CWA Finds Able Messenger for Cause: Pate Comes Prepared to Defend Values of Women's Organization

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 22, 1996 | Go to article overview

CWA Finds Able Messenger for Cause: Pate Comes Prepared to Defend Values of Women's Organization


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America, has not named an official successor, but she has tapped a new female persona to debate feminist icons such as Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland.

Carmen Pate, the new vice president of CWA, the nation's largest women's organization at 600,000 members, will also take on the major media.

"Beverly LaHaye is a visionary," Mrs. Pate says of the woman who founded the group in 1979 at her kitchen table. "She truly sees that she's not going to be there forever . . . and has surrounded herself with women who can carry on this organization."

Along with her husband, Tim, Mrs. LaHaye, a pastor's wife reared in a single-parent family, boldly wrote about Christian sexuality in the precedent-setting 1976 book "The Act of Marriage." Mrs. Pate, who's been through one divorce and two abortions, is no shrinking violet either.

"It's not always easy to talk about my life," says Mrs. Pate, 42, an Arkansas native. "But I have a desire to get the truth out. I bought the lie about abortion, about men and about the career."

She's had her share of hardships. She became pregnant by her high school boyfriend. To marry, they gave up college scholarships. The marriage, which produced two sons, failed after five years.

"There was really so much shame," she says. She got a job at the Kroger food store chain, transferred to Houston and moved up its corporate ladder to public affairs director for Texas and Louisiana.

In Houston she "began to have the material things. Didn't need God," she says. After the boyfriends, the abortions and a brief flirtation with a National Organization for Women chapter, she says, God told her early one morning, "That's enough."

She returned to her Baptist roots, raised the two boys, met her Christian husband and gained a stepdaughter. She organized a crisis pregnancy center and then a hunger-relief program that helped single mothers get jobs. "You could see hope, women turning their lives around," she recalls.

In January, her husband, Bob, signed her up for membership in CWA. While reading a March newsletter, she noticed an ad for vice president of communications. She got the job and started May 28.

Bob tipped his hat to his wife's new career and followed her to Virginia, willing to restart his business. "He is so supportive," she says.

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CWA Finds Able Messenger for Cause: Pate Comes Prepared to Defend Values of Women's Organization
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