I have long admired the work of the Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women, founded and led by Michelle Easton in the WDC area. They mentor, network, and unite women nationwide with a refreshing and traditional message, one that needs to be heard and supported:
“Founded in 1993, the Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women is one of the most unique organizations in America. Our mission is to prepare women for effective leadership and to promote leading conservative women. We strive to advance America’s women by promoting and preserving conservative principles.”
Given my admiration for such a brave mission, perhaps today’s “mission impossible,” I was delighted and honored to meet face to face the redoubtable Michelle Easton and her lovely assistant, Cindy Rushing, this last week for lunch in Berkeley. Not only did I hear first hand about some of their work, and not only did they kindly listen to me babble about my (conservative) novels, but I found a welcome sense of peace in their sisterhood, keeping company with likeminded ladies, (under cover of course) here in the Peoples’ Republic of California. We used to say the Peoples’ Republic of Berkeley, but it’s time to admit the virus of tyranny has spread statewide and jumped coasts to New York (with stops in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania). It is our challenge today to inhibit the spread of this contagion nationwide. This is a true pandemic, a Pandora’s box of threats to democracy.
The CBL Center’s Mission Statement explains their many programs and materials, so educational and encouraging, giving hope to the rest of us who share these values and fear our nation is under attack from within. The threats to free speech, to freedom of worship, to parental rights – to name a few – command headlines today. Free and fair elections have been hijacked. The chilling effect of these developments on family, faith, and freedom, the fear and self-censoring, especially here in California, portend ill for the future of democracy in America and thus in the world. Speak to immigrants who have fled here for refuge. They see the trends, when other Americans seem blind. Immigrants are speaking out and telling their stories of escape to (not from) the United States. We must heed their warnings.
The CBL Center answers these threats, especially in academia, by marshalling a secret weapon the U.S. has ignored to its peril: conservative women, strong women, women who love their families, love their freedom, love their faith; women who love and protect their children, who speak out like lionesses roar. After wearing masks for the last two years, I have often wondered at those women required to wear masks in public, those women scarved and robed and hooded and told they cannot be educated, they cannot have an influence in our world.
Enter the CBL Center for Conservative Women.
The Institute hosts well known women leaders to speak at gatherings of female interns from universities across the nation to produce young women inspired, trained, poised, confident, and given the tools to make a difference on their campuses, or simply to navigate the rough waters of silencing in this brave new world. They offer a sisterhood as well, something I experienced at lunch the other day.
The Gospel lesson this morning, this Sunday after Easter, reminded us all of the message of the Gospels, the message of the risen Christ to his disciples hiding in fear. He gives them peace, the peace that passeth all understanding, the peace that reconciles God and Man, the peace that unites the human family, rather than divide them by skin color. He gives to them, and he gives to you and me, his peace, a love without limits, a love we are called to share with all mankind, a love that banishes fear.
Eastertide is a time of sharing these great blessings. And so I was glad to reflect on my time with my new sisters at lunch. For as my bishop of blessed memory often said, “Peace!” Then he would add with a smile, “All is grace!”
Indeed, all is grace. Indeed, peace.
Women cannot be erased for they bear the fruit for the foundation of society.