Barbara Dolan Atherton
Dear Phyllis, our Crowned Eagle,
Your impact on my life has been huge, is not over and will continue as long as I live. God has placed people in my path of life to help escort me along the way. We all need light, an earthly example that rises above the crowd. Phyllis, you have been a floodlight for me. Iam indebted for the respect you have so clearly clarified for all, especially women in America based on God's word. God has used you to strengthen families in our beloved nation. The ripple effect extends out to other nations as well. That's why they want to come to America. I am a changed and highly motivated person because of your leadership and vision: founding Eagle Forum in all states at the grassroots level. As a living guide to America's liberty and freedom, Eagle Forum supports individual rights unknown to any other nation. Notes from the Holman Study Bible (Ezekiel, 17:23) say "birds thriving under a leaders protection" is a repeated biblical theme. That's us Phyllis: all your Eagles, Eaglets and peoples of many races, religions, all veterans ...especially conservative Republican ones...thriving under your leadership.
The sparkle that first caught my eye was the motto and scripture you chose in 1972: "God, Family and Country." That was followed by Isaiah 40:31: "Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." Since I am a Christian, you became my example, my earthly living example of right action. Phyllis I am a changed person, who I hope is now more pleasing to God than the person I was before joining Eagle Forum in California. Your teachings through conferences (state and national), newsletters, books, and media appearances have made a profound impact on me.
You have silently stood beside me for almost twenty of the twenty-eight years I served as a Marin Community College District Trustee. Since joining Eagle Forum, my service became easier as I strove to combat issues and not people, on the College of Marin Board. Major issues for me included dealing with the twin ills of selfish local interest and entangling foreign influence. My last three terms (twelve years) I used items on the monthly agenda to quote publicly from the 28 points listed on Principles of Liberty (National Center For Constitutional Studies) given to me by Marge Sorbi, a California Eagle Forum board member. I watched you speak with Berkeley students, some quite hostile. Your calm, clear, at times humorous, comments showed me how to engage verbally with fellow school board trustees, students, local and state legislators, and leaders whose values and opinions were frequently diametrically opposed to my comments and votes. You showed me by your actions, an orderly way to speak in a hostile environment. Shy by nature, I became bolder and more effective because of God's Word, and your example.
Phyllis, because of your emphasis on forming local groups within the conservative wing of the Republican party, I have had the opportunity to travel up and down our state of California supporting Eagle Forum State President, Orlean Koehle when she speaks, and signs her books. We are a team as we distribute information and encouragement to groups (many feeling overwhelmed, threatened and isolated) because of the Eagle Forum seeds you planted people leave informed and ready to take action. I pray the national Eagle Forum network you founded will continue for many years. You personally told me the truth; that abomination (a big issue in California) would never work alongside Eagle Forum values. You were signing books at a Sacramento Eagle Forum state meeting. I've never forgotten what you said: "It won't work and it never will." I was wrong. You were right. I learned.
God has used you in a mighty way, Phyllis, to train people with teachable hearts to be strong in character. The virtues you have work anyplace changing lives. You've shown us integrity, faith, boldness, wisdom, encouragement, and perseverance (despite the pain of a hip broken when you fell following a Berkeley, California, speech, you left smiling and waving). You are articulate, humorous, tolerant, and uncanny in truth and righteousness. One example from a recent Schlafly Report and I quote you; "It is the way you react to what is going on around you in life that is most important." Phyllis, you are my David against Goliath here in America; my great light so I can be a little light.
It has occurred to me our Constitution survives a bit longer in America because of your endeavors, Phyllis. Certainly as America is a light to the world, that light shines a bit longer and reaches countless multitudes you and I will never meet on earth. You are for me, the best example of how God uses people who walk with Him, in leadership. They rise to the top as you have for me, and so many others. As a believer, I think you, Phyllis Schlafly, have brought out the best in me; sharpened me at those times when I needed to be bolder or draw a 11line in the sand," even to stand alone, as I frequently do.
You have solid values, are gracious and a wise leader. In biblical times, there were Ruth and Esther. England had Margaret Thatcher, America had the Founding Fathers, and today we have Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum. I am so proud to be a humble eagle in your nest with other patriotic Eagles and next generation Eaglets. My life is filled with intelligent, creative, caring,and beautiful people as well as some wonderful hosts who welcomed me like a long,lost friend. I wouldn't trade my Eagle Forum journey for anything. I'm so grateful. Thank you, Phyllis Schlafly, our beloved founder, our top crowned Eagle for being,and leading the light of the world parade, and giving us the tools to turn on our own lights.
Barbara Dolan Atherton - 1/28/14
Eagle Forum Calif. Higher Education/Marin Community College District (elected Trustee 1985-2013. (Elected to seven four-year terms, countywide and defeated in an eighth term campaign, November 5, 2013.