Howard Phillips, former presidential candidate and founder of the Constitution Party and Conservative Caucus, has passed into eternity. He was 72.
Phillips was born into a Jewish family in 1941. In his adulthood, he later came to believe in Jesus as the messiah and converted to Christianity.
“I guess the thing I’m most thankful for is that Howard Phillips, by God’s grace, died a Christian. I remember talking to him from time-to-time over the years about this matter,” stated friend John Lofton in remembering Phillips’ life. “Sometimes I used humor telling him once something like, ‘C’mon, Howard, give it up. Everybody else in your family is a Christian! They’ve got you surrounded! So, come out with your hands up and nobody will get hurt.’”
“Howard was a good friend to me and at all times helped me in any way he could when I needed help,” he added.
After changing his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican, Phillips served President Richard Nixon for a time, and later went on to found the Conservative Caucus in 1974. The Caucus serves as a lobbying group that focuses on a wide range of issues, from health care to tax reform and immigration. It also centers on moral matters, such as life and family issues, and prayer in schools. It continues to this day.
In the 1990′s, Phillips founded the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party, which was later named the Constitution Party. He ran for president of the United States under the party in 1992, 1996 and 2000. He was a strong believer in the Biblical duty to uphold God’s law in civil government, and was concerned about the decline of morality in American society.
“[W]e ought now summon to our banner all who would join us to battle for the reconstruction of the American Republic and the restoration of these United States to our Biblical and constitutional heritage of liberty and freedom under, not from, the laws of God,” Phillips once said.
While some criticized Phillips for going the route of a third party as he had left the Republican Party out of concern that it was leaning too far left, he believed it was important not to compromise on values. In 2004, regarding the candidacy of Constitution Party nominee Michael Peroutka, he stated, “If conservatives don’t vote for what they believe, they will never get what they want. Losing as slowly as possible means we still lose. Going over the cliff at a supposedly slower speed still means we are going to crash.”
The former presidential candidate struggled with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in his final years. He passed away at home on Saturday with his family by his side.
Phillips is survived by his wife Peggy and six children, including his son Doug Phillips, the president of Vision Forum Ministries in San Antonio, Texas.