be the vocal point for their political ambitions because they felt that his background, being a Senators son and having a Law Degree from Yale, he would be seen as to elitist[19].   That is why Falwell was chosen, he was easier to mold into what the political professionals wanted and he had never publicly indentified his political leanings[20].  Even though he was not in the forefront, Robertson would be able to maneuver behind the scenes.  This would put him in the position of picking up the pieces if Falwell failed and have a framework to build his own organization.  But early on Pat Robertson is content at letting Falwell have the limelight[21].  Sometimes it is best to be in the background letting others fail.

The Religious Right had many issues on their plate; they had their champions to promote their causes.  Hanging all their hopes on to the Republican Party starting with Ronald Reagan would be a double-edged sword for them.  The Religious Right, mostly Jerry Falwell during the Reagan years, felt that they not only helped Reagan get the Republican nomination but got him elected President[22].  Falwell had proven to the Republicans that the Religious Right can be a force, or that they are sheep that can be easily manipulated with very little persuasion.  The Republican Party has been known as the Big Business Party, which meant siding with the Religious Right is an odd mix.  The Republicans notice how charismatic the evangelical leaders are and how Falwell is a lightening rod for attention.  Falwell between the years of 1973-1997 would have a total of 358 news stories written mentioning him or the Moral Majority, where as Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition would have 234[23].  This exposure would back fire on Falwell, making him a bit of a laughing stock.  All that really happened was Falwell was exposed as the megalomaniac he was. Falwell believed that he helped garner votes that the Republicans might have never have had.  With all this by 1988 the Republicans had a list of 1,000 religious leaders they could manipulate, not on that list were Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson[24].  Perhaps Robertson was left out of that list because he was planning to run for President.

Pat Robertson felt that Reagan and the Republicans had let down the evangelicals of the Religious Right.  He would try to get the nomination for the Republicans, but would lose out to George Bush.  This would leave a sour taste in the mouth of Robertson, prompting him to follow in the footsteps of Jerry Falwell and found his own lobbying group.   With the Christian Coalition Robertson would be able to project perceived power within the Republican Party.  Where as  Falwell failed to move any of the Religious Rights ahead with Reagan[25].   In fact he had done so little that the Moral Majority had to shut down operations.  Falwell would say his church needs him as an excuse for shutting down the Moral Majority[26].  The reality was he was marginalized and played by the Republicans to garner votes which in the end meant supporters moved on to other groups..  Later in his life Falwell would still think he was a powerbroker and would always be a talking head on the cables news.  He was reduced to being a talking mouth with nothing to back up his words.   Falwell even endorsed then Vice President Bush in the 1988 election in the hopes of having the success he was not able to have with President Reagan[27].  This is odd because Bush was uneasy with evangelicals; this goes back to the 1980 election[28].  Bush and his inner circle knew that the evangelicals would vote for anyone who would give them hope for pushing their addenda.  George W. Bush would do this in the 2000 election with great success, but it is not the reason he won the election.  Robertson having been in the wings during the Reagan years was able to build a network and recruit people to help him, such as Ralph Reed.

The Christian Coalition learned from the failures of the Moral Majority.  Falwell focused too much on the Presidency and the larger national scope of his movement.   Robertson with the help of Ralph Reed would focus more on the smaller local, state and congressional elections[29].  Many of the issues people in the Religious Right hold dear, like school prayer and the teaching of creationism over evolution, can be achieved more easily in the smaller elections.  By focusing on these smaller elections, like for school boards, the Christian Coalition can stack the majority of board votes into their favor.  It would seem that Pat Robertson learned by the mistakes Jerry Falwell made.  The Christian Coalition would also tell the people running for election not to mention they are associated with the Christian Coalition[30].  Unlike the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition was quick to realize there is a stigma with being associated with Christian activism.   They did not want to scare away independent and moderate voters.  Interesting by doing so in the state of Washington the Christian Coalition along with like minded groups were able to gain control of the Republican Party.  With this control they put forth a campaign platform targeting witchcraft and other New Age religions[31].  Needless to say with a platform that out of touch with mainstream society.   It is hard to fathom a campaign platform like that having any success in the United States outside of 17th century Plymouth Colony.  Another tool the Christian Coalition uses to influence the vote is voter guides[32].  The voter guides will give the voter a comparison of the issues each candidate supports and opposes.

In the 1990’s these two men, Falwell and Robertson, would see the focus of attention shift away from them.  The country was flourishing under the guidance of President Clinton and the moral attitudes of everyday people were more relaxed.   The society was more excepting of homosexuals and women.  Societies over time tend to become more liberal and tolerant as a way of adapting to the growth of the society.  This would send evangelicals into a tailspin, eventually make them more aggressive in their views and opinions.  In 1996 the Christian Coalition force Republican candidate for President Bob Dole into adding abortion to the issues covered by his campaign[33].  The Religious Right, championed by the Christian Coalition, would also try to gain control of the public schools and the media[34].  The ability to control information is a powerful weapon.   It is as if the Religious Right would prefer that the United States be a totalitarian type government instead of a democracy.  Ideally under this government there would be one religion because evangelicals are intolerant of all other religions, especially Islam[35].  Like with Reagan, the Religious Right hoped that Dole would give them greater power within government to achieve these goals.   The defeat of Dole would be a major setback and can be said the end of the Religious Right as a legitimate national lobbying force[36].

From 1996 on the two former power holder of the Religious Right have been reduced to men who would from time to time make absurd remarks to make themselves seem pertinent in today’s society.  Robertson would say the Constitution “is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people,” discounting the fact that our government does not indorse any religion of any kind[37].  He would also say that Orlando, Florida would be destroyed by a meteor for having rainbow flags during “Gay Pride Month,” for evoking God’s wrath[38].  Robertson would go as far as saying that an equal rights amendment in Iowa is support for women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.[39]”  Falwell would not be outdone by Robertson however.  In 1999 Falwell would say the Antichrist would come to us as a Jew and that the children’s show The Teletubbies was a front for homosexual propaganda[40].  He would also blame the 9/11 attacks, not on Islamic extremists, but on gays, pro-choice groups, and people for the separation of church and state[41].  They both would say these things not just to draw attention to themselves, but to assert themselves as relevant.  The fact of the matter is the country had moved on leaving them behind.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were, Robertson still is, two men that were power hungry and driven by greed.   For all they have done the bottom line at the end of the day is that both men have profited by all that they have done.   Why else have a television network but to gain wealth, and with that wealth, comes power.   In a capitalist system greed comes in a variety of different things.   Falwell was a man from humble beginnings that was gives a taste of things on the big stage, and he got addicted to it.  Robertson saw how people treated his father and wanted that same treatment.  The problem for both men is that religious mavericks in the United States history will forget who you are.   The masses within the American society will listen for a will and move on.   The average American could not say with any amount of certainty who was the first preacher to come up with the “Social Gospel” or who decided that communism was unchristian. Their statements alone show the importance of the separation of church and state.   Their view of religion is very archaic and most importantly goes against the equality the United States stands for.


Primary Sources

Brown, Ruth Murray. For a Christian America: A History of the Religious Right. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.

This book is a detailed history of the Religious right from the 1970’s to the end of the century.  It’s primary focus in on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and how they were able to rise to power.  It was also a good tool to find other sources.

Moen, Matthew C.. Christian Right & Congress. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 1989.

This book focused on how the Christian Right influenced Congress during the Reagan years.  The book is detailed and shows why it would be important for the Christian Coalition to focus on smaller elections instead of the Presidential election.

Smith, Christian. Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want. 1 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

This book was a good source of material on how the Evangelicals more vocal leaders like Pat Robertson seem to be out of touch with the everyday Evangelical.

Spring, Joel. Political Agendas for Education:  From the Religious Right to the Green Party, Third Edition. 3 ed. Mawah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2005.

This book provided me with insight into the Christian Right and their educational agenda.  Also I was able to get some good information about the Christian Coalition.

Spring, Joel. Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition To the Green Party (Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education). 1 ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997.

This book provided me with information about the 1996 election and how the Christian Right influenced Bob Dole’s campaign

Young, Perry Deane. God’s Bullies: Power, Politics and Religious Tyranny. 1st ed. Austin: Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1982.

This insightful book discusses the rise of Jerry Falwell and the religious right.  The writer suggests that the religious right is more power than it actually was.  The book also warns us of what might happen if religious conservatives gain too much power.

Marley, David John. “Ronald Reagan and the Splintering of the Christian Right.” Journal of Church and State 48 (2006): 851-868.

This article is what got my paper going.  He talks about how Reagan and the Republicans held a carrot out to the people in the Religious Right.  Discussed is how Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell go two separate paths leading to different goals. I also used a quote from this article in my paper from one of his sources.

Briggs, Kenneth. “Evangelical Preachers Gatjher to Polish Their Politics.” New York Times, August 21, 1980, sec. B.

A brief article about how the Religious Roundtable gathered with about how many people will be there.  Has listed a number of speakers, mostly Republicans.  Most notably is Ronald Reagan.

New York Times, “Robertson Letter Attacks Feminist,” August 26, 1992, sec. A.

This is a great article with Robertson attacking a equal rights amendment in Iowa.  A perfect example of his outlandish remarks.

“Robertson’s Revenge: Gay Flag Flap leads to Orlando Ban.” Church & State , September 1998.

A humorous article about how Pat Robertson predicted a end to the city of Orlando, Florida.  He says because of the support and tolerance for gays the city will be destroyed by God.

Shribman, David . “The Christian Coalition sucks wind.” Fortune, July 19, 1999.

This article mentions how the Christian Coalition is losing influence and seems to me spinning out of control.  Also has another quote by Pat Robertson.

Smith, Christian. Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want. 1 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

This book was a good source of material on how the Evangelicals more vocal leaders like Pat Robertson seem to be out of touch with the everyday Evangelical.

Secondary Sources

“Evangelicals and the Media.” MIT. (accessed October 17, 2009).

This is a transcript of a roundtable lecture on the evangelical cause.  Not as insightful as i would have hope, but did get me headed into the right direction.

Gaily, Phil . “Evangelist and Demcrats’ Cheif Trade Fire.” New York Times, March 2, 1986.

This article wrote about how Pat Robertson may run for President and how Jerry Falwell endorsed George H. W. Bush.  Pat Robertson also calls the head of the Democratic Party anti-Christian.

Gaustad, Edwin S., and Leigh Schmidt. The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today. Revised ed. SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.

This provided me with the basic elements that I needed to start my research.   The information was general, but it had lot of insight and useful information was gathered from this book.

Herbers, John . “Ultraconservative Evangelicals a Surging Force in Politics.” New York Times, August 17, 1980.

Another article about the Religious Roundtable meeting in Dallas, Texas.  Pointed out is how political activism is new to the Religious Right.  Points out the leaders of this movement are Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Hicks, John. “The Political Subsistence of the Religious Right:   Why the Christian Right Survives and Does Not Thrive By John Hicks.” American Religious Experience at WVU. (accessed December 17, 2009).

This article goes into how in the 1990’s the Religious Right through various groups gained control of smaller localized elections.  Also covers some of the issues that are cherished by evangelical Christians.

Martin, William. With God On Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America. New York City: Broadway, 2005.

McDaniel, Charles. “The Decline of the Separation Principle in the Baptist Tradition of the Religious Liberty.” Journal of Church and State 50 (2008): 413-430.

This article was useful to explain how Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority was a extremist form of the Baptist faith.  It was interesting to read that mainstream Baptists did not see things the way Jerry Falwell did.

Moen, Matthew C.. Christian Right & Congress. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 1989.

This book focused on how the Christian Right influenced Congress during the Reagan years.  The book is detailed and shows why it would be important for the Christian Coalition to focus on smaller elections instead of the Presidential election.

“A Sea-Change Election.” The Nation, March 31, 2008.

A brief recap of how in the 2000 election the Religious Right is mobilized much like it was in 1980.

Boston, Rob. “The real Legacy of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.” The Humanist, Sep. – Oct. 2007.

In the article Jerry Falwell is criticized for his political leanings and for many of the statements he has made during his life.   Summarizes his extreme views.

Briggs, Kenneth. “Debate Is Growing.” New York Times, October 3, 1980, sec. A.

This article draws awareness to the growing influence of the Religious Right.  Important thing in this article is it has Pat Robertson backing away form political involvement in the 1980 election.

“About Liberty – Bio – Dr. Jerry Falwell – Liberty University.” Liberty University. (accessed December 17, 2009).

A brief and positive look at the life of Rev. Jerry Falwell.  A good source for personal information

“Moral Majority – Home.” Moral Majority – Home. (accessed December 1, 2009).

This site is not the original Moral Majority, but a rehash of it controlled by Jonathan Falwell, Jerry Falwells son.

“ – The Official Site of Pat Robertson.” – The Official Site of Pat Robertson. (accessed December 28, 2009).

A detailed background and message from Pat Robertson.  From reading it one would think Robertson was a saint.

Sullivan, Joseph . “Coalition opens Campaign To Ban Meditation Classes.” New York Times, February 19, 1976.

In this article the attack against New Age religions from evangelicals is spoken about.

“The Religious Right and the Christian Coalition.” Wake Forest University — Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (accessed October 22, 2009).

This is a transcript of a lecture on the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition.  Did not gather much useful information, but did give me avenues to search under for other information.

Vecsey, George. “Militant Television Preachers Try to Weld Fundamentalist Christians’ Political Power.” New York Times, January 21, 1980, sec. A.

This article highlights Jerry Falwell and his goals for the Christian Right.  Also within the article a mention of a rally led by Pat Robertson with Republican candidates.  Jimmy Carters problems with the Christian conservatives are discussed.

“Voter Guides | Christian Coalition of America.” Christian Coalition of America | Defending America’s Godly Heritage!. (accessed December 17, 2009).

This page has a voter guide from the 2008 election.  It shows how John McCain and Barak Obama opposed and supported things important to evangelical Christians.

“Why Jerry Falwell Killed the Moral Majority.”  University of Virginia Library. (accessed November 1, 2009).

A different take on how and why Jerry Falwell disbanded the Moral Majority.  Unlike many of my other sources this one does not mention how the Moral Majority went bankrupt.

Wilcox, Clyde , Ted Jelen, and Sharon Linzoy. “Rethinking the Reasonableness of the Religious Right.” Review of Religious Research 36 (1995): 263-276.

This article discusses how the Moral Majority is against many issues, most notably the Equal Rights Amendment.

Wilcox, Clyde . “America’s Radical Right Revisited. A Comparison of the Activists in Christian Right Organizations From the 1960s and the 1980s.” Sociological Analysis 48 (1987): 46-57.

The article is a comparison of religious right groups in the 60’s and 80’s.  Has plenty of information about their views and how they changed over the years.  Many useful tables with supporting information.

Wilcox, Clyde . “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century.” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994): 243-261.

This article deals with how Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition is a raising force in politics.  Points out the strategy used by the Christian Coalition and some of the issues they had on their agenda.

“YouTube  – Jesse Jackson debates Falwell about terrorism.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself.             . (accessed October 21, 2009).

A lively debate between Jesse Jackson and Jerry Falwell.  Interesting because they are both Baptists but disagree and many issues.

“YouTube- Jerry Falwell claim 9/11 was caused by gays             .” YouTube- Broadcast Yourself.             . (accessed October 21, 2009).

A example of Jerry Falwell putting his foot in his mouth.  Shocking what this man believes and says.

“YouTube- Pat Robertson: “Islam Is Not a Religion”  YouTube- Broadcast Yourself. (accessed October 21, 2009).

Pat Robertson expressing his intolerance to Islam.

“YouTube- Pat Robertson: Bush “Asking for the Wrath of God” YouTube- Broadcast Yourself. (accessed October 21, 2009).

Pat Robertson predicting the President George W. Bush will suffer at the hands of God for siding with the Saudi’s.



[6] Ruth Murray Brown, For A “Christian America”: A History of the Religious Right (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2002), 17

[7] Joel Spring, Political Agendas for Education (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997), 2

[8] Wilcox***

[9] Clyde Wilcox, “America’s Radical Right Revisited. A Comparison of the Activists in Christian Right Organizations from the 1960s and the 1980s,” Sociological Analysis 48 (1987): 54

[10] Ted G. Jelen, Sharon Linzey, Clyde Wilcox, “Rethinking the Reasonableness of the Religious Right,” Review of Religious Research 36 (1995): 264

[11] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[12] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[13] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[14] William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway books, 1996), 216

[15] Ruth Murray Brown, 157

[16] Robert L. Borosage, “A Sea-Change Election?” The Nation, March 31, 2008, 6

[17] Ruth Murray Brown, 157

[18] Christian Smith, Christian America?: What Evangelicals Really Want (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000

[19] Perry Deane Young, 197

[20] Perry Deane Young, 197

[21] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Debate is Growing on Legalities of Religious Activism,” New York Times, October 3, 1980, sec. A

[22]  John Herbers, “Ultraconservatives Evangelicals a Surging New Force in Politics,” New York Times, August 17,1980, sec. A

[23] Ruth Murray Brown, 160

[24] Sarah Posner, “God’s Profits,” Church & State, April 2008, 13

[25] David John Marley, 851

[26] Ruth Murray Brown, 161

[27] Phil Gaileys, “Evangelist and Democrats’ Chief Trade Fire,” New York Times, March 2, 1986 sec. A

[28] David John Marley, 859

[29] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 251

[30] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 251

[31] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 252

[33] Joel Spring, 5

[34] Joel Spring, 5

[35] Joel Spring, 11

[36] Ruth Murray Brown, 186

[37] David Shribman, “ The Christian Coalition sucks wind,” Fortune, July 19, 1999

[38] “Robertson’s Revenge: Gay Flag Flap leads to Orlando Ban,” Church & State, September, 1998, 15

[39] “Robertson Letter Attacks Feminists: Says Effort in Iowa Supports Witches and Child Killers,” New York Times, sec. A

[40] Rob Boston, “The Real Legacy of Reverend Jerry Falwell,” The Humanist, September-October, 2007, 36

[41] Rob Boston, “The Real Legacy of Reverend Jerry Falwell,” The Humanist, September-October, 2007, 36

Looking for Work?

There is a lot people can complain about and complain about often, so I shall complain about something people don’t complain about that often.   The other day I went on a job interview, for a job I did not care if I got or not.  It was for Joseph A. Bank, the clothier, as a sales person in one of their stores.  For the life of me I cannot fathom a guess on why some person would want to pay $199 for a polo shirt they could easily buy else where for a whole lot less.  Back to the point, the interview turned out to be a group interview, another gentleman and I.  This is the second group interview I have had and they are not ideal settings.  This gentleman will call Al, if you can call me buddy.  Although Paul Simon would have been a better person to have a group interview with for the reason I will explain.  Al had amazing gift, the gift of talking excessively and really about nothing that has to deal with the job.  I can talk quite a bit, but Al talked as if letting me talk would somehow diminish his lack of skills.  He said time and time again that he worked in marketing and sales, and judging from his clothes and lack of a car I could tell he was not that good at it.  I had to take a more aggressive approach to the interview process, which is something a person never wants to do.  I would say for every word I had the chance to say, Al said three hundred.  It had gotten to the point to that the people giving the interview were trying to give me a chance to speak, and when they did ask me a question it was amazing how Al would answer it before I did.  The lesson is, avoid group interviews.

Die Mütter

“In marriage, husband and wife are one person and that person is the husband”

– Sir William Blackstone



Opposition to The Equal Rights Amendment

By Dan Whalen

Those who were opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment and those for the Amendment would exaggerate the theoretical effects that the Amendment would have within the country[1].  The Equal Rights Amendments exaggerations had a profound effect on those who could not make up their minds about supporting the Amendment.  Instilling fear into those undecided is a great tool, people can be weary of changes to laws and the effects those changes will have throughout the land.  It makes it a question when we look back of how it almost passed and not why it was defeated.   In reality the Amendment would have minimal effect on existing laws and most likely over time would go unnoticed like some other amendments.  For example many people do not know that the currant income tax is established by the 16th Amendment[2].  Did this defeat of the Amendment show how powerful propaganda can be?

Many historians overlook how those opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment justified their opposition to the Amendment.  A lot of the historians focus on how the supporters of the Amendment took the passage of the Amendment for granted as if work to pass it did not have to be done.  Few do take notice of the wording the opposition to the Amendment used, but they do not look at how the words used by the opposition does not support the argument made against the Amendment.

The question of the equality of people has been a question that has plagued man kind since the times of the great thinkers like Socrates and Plato.  In ancient Greece the term people generally referred only to free adult males[3], those who were not slaves. In Rome the people being treated with equality generally where free adult males who owned land[4].  This is a tradition that continued until the year 1776 a document was written in the newly formed United States stating that all men are created equal.  Of course at that time the term men meant white men, not women or slaves.  As time would progress the term men would be interpreted to mean all those of the human race.  However though when Thomas Jefferson wrote the words all men are created equal he did not say that they are all equal under the law.  However if we move forward eleven years to 1787, the Constitution, with its preamble, it says “We the People.”  These words would imply that everyone has equality in the United States.  This question of equality has been the thorn in the side of the United States ever since the United States became a country.  Long seen by many as the land of equality, it is not.  Consider that a war was fought to free slaves and they were never considered equal even after the war.  American expansion to the West would lead to a near extinction of the Native American, who many in the 19th century considered to be a second-class citizen.  Equality in the United States is something of a myth to some within the society.  What makes this a myth is there is great opposition to equality. Perhaps this is why the most vocal opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment comes from the most surprising of places, primarily women who would benefit from passage of the Amendment.  Some may also find it surprising that the rhetoric used by the leaders of the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment is used to dispute anything, similar to what we see today to what is seen as expansion of government power into the private lives of the citizens, in how they misuse facts and language to destroy what they do not like or feel will infringe on freedom and liberty.

The quest for equal rights for women in the United States has a long and arduous history.  The equal rights movement grew out of the suffrage movement that had a great victory with the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  With the 19th Amendment and the momentum behind it by time the suffragist Alice Paul would pen the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.  It is important to note that during the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the writing of the Equal Rights Amendment a conservative President would be elected.  President Harding wanted what he called “a return to normality,” which meant almost anything.  As the positive momentum was fleeting the Nation Women’s Party held meetings to discuss how the proposed amendment would have an effect on women in the United States.  During this debate it was agreed by those in the Nation Women’s Party, but mostly those in the League of Women Voters, that the Equal Rights Amendment would have a negative effect that could strip away special benefits for women under the law[5].  Their overall view was women are not equal to men, but special[6].  With this delay, or failure to capture the positive momentum, would cost them dearly.  The prosperity of the 1920’s would make people forget about the plight of women.  Pockets flush with money and material goods at affordable prices, peoples priorities changed to less political matters.  There would be surprising opposition to the Amendment by the League of Women’s Voters[7].   Division between the women’s groups will become commonplace, but at this time in the 1920’s it was clear the Equal Rights Amendment would need more time to gain popular support amongst women.  It would give those in Congress and else where who oppose it reason to delay and bury it in everyday business.  The final nail in the coffin to the Equal Rights Amendment and the women’s movement in the post-war 1920’s was the Great Depression in 1929.  The Depression would limit or eliminate any chance for women to gain equal footing to man.  All the momentum they had gained was lost like so many other opportunities that could have been[8].

The Equal Rights Amendment would get a breath of fresh air after the Second World War, when human rights would become ever more popular in the shadow of the inhuman acts of the Nazi Regime in Germany.  The war showed how the rights of people can be trampled on and how people can be reduced to be second-class citizens.  Eleanor Roosevelt would champion in the newly formed United Nations the Declaration of Human Rights.  This new way of thinking in the world breathed new life into the lifeless Equal Rights Amendment and the movement to have it adopted.  During the war the Amendment would be subject to debate for the first time in the United States Congress.  In the House Judiciary Committee there was a discussion about the wording of the Amendment.  The Committee would ask Alice Paul to redraft the Amendment shifting the responsibility to implement the enforcement of the Amendment to the government as opposed to private business[9].  This change in wording was to be an aid to those who will oppose the Amendment later on[10].  Opposing the Amendment would be labor unions, the ACLU, the Women’s Bureau in the Department of Labor, and liberal Democrats because they were afraid the Equal Rights Amendment would promote the rights of the individual at the expense of workers and mothers[11].  The Amendment failed to go beyond debate Congress, but that does not mean support for it was lost.  If anything it would gain support in what then would be considered the most of unlikely places.  There would not be any hearings on the Amendment between 1948 and 1971, mostly due to Democratic Representative Emanuel Celler of Brooklyn, New York[12] the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee[13].  Representative Celler would lose a re-election bid in 1972 when he lost in the Democratic Primary to a woman, Elisabeth Holtzman[14].  His defeat was mostly likely due to his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment because, like during the suffrage movement, pro-Amendment groups decided to vote out those who opposed it[15].

Although there would not be any debates on the Amendment for two decades, which does not mean it was buried away from the light of day.  It would gain much needed strength during this time and gain new supporters.  After World War II the United States would go through one of the largest economic booms in the history of the United States.  This was partly because two industrial giants, Germany and Japan, were bombed literally back to the Stone Age by the United States[16].  This gave the United States virtually no competition for industrial goods.  This industrial boom in the 1950’s would create labor shortages at factories[17].  With this industrial boom a new industry would blossom, the service-retail industry.  People had newfound wealth and needed ways to spend it.  With all these new jobs companies were hiring more women for the workforce.  These women in the workforce would become an economic force, partly because they were creating wealth for themselves.  Now in the workforce women would demand equal rights, partly due to men being paid more for the same work women were doing.  Also the role of the woman was changing in the society; women were becoming more empowered in the society.  But as they became more empowered there was resistance to the Equal Rights Amendment.  The ACLU considered changing their stance on it, but did not, as support with in the organization for the Amendment grew[18].  The ACLU opposition is puzzling because the Amendment bolstered the rights and liberties of women and the ACLU was co-founded during World War I by a woman[19].  New support for the Equal Rights Amendment came from the United Auto Workers union at a convention in 1955 considered a resolution to protect the rights of women members[20].  Many delegates at the convention mentioned many women are the sole breadwinners in their family and have the right to better treatment in the workplace.

In the 1960’s, the Equal Rights Amendment would gain its most strength and spur the debate about the Amendment to a new level.  The 1960’s were a time of change in the United States with the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam Conflict.  It is during this decade of change that those who once opposed the Equal Rights Amendment would support it and those who support it think otherwise.  To help the Amendment gain support of the people President Kennedy decided to have a Commission on the Status of Women, the first of its kind.  He would not be the only President to do this, Presidents Johnson and Nixon would also.  The Commission suggested that cases be tested in the Supreme Court that would expand the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment[21].  It would be President Nixon’s commission that would suggest the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to secure equal rights for women in the United States[22].  To add to the growing appeal of the Amendment a book published in 1963 titled The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.  The book would portray the daily life of a housewife as boring, slavish, and it was a stinging critic of the expanding consumer society. Shortly after the publishing of the book, perhaps inspired by, a new political action group for women was formed in 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW).  Now, unlike the suffrage movement, the women were getting their stories told and made public.

The 1970’s, became the decade of action for the Equal Rights Amendment and important for the women’s movement.  This decade is the watershed of the Amendment.  Battle lines would be drawn and the future political landscape for the United States would be craved out.  The big first step was when Senator Birch Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, would announce hearing in the Senate on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment at a convention of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs[23].  Senator Bayh would be at odds with another Democratic Senator on this issue, Sam Ervin of North Carolina.  This is when the Supreme Court enters the fray with two important cases, both opinions rendered in the same year.  The first case decided was Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. in January 1971[24].  The opinion of the Court was that employers may not deny employment to a person because of a person’s sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Perhaps more important to the women’s cause would be later that year of 1971, the Supreme Court overturned a clause in the Idaho Constitution that gave men a preferred status in probate judgments.  The clause in the case, Reed v. Reed, the Justices concluded was a violation of the 14th Amendment that guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens of the United States[25].  Hailed by proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment as a step forward and an example of why the Amendment is necessary, a minority of opponents would use this case to declare that women already had equal rights under these two provisions used by the Court in deciding the cases.  The Amendment would pass both houses of Congress in 1972, which is when the real fight for the Amendment began.

Congressional Interlude

The 1970’s were the decade in which the old guard of society moved to the background and the new generation moves forward.  It is the decade the opposition gathers strength to ebb the flow of growing momentum supporting the Amendment.  Up until actual passage of the Amendment in Congress, the opposition was in the Congress.  There were two people that stood out as hardened opponents to the Amendment.  One was Representative Emanuel Celler of New York.  As mentioned before he was the sole person that was blocking hearings on the Amendment in the Congressional committee he chaired.  It was a rare procedural loophole that helped the Amendment get voted on in the House of Representatives, circumventing Rep. Cellers committee[26].  Rep. Celler was the focus of a stinging letter from Ann Wallace of NOW for his use of language in opposing the Amendment, his use of language showed how he believed in a male dominated world[27].  One of the most striking things Rep. Celler would say is that “there is no equality except in a cemetery[28].”    A better example of his opposition to this Amendment would be when he said, “There is as much difference between a male and female as is between a chestnut and a chestnut horse.  Viva la difference[29].”  To Rep. Cellers’ despair the House would vote 346 to 15 in favor of the Amendment on August 10th 1970[30].  However in the considered liberal New York Times would find time to mock the vote saying “The House of Representatives . . . voted 346 to 15 for an amendment designed to give women equal rights, just in case they already don’t have them[31].”  Prime examples of the resistance to equal rights for women, as if women should be happy with what they have and not ask for more.

Senator Samuel J. Ervin Jr. of North Carolina would put Rep. Celler to shame with what he would say in opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.  Part of his opposition was that he felt that the Constitution should not be changed.  He has been described as a man from the 18th Century, a relic[32], a fundamentalist, and a strict constitutionalist[33].  Sen. Ervin was a man who amassed great power and influence in the Senate[34], power and influence he was not afraid to throw around and exploit.  This was known by supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment who would add “…we know he has the old-fashion male bias about women[35].”  In contrast to the more progressive Sen. Bayh who was chairman of the Constitutional Rights Subcommittee who felt by bringing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Senate now was needed to “stimulate national concern and prick the national conscience” as a method for successfully passing the Amendment[36].  Sen. Ervin was just starting to practice law when Sen. Bayh was born, which highlights the difference in generations and their opinions on this issue.

In 1970 after the House passed the Amendment by an overwhelming majority Sen. Ervin would take on the responsibility to buck the trend and kill the Amendment in the Senate.  Sen. Ervin and a few other Southern Senators did is add what are known as riders to the Amendment that they knew other Senators would vote against normally to bury the Amendment and prevent a vote on it.  A rider is similar to a earmark in that it is a item added to a bill that alone may not get passed, but added to a more popular bill it will, or kill a bill by adding something unpopular to the bill.  One rider added to the Amendment by Senator James B. Allen (D) of Alabama was an item that would have taken away the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over public schools[37].  In the debate over the rider and other riders added to the Amendment, Sen. Ervin commented that, “…most sex discrimination is a matter of private practice, not public law[38].”  In essence, what Sen. Ervin meant with his comment is that discrimination of any kind is perfectly acceptable and there should not be a law saying otherwise.   Sen. Ervin would even go as far as to introduce a bill to substitute the Equal Rights Amendment that would make laws passed by Congress and state legislatures apply to both men and women identically “ …no matter [how] irrational or unreasonable[39].” Sen. Ervin would stress the point with this bill that women should be exempt from the draft, which is a moot point because the draft was in the process of being phased out.  Also Sen. Ervin would point out he would be willing to permit passage of laws that are “…reasonably designed to promote the health, safety, privacy, education or economic welfare of women, or to enable them to perform their duties as homemakers or mothers[40].”  What Sen. Ervin tried to accomplish with this bill is up for debate, but it exhibits how he felt that women should not be treated the same as men.  More over his counter bill was an effort to derail the Equal Rights Amendment with a lesser token piece of legislation.  Again the language Sen. Ervin would use to suggest that he feels it is important for women to stay in the home and be of service to their husband.  The substitute bill Sen. Ervin proposed continued to promote the patriarchal custom within the American society. Not to mention the perceived fear that the Amendment would in some way overturn many laws, federal and state, that is concerned alimony and child support[41].  Nevertheless the Amendment would die in 1970 never leaving the floor of the Senate.  While the Amendment could not get out of Congress, other laws in the country promoting equality of the sexes where passed.  One such law was in New York City, passing a law to end discrimination on the grounds of sex in places of public gathering, such as bars[42].  Everyone within New York City was pleased with this law, except for perhaps Emanuel Celler who must have thought the city had become a cemetery.

All rise for the honorable . . .

The Equal Rights Amendment would get a reprieve the following year when the House would have hearings on the Amendment.  It would make its way through committee and the full House with another strong vote of support[43].  However many would lead one to believe this was not an easy for the public to accept, or so it would seem. The Equal Rights Amendment was popular among many people in the United States[44].  To start the year of 1971 off the Supreme Court without the wisdom of past precedents took upon its self to decide a case in which a mother of seven alleged that the Martin Marietta Corp. refused to hire her because she had at the time pre-school-age children, they have been hiring men with pre-school-age children[45].  This was not the overwhelming victory the women’s movement was hoping for, nor did it strengthen the need for the Amendment.  Another case later in the year would have the more profound implications.  The case of Reed v. Reed from Idaho in which after the death of the son of a separated couple the probate court decided after both parents requested to be the administer of the estate, that the father should be.  The probate court based that decision on the clause that the male is preferred which was in the Idaho State Code[46].  The Court ruled that this provision in the Idaho State Code was a violation of the 14th Amendment, which states in Section 1: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws[47].”

Both legal cases highlighted how the Amendment would cover all these legal challenges making such cases unnecessary and save the country a lot of time and money by preventing these future cases from going through the courts.  The Supreme Court did to a degree leave open the door that parenthood can be considered a basis in employment[48].  There were other cases in the Federal Court system that would set precedents that would eliminate some of the workplace discrimination against women.  In the case of Weeks v. Southern Bell the Ninth Circuit ruled it is up the employer to prove a woman could not perform a job she has applied for in a safe and productive manner[49].  In a similar ruling the Ninth Circuit ruled that in the case of Rosenfeld v. Southern Pacific a woman should be given the opportunity to prove she can do a position or job she has applied for[50].  These rulings were an interpretation of the Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment, which was making state and federal laws designed to protect women from harmful jobs obsolete.

It is surprising that groups supporting and opposing the Amendment never mentioned these cases.  For the groups supporting the Amendment the cases would weaken their argument for the Amendment, and the cases showed that President Kennedy’s Commissions approach to achieving equal rights for women could bring success.  For the opposition to bring it should have been a natural reaction to support their agreement.  By not bringing it up the opposition focused on another argument to support their argument.

“And God looked down into the kitchen and there wasn’t any stew![51]

The most vocal of the opponents to the Equal Rights Amendment would have to be a woman named Phyllis Schlafly.   Her stance against the Equal Rights Amendment would propel her to fame in ultra-conservative circles.  It would be her radical views against the Equal Rights Amendment at times seemed illogical and borderline hysteria.  A lot of the themes she used then are alive today when conservatives oppose something.  It is uncanny how her message has withstood the test of time.  It is her message itself however that is the enigma when one look at her background.

She has 6 children and a law degree from Washington University.  She was a practicing lawyer.  She remained married until the death of her husband until he died in 1993[52].  With all this said one could say she would be for the Equal Rights Amendment based on her background and seeing the inequality in the legal system.  It is almost hypocritical for her to be against the Amendment because many felt the Amendment was for professional, white-collar women.

In 1972 Phyllis Schlafly would form the conservative political action group known as the Eagle Forum, partly to help her promote her pro-family agenda by speaking out against the Equal Rights Amendment[53].  Like many other conservative political action groups Schlafly chose something seen as patriotic as the symbol and name of her group[54].  Since the bald eagle is the national bird it is a symbol of America.  Part of her opposition to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment was a fear that the government was looking to control the daily lives of women and their families[55].   Schlafly said, “The federal government is breathing down the necks of industry and forcing reverse discrimination in the hiring if less qualified women instead of men[56].”  Clearly a statement like this is to warn people that the federal government is going to take over control of private business.  She affirms this with, “The ERA isn’t going to provide employment for women.  Only private industry can provide jobs.[57]”  Words chosen wisely to remind people whom the enemy in a country in the middle of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.  Summoning the fear of communism is a tool often used by those in conservative movements, like the John Birch Society, in the 1960’s.  It helps creates an us and them mentality in the country, dividing the country needlessly.

Schlafly’s other attack against the Equal Rights Amendment was that the Amendment was an attack if on the American housewife.  A time-honored tradition passed down from the patriarchal tradition of the older civilizations in which the husband was the sole breadwinner and was the sole member of the family that was in the workforce.  Schlafly did not see the reason for the status quo to change, change was allowing women the freedom to enter the workforce and support their family equally with their husband.  Today two-income families are commonplace, but to Phyllis Schlafly it was an affront to civilized society.  Schlafly felt that the women’s liberation movement was a manifestation forced upon women from the media[58].  In essence Schlafly is saying that what the media projects to be a real women is false, that a real woman is a housewife.  Schlafly would support that by saying women are most privileged people in American society[59].  Schlafly based this opinion on the genetic difference that women can have babies, relying on the husband to support the family, and that if the husband leaves that by law he has to pay child support[60].  This could be, in theory, true and if asked any lawyer who argues in family and child support courts knows the laws are slanted towards women even though they are suppose to look at both parties equally and decide in the best interest of the child.  This is a point Schlafly points out when she said in a speech “Another bad effect of the Equal Rights Amendment is that it will abolish a woman’s right to child support and alimony . . .the man is always required to support his wife and child he caused to be brought into this world[61].”   Called “privileges” by Schlafly, it can be called extortion by some, it was suggested that Schlafly had a 19th century view which she failed to noticed that in the 19th century common law women were the property of the man[62].  This is in contrast to those women who felt that being a housewife is tantamount to slavery.

The household slavery issue as many in the pro-ERA movement would call it had its birth in the 1940’s with its apex, the publishing of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan in 1963.  Many would argue no person would want the job of a housewife because the job lacks the standardized legal protections other jobs have[63].  Pointed out also is that the housewife does not receive a wage[64], which for the labor she performs is equal to slavery.  As time progressed many women would mock the work the idea that the role of housewife to be liberating and fulfilling of their needs[65].  It is important to point out that many new inventions would add time to the day for housewife such as the dishwasher, laundry machine, and the dryer giving the housewife periods of unproductive time in the home.  Women of the day would have to find new hobbies to kill the time during their day at the home.

These inventions meant little to some who thought being a housewife was the greatest job to ever have.  Not having to go out in the workforce and making a living left a few women feeling like they were special, if not privileged.  They would not the privilege of being a housewife to be treaded upon by others who look down upon this lifestyle.  Following the in the steps of Phyllis Schlafly other groups opposing the Equal Rights Amendment would spring up all over the country.  These groups would go by names such as the Pussycat League, Protect Our Women, League of Housewives[66], and Happiness of Womanhood.  Happiness of Womanhood was the most vocal of these groups and perhaps the oldest.  The group would rely heavily on their message which was that they were more than happy to be housewives and nothing else.  Happiness of Womanhood considered themselves at war with pro-equal rights and women’s liberation groups.  One of the many leaders of Happiness of Womanhood was concerned because she thought that the “…woman liberationists have tried to have the word ‘housewife’ taken out of the dictionary[67].”   Another would add with the comment “I don’t want my 8-year-old niece using restrooms with adult men[68].”  Despite of the silliness of their beliefs of what they thought the effects of what Equal Rights Amendment would be, they all agreed that the Amendment was an attack on the American family.  What the groups failed to point out is that there are constitutional rights to privacy that guarantee separate restrooms for both sexes[69].  Highlighted by the signs they used at protests against the Amendment like “Communists have done it Again[70].”  All the members of Happiness of Womanhood wanted to do was have their men “make the living and we’ll make life worth living[71].”  That is a ideal that most people in ever changing times cannot live by.  However many of their statements highlight the absurdity of their thoughts on what the Equal Rights Amendment would do and how extreme they had to make their message.  It is safe to say in a civilized society young girls would not be able to go into the same restroom with adult males.  With that said the society does not find it odd for a man or woman to bring their young children into a restroom of the opposite sex so that they can change them or keep and eye on them.  They do show that dispensing misinformation and a blatant disregard to the common sense of the average person can get headlines in the press.

These groups however fell under the umbrella of a group called STOP-ERA.  STOP-ERA was headed by the aforementioned Phyllis Schlafly[72], which would make one think she was looking to promote herself and garner popular to perhaps profit from it.  Under her direction these groups would not comment on any number of the legal cases that would have a impact on women’s rights working their way through the Federal court system.  It could be argued that by doing so it would it would show how a minimal impact the Equal Rights Amendment would have on the society at large[73].  If they did speak of these cases it would not only weaken their argument, it would bring these cases into the light of day.  The opposition took advantage that most people do not know what is happening in the Federal court system or in the Supreme Court.  This is not information the average citizen generally pays attention to.  Schlafly being a lawyer would know this thus by not speaking about the cases not only downplays them, but it suppresses them in essence.  Reason would suggest this is why Schlafly wanted all the anti-Amendment groups under the umbrella of one master group.  By doing this Schlafly could use the STOP-ERA to spread the message against the Amendment to the more conservative parts of the country, primarily the South and Mid-West[74].  The message to these states was that if the Equal Rights Amendment passed was that if the Amendment passed white homemakers would lose their homes and families[75].   This of course is illogical and lacks any factual foundation as an argument against the Amendment.  By saying husbands would abandon their families and the woman would be left to fend for her and any children is a very powerful propaganda message.

Perspective and Impact

When one looks back at the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment it will be seen how the people of the opposition would shape the battles of public debate for generations to come.  To say that the Equal Rights Amendment is defeated is at best foolish when one considers that the 27th Amendment was first proposed on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on May 7th, 1992[76].  Considering that the Equal Rights Amendment only needs three more states to ratify it shows that it is not defeated.  Having 35 states having ratified it shows it is far from defeat.  What it does show is that those who oppose it had control of the dialogue in the debate over the Amendment.  Before the 24-hour news cycle and the propagandizing of many right-wing news agencies, opponents to the Amendment would use any means to get their message out in the news.  It could explain why they would make what can be considered by some to be ridiculous comments about how the Amendment if passed would have some major impact on the society.  The opposition would argue that the Amendment would in some way change the role of women[77], but they never explain how the role of women would change.  The bulk of their argument was that in some way their roles has housewives would be forever changed, but technology and consumerism had more of a profound impact on the changing role of the housewife.    As women entered the workforce with college degrees in the 1970’s, they would make roughly the same as a man with an eighth-grade education[78].  How women opposed to the Amendment were more concerned about being housewives and unconcerned with the working women is shocking to say none the less.  But it highlights how selfish the society has come.  It is similar to the debate the United States had when President Obama proposed healthcare reform.  Those with insurance did not care about those who did not.  People opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment would oppose it because they felt in was the government over stepping its bounds.  One woman opposed to the Amendment said, “I’m totally concerned about the government intervening in our lives.  I just feel that we’re being surrounded by rules and regulations; you almost feel that you are being strangled[79].”  The sentiment that the government is entering the private lives of the citizens is something heard form the supporters of the Tea Party movement in the United States.  That is were the similarity ends, but it is a symptom of a society consumed with the self and not the betterment of the others.

This is also the problem human rights groups have with their battle for everyone to have human rights.  Those who have certain rights may not want others to have those same rights that they have and not everyone wants those rights.  Think of a housewife who has no income of her own, but relies on her husband for support.  Today one looks back and sees that housewife as a leech, unwilling to contribute.   Times were different then and it was possible for a man to support his family with his income alone.  What the housewives then failed to see was the society was changing and that one income would eventually need to be supplemented with another.  Those opposed to the Amendment were afraid of the change society was bringing their way.  Think of Sen. Ervin, a man born in a time when the man was the breadwinner.  It was within the culture he grew up in, to think otherwise did not make sense to him.  That old culture gave the wife the sense that her right was to be supported by her husband[80].  In these times however that old notion seems a bit cliché; keeping the old habits of patriarchy and authoritarianism as they are[81].



Original wording to the Equal Rights Amendment

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.


Version Proposed from 1943 to 1972

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.


Version of the Equal Rights Amendment Passed in 1972

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3.  This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.



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[1] Jane Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 2.

[2] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27,” n.d.,

[3] Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, First edition first printing. (Grand Central Publishing, 2004), 3.

[4] Ibid, 3

[5] “Women Will Oppose Equal Rights Plan,” New York Times, May 1, 1924, 11.

[6] Dorothy McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A. : policy debates and gender roles, 2nd ed. (New York: Garland Pub., 1997), 30.

[7] “Women Pitch Rival Camps.,” New York Times, June 9, 1924, 2.

[8] David Bouchier, The feminist challenge : the movement for women’s liberation in Britain and the USA, 1st ed. (New York: Schocken Books, 1984), 19.

[9] McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A. : policy debates and gender roles, 30.

[10] See Appendix for the wording to the Amendment and revisions

[11] McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A.: policy debates and gender roles, 38.

[12] Judith Hole, Rebirth of feminism, 1st ed. (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973).

[13] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” New York Times, September 20, 1970.

[14] Linda Charlton, “Badillo, Rangel, Delaney And Podell Renominated,” New York Times, June 21, 1972.

[15] Laurie Johnston, “Women Observe Their Franchise,” New York Times, August 27, 1971, 30; Eileen Shanahan, “Rights Strategy Voted by Women,” New York Times, April 8, 1973.

[16] Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story (Starz / Anchor Bay, 2010).

[17] Bouchier, The Feminist Challenge : The Movement for Women’s Liberation in Britain and the USA, 19.

[18] Alan Reitman to Board of Directors and National Committee, American Civil Liberties Union, 20 April 1955, “Women and Social Movements in the United States,” n.d.,

[19] “American Civil Liberties Union Records, The Roger Baldwin Years, 1917-1950: Finding Aid,” n.d.,

[20] Nancy MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009).

[21] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?.”

[22] Eileen Shanahan, “Woman Unionist Scores Equality Plan,” New York Times, September 10, 1970.

[23] “May Hearings set on Women’s Rights,” New York Times, February 27, 1970, 39.

[24] Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., 400 US 542 (Supreme Court 1971).

[26] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” New York Times, August 11, 1970.

[27] “Letters to the Editor of The Times,” New York Times, August 28, 1970, 26.

[28] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” 242.

[29] “Quote in the news,” Boston Globe, August 11, 1970.

[30] Eileen Shanahan , “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” 1.

[31]  Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” 241.

[32] John Herbers, “Senator Ervin Thinks The Constitution Should Be Taken Like Mountain Whisky– Undiluted and Untaxed,” New York Times, November 15, 1970.

[33] James M. Naughton, “Constitutional Ervin,” New York Times, May 13, 1973, 85.

[34] Ibid., 13.

[35] John Herbers, “Senator Ervin Thinks The Constitution Should Be Taken Like Mountain Whisky– Undiluted and Untaxed.”

[36] “Women Fill Hearing on Rights Equality,” New York Times, May 6, 1970, 38.

[37] “Riders Threaten Equal Rights Bid,” New York Times, October 9, 1970, 11.

[38] Ibid

[39] “Substitute Bill Is Planned On Equal Rights for Women,” New York Times, August 18, 1970, 71.

[40] Ibid

[41] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” 23.

[42] Grace Lichtenstein, “McSorley’s Admits Women Under a New City Law,” New York Times, August 11, 1970.

[43] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Amendment Passed by House, 354-23,” New York Times, October 13, 1971.

[44] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 1.

[45] Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., vol. 400.

[46] Burger, Reed v. Reed (BURGER, C.J., Opinion of the Court), 404 U.S. 71 (U.S. Supreme Court 1971).

[47] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27.”

[48] Fred P. Graham, “HIGH COURT BARS SEX BIAS IN HIRING IN TEST OF ’64 ACT,” New York Times, January 26, 1971, 21.

[49]  Eileen Shanahan, “Women’s Job Rights Gain In Federal Court Rulings,” New York Times, July 13, 1971, 37.

[50] Ibid, 37

[51] Lewis Black, The End Of The Universe (Stand Up! Records, 2002).

[52] “Phyllis Schlafly Bio,” n.d.,

[53] Ibid.

[54] Other groups, like the Tea Party, feel choosing a name for their group from the history of the United States some how makes them more patriotic than other Americans.  This is seen in those groups that oppose communism.

[55] Caroline Kortge, “Schlafly Says Women’s Movement is Dying in an Anti-Feminist Surge,” Eagle & Beacon, 3 August 1977. “Women and Social Movements in the United States,” n.d.,

[56] Ibid

[57] Ibid

[59] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents, p. 114

[60] Ibid, p. 116

[61] Ibid, p. 116

[62] Jane O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” Nation 227, no. 2 (July 8, 1978): 46.

[63] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History With Documents, 51.

[64] Ibid, 51

[65] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents, 94.

[66] David Bouchier, Feminist Challenge (Schocken, 1984), 160.

[67] By United Press International, “They’re Housewives and Proud of It,” New York Times, April 3, 1972, 44.

[68] , “Women Lobby Against ‘Rights’,” New York Times, April 15, 1973, 82.

[69] O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” 46.

[70] “Nation: Women on the March,” Time, September 7, 1970,,9171,902696-1,00.html.

[71] By United Press International, “They’re Housewives and Proud of It,” 44.

[72] “Phyllis Schlafly Bio.”

[73] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 143.

[74] Bouchier, Feminist Challenge, 162.

[75] Ibid, 162

[76] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27.”

[77] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 20.

[78] Bella S. Abzug, “Power to the Majority — Women,” New York Times, August 26, 1971, 37.

[79]  Sarah Slavin, The Equal Rights Amendment: The Politics and Process of Ratification of the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Haworth Press, 1982), 46.

[80] O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” The Nation, 46.

[81] Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry: (Princeton University Press, 2003), 73.