A group of approximately 100 Republican women from across Alabama met in the dining room of the Vestavia Hills Country Club Thursday afternoon to hear a much-anticipated address from Concerned Women for America president and CEO Penny Young Nance.
A fixture on cable news and Capitol Hill, Nance’s work with CWA has earned her the respect of liberals and conservatives alike for her ability to graciously engage with those on both sides of the aisle.
Facilitated by former Alabama State Rep. Paul DeMarco, Nance’s conversation at the Alabama Federation of Republican Women’s luncheon covered everything from her new book to what conservatives should do if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.
“This is our Esther moment,” Nance told the crowd, referring to the Old Testament story of Queen Esther, whose uncle told her she was likely made queen for “such a time as this.”
“Women should never be caught in a conversation where they’re looking down at their shoes because they don’t know what to say,” Nance said, urging women to “first pray, then prepare,” to adamantly defend their beliefs in the public sphere.
Nance spent much of her time talking about the need to fervently address the issues surrounding sexual assault, rape, and sexual exploitation.
One of CWA’s core issues is fighting sexual exploitation, Nance explained, and as a victim of attempted rape herself, she is personally sensitive to the issue.
“I don’t know why I was spared,” she said, “but what I do know is I have a national platform I can use to help other people, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Calling sexual exploitation and assault a “least of these issues,” Nance said the core of the problem is one of moral decline.
“We’re in the middle of a moral crisis in this nation, and the evidence is all around us.”
Nance also condemned politicians and bureaucrats for failing to implement policies that will actually protect women, specifically citing the Debbie Smith Act. Named for a rape victim who had to wait six years for her “rape kit” to be tested, the law was supposed to grant money to state and local law enforcement agencies to clear the backlogs of medical tests needed to bring rapists to justice.
That money, Nance asserts, never made it to its intended target.
Nance also addressed her belief that the 60 million evangelical and devout Catholic American women need to stand together to support Trump, if for no other reason than the one to four Supreme Court justices the next president will appoint.
Even if Trump isn’t elected, she believes conservatives must keep the pressure on the U.S. Senate not to appoint pro-choice justices or federal judges.
She went on to criticize the political left’s tolerance of radical islam, saying “Islam gives women no power, but the left won’t condemn them. … There’s so much to be said for honestly looking at the ideology and its treatment of vulnerable people, and also the ignorance of the left and its refusal to admit the hatefulness and evil of [radical Islam].
At the end of the discussion there was only time for one question from the audience, which came from a young African-American man who asked her to bring her message to communities of color where he said women are being mistreated and disrespected by men.
Nance responded by explaining her belief that the growing disrespect for women in low-income communities isn’t a color issue, it’s a failing of the church.
“Income inequality is rooted in family inequality,” explained Nance. “Churches have failed, men have been told they don’t matter, and we have a hurting world and a hurting country, and children and women are harmed in the fallout.”
The first, most important group to address this, she believes, is the church, because “we are one in Christ.”
Attendees of the lunch received a copy of Nance’s recently published book “Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women.”