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The Woman Who Helped Build the Christian Right

[Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Beverly LaHaye died quietly in April at the age of 96. She always said she hated the spotlight. And yet, in the 1980s and 1990s, she was one of the most visible and politically powerful women in the U.S.

Like antifeminist activist Phyllis Schlafly — her sometime ally and rival — LaHaye was an architect of the modern Christian conservative movement. Her legacy is everywhere, from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade , to the rise of right-wing Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, to the much- debated #tradwives of social media.

The Christian Right is often associated with bombastic men like televangelists Pat Roberson and Jerry Falwell. This is unsurprising, given conservative ideologies about gender that emphasize men’s leaderships abilities and women’s work as helpers. Yet, women have always had a hand in leading the movement, from the grassroots to the very top. In fact, it’s impossible to accurately understand American conservatism without recognizing the impact of ...