There are five men who are called "great" in the Holy Scriptures. One of them is a man by the name of Abner. Upon hearing the news of Abner's death, King David said, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" My column today is dedicated to a great man. That man is Howard Phillips.
Howard Phillips went to Heaven this past Saturday, April 20, 2013. I am so blessed to have gotten to know this remarkable man, and, more than that, to be able to call him my friend.
I first met Howard some thirty years ago in the Bahamas. I attended a national meeting of conservative leaders and Howard was one of the principal speakers. I suppose the first thing that struck me about Howard was his remarkable intellect and deep conviction. It is no hyperbole to say that Howard Phillips was one of the most brilliant men I have ever met. A graduate of Harvard, Howard's grasp of government, history, and law was unequalled. Howard Phillips forgot more about those subjects than the vast majority of us will ever learn. He was literally a walking history encyclopedia. He might have been the keenest, sharpest mind that I have ever been exposed to. Howard Phillips was an intellectual giant.
But as awesome as his mind was, Howard's commitment to the principles of liberty was equally awesome. Liberty has never had a more ardent defender than Howard Phillips. And communism never had a more formidable adversary.
Howard Phillips was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and became a dynamic conservative leader from his youth. At Harvard, he was twice elected president of the Student Council. He was a GOP precinct worker, election warden, campaign manager, congressional aide, Boston municipal Republican chairman, and assistant to the Chairman of the National Republican Committee. He later became president of Policy Analysis, Inc., chairman of the Conservative Caucus, and founder of the U.S. Taxpayer's Party, now named the Constitution Party. This is the third largest political party in the United States. The Constitution Party nominated Howard three times as its Presidential candidate.
Howard ("Howie" as he was known to his friends) served in President Richard Nixon's cabinet and headed two federal agencies in the Nixon administration. He voluntarily resigned his post in the Nixon White House after Nixon reneged on his promise to defund the giant Welfare State, known as "The Great Society," which had been created by President Lyndon Johnson.
What many people do not realize is that Howard Phillips was the principal founder of what became known as the "Religious Right." Howard was also the man who most influenced Jerry Falwell to start the Moral Majority. Howard Phillips is as important to the rise of the modern conservative movement as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were to the rise of the independence movement in Colonial America. As a conservative and constitutionalist leader, Howard Phillips had no peer.
One of the great honors of my life came when Howard asked me to seek the Constitution Party's nomination for President in 2008. At his behest, and after much prayer and contemplation, I did this and was honored to have received that party's nomination by an overwhelming vote from the party's national delegates. It was during that campaign that I received the endorsement of Congressman Ron Paul. During and after the 2008 campaign, Howard and I became very close. I found him to be among my dearest of friends and closest of confidants.
Howard Phillips was raised as a Jew but became a staunch believer in Jesus Christ as an adult.
Howard and his wife Peggy have six children and many grandchildren, all of whom are among the finest people that anyone would ever meet. The entire Phillips family is an outstanding reflection of the character and commitment of both Howard and Peggy. Please pray for this wonderful family.
Now, I have one more honor that has been bestowed upon me: Peggy asked me to conduct Howard's funeral service and preach the funeral message. To say that I am overwhelmed at being asked to perform such a task is an understatement. Nothing anyone could say is sufficient to honor a man the caliber of Howard Phillips. I covet your prayers.
Howard's viewing will take place at the Money and King Funeral Home in Vienna, Virginia, this Saturday, April 27, from 3:00-5:00pm, and Sunday, April 28, from 3:00-7:00pm local time. The funeral service will take place Monday, April 29, at 11:00am local time at the McLean Bible Church in Vienna.
As King David said of Abner, I say of Howard Phillips, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day?"
The Phillips' family has lost their patriarch, their loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. The Conservative Caucus has lost their beloved chairman. The Constitution Party has lost their courageous founder. Modern conservatives and constitutionalists nationwide have lost a Founding Father. Freedom fighters around the world have lost one of their truest allies. America has lost one of its greatest patriots. Liberty has lost one of its most ardent defenders. And I have lost one of my dearest friends.