Barry Morris Goldwater was born in Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona on 1 January 1909. He was an Arizona senator for five terms as well as a Republican presidential candidate, though he lost the presidential election to Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964. However, many political pundits saw Goldwater as a winner in the sense of his power within the Republican party and the influence of his conservative vision in the South. He was also credited for helping Ronald Reagan become president in 1981.
Goldwater graduated in 1928 from Virginia's Stauton Military Academy. He had a military career and was a pilot in World War II. He loved flying and continued to fly as a hobby even when he was well past the age of eighty. He began his career in politics in 1949 by founding the Phoenix City Council with the goal of eliminating the spread of gambling and prostitution.
Often referred to as one of the most original American politicians, Goldwater was consistently outspoken and direct in his views. He more than once candidly voiced that he hated both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Unlike many other politicians, he did not concern himself with adjusting his speech to look good in the polls. He was also often described as charming and agreeable, however, though unpredictable, to even his strongest opponents when he wanted to be.
Especially in his later years, he was pro-homosexual rights and pro-abortion rights which many took to be paradoxical since he was known as "the father of conservatism." But Goldwater insisted that imposing will that took away the freedom and rights of others had nothing to do with conservatism. He took issue with the Christian right for the same reason. He made his points clear in his 1994 essay published in the Washington Post. He stated that religion has no place in politics and that church and state should be separate.
Goldwater did once support prayer in schools, but later stated that the actions of the religious right made him change his mind. He pointed out that TV preachers were collecting millions of dollars in the name of God and that long standing violence over religion such as the war in Northern Ireland should make it clear that religion is devastating when mixed with politics. He never wavered in his negative view of communism and often said it would be dangerous for America to lean anywhere near the left. He died at age 89 on 29 May 1998.