CWA’s CEO and President Penny Nance teamed up with Susan B. Anthony List’s President Marjorie Dannenfelser on the following opinion article published in Real Clear Politics defending Kay Coles James after her comments were criticized in the media.
“As pro-life women leaders we have particular revulsion at the murder of George Floyd, a precious human life created in the image of God, by a white policeman in Minneapolis. We are also revolted by the senseless violence of criminals using this tragedy for their own selfish purposes.
Our nation is shaken to its core. In this moment, as the nation looks for leadership, we are grateful for the transparency and vulnerability shown by our friend Kay Coles James, the first African American (and the first woman) to lead the historic Heritage Foundation. We noted that she received criticism recently from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, saying that she “wrote a long screed denouncing America as an irredeemably racist nation” in her response to Floyd’s death.
We agree with his righteous anger against lawlessness. However, we feel compelled to say this statement is contrary to the woman and leader we know.
Indeed, Kay deeply believes in American exceptionalism and opposes the rewriting of our nation’s history. In addition, having experienced racism in its malignity herself, she has become a preeminent conservative spokeswoman who can address it while applying its antidote — constitutional principles.
As a little girl, from her screened porch she listened to civil rights leaders plan in her living room. The fight for human dignity was in the air and flowed in her bloodstream early on.
This formed her into an ideal advocate for those on the economic margins, the unborn child, all those disenfranchised who were promised to and provided for in our founding documents. It’s no coincidence that, before she became a giant in the conservative moment, she got her formation in pro-life activism.
In her recent op-ed, Kay wrote thoughtfully about the promise of equality in the Declaration of Independence, and she emphasized how America’s founding principles contain the tools of redemption necessary for every generation to right what is wrong in order to form a more perfect union, and how we must look to those principles to expand human flourishing to all Americans.
Can we just say, “Amen”?
The entire history of America is the story of this expansion, from the emancipation of slaves to the enfranchisement of women in the 19th Amendment (which turns 100 this year) and – soon – the restoration of the right to life for the unborn. Every successful human rights movement in our history, rooted in the deep soil of the American founding, has asserted that authentic rights cannot be built on the broken bodies and rights of others.”