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Beverly LaHaye
Beverly Jean Davenport Ratcliffe

(1929-04-30)April 30, 1929
Died April 14, 2024(2024-04-14) (aged 94)
Alma mater Highland Park Community High School, Bob Jones University
(m. 1947; died 2016)

Beverly Jean Davenport LaHaye (née Ratcliffe; April 30, 1929 – April 14, 2024) was an American Christian conservative activist and author who founded Concerned Women for America (CWA) in San Diego, California in 1979. She was the wife of Tim LaHaye, the evangelical Christian minister and prolific author of the Left Behind series, until his death in 2016.

Life and education

Beverly Jean was born in metro Detroit, Michigan on April 30, 1929, to Lowell Ardo and Nellie Elizabeth (née Pitts) Davenport. Her father was a factory worker in Southfield, Michigan and died of a ruptured appendix when Beverly was almost two years old. Within two years, Nellie Elizabeth married Daniel Ratcliffe, a tool maker in the auto industry in Oakland County, Michigan. From then on, Beverly Jean and her older sister Blanche Aileen used their stepfather's surname as their own. She graduated from Highland Park Community High School in 1946, the highest degree she would ever earn. She attended Bob Jones University (then named Bob Jones College) one year and married Tim LaHaye after that year in 1947. In 69 years of marriage, the LaHayes had four children, Linda, Larry, Lee, and Lori, and nine grandchildren. She died in El Cajon, California on April 14, 2024, at the age of 94.

Published works

LaHaye wrote The Spirit-Controlled Woman in 1976, a companion to her husband's book The Spirit-Controlled Temperament. A revised and expanded edition of the book, The New Spirit-Controlled Woman, was released in 2005. The Desires of a Woman's Heart was released in 1993.

Concerned Women for America (CWA)

LaHaye formed Concerned Women for America in 1979. Initially, CWA was a reaction to the National Organization for Women and a 1978 Barbara Walters interview with feminist Betty Friedan. LaHaye stated that she believed Friedan’s goal was "to dismantle the bedrock of American culture: the family," and that Christian women were not included in discussions of women's rights. LaHaye held a rally in a local San Diego auditorium which marked the beginning of CWA. While CWA was originally intended to be a local group, the organization was established nationwide within two years. The organization calls itself "the nation's largest public policy women's organization devoted to biblical principles." When CWA's headquarters moved to Washington, D.C., LaHaye "announced at a press conference: 'This is our message: the feminists do not speak for all women in America, and CWA is here in Washington to end the monopoly of feminists who claim to speak for all women.'"

CWA is a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is "supported by hundreds of local chapters across the country." In 2014, Salon stated that "CWA [had] become a powerful political force, claiming over half a million members."

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