Is the religous right finished?

Are religious conservatives finished as a political and cultural force?  Not at all, argues David French, responding to someone who claims that Mike Huckabee’s inevitable defeat will put the nails in the coffin of the Christian right.

French says that Christian conservatives don’t have to vote for Huckabee because every other Republican candidate are claiming their issues.  Furthermore, back in the Sixties, the left had essentially taken over America’s churches, but now the mainstream theological liberals have dwindled to near insignificance, while evangelicals and other theological conservatives dominate American Christianity and have had a cultural impact, especially on life issues.

Read his argument after the jump.  Is he right or wrong?  Or only partially right or partially wrong? [Read more...]

The anti-conservative vendetta in Wisconsin

To retaliate against conservative organizations that thwarted efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker for his anti-union policies, Democratic prosecutors launched a series of legal investigations against them, complete with police-state-style pre-dawn raids.   A federal judge has ruled against these actions, and now those targeted are suing.  Details of what happened after the break. [Read more...]

Rand Paul courts Christian conservatives

Sen. Rand Paul is presenting himself as a “libertarian Republican” rather than a “libertarian,” and is courting evangelicals and other Christian conservatives.  In an apparent effort to position himself as a credible GOP presidential candidate, Paul is backing away from conventional libertarian positions, such as legalizing drugs, and is nuancing his support for gay marriage. (I believe he has always been pro-life.)

I know lots of readers of this blog have long supported the Pauls, both father and son.  Are you bothered by Rand’s attempt to appeal to the GOP establishment?  Or do you support him in trying to make himself electable?  And, for you Christian conservatives leery of libertarianism, do these efforts  make you likely to support him? [Read more...]

Christian right leaders anoint Santorum

A conclave of leaders of  social conservative organizations and evangelical political activist groups voted to rally behind Rick Santorum:

A week before the pivotal South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum’s quest to emerge as the chief alternative to Mitt Romney received a boost Saturday from a group of evangelical leaders and social conservatives who voted to back his candidacy in a last-ditch effort to stop the GOP front-runner’s march to the nomination.

About three-quarters of some 150 pastors and Christian conservative political organizers meeting in Texas sided with Santorum over a home-state favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — an outcome that illustrated continuing divisions within the ranks of conservatives who make up the base of the GOP.

The gathering also reflected the lingering dissatisfaction with Romney over abortion rights and other issues, and the belief of conservatives that they need to unite behind one contender before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary if they are to derail the former Massachusetts governor they view as too moderate. Romney leads narrowly in polls here after victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“There is a hope and an expectation that this will have an impact on South Carolina,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who attended the Texas meeting.

It’s unclear, however, whether conservative voters will heed the advice of these leaders and back Santorum particularly with other conservative candidates still in the race. The backing of a chunk of conservative leaders could help Santorum, who long has run a shoestring campaign, raise money and set up stronger get-out-the-vote operations.

via Santorum Backed by Social Conservative Leaders – ABC News.

Much will be said about Santorum as the evangelical candidate.  Remember, though, that he is not an evangelical.  He is a Roman Catholic.  Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!

I know the complaints about Santorum, as have come up in the discussions here, is that he is a big government conservative, that he wants to use the power of the federal government to promote his moral agenda (however laudable that might be).  What would be an example of that?  His opposition to gay marriage and abortion?  His favoring constitutional amendments to address those issues?  Isn’t it the government that has been pushing gay marriage and abortion?  The constitution limits government, so why isn’t working for a constitutional amendment an appropriate tactic?  Or are you thinking of something else?

Also, in other election news, Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race.

Personhood amendment voted down

The people of Mississippi rejected a state constitutional amendment that would classify a human embryo as a “person” entitled to all legal protections.  According to the latest count, the margin was 59% to 41%.  This, even though both Republican and Democratic leaders in that conservative state supported the amendment.  See Mississippi anti-abortion ‘personhood’ amendment fails at ballot box – The Washington Post.

Some pro-life activists opposed the tactic of trying to push through a personhood laws, something also being considered in other states, reasoning that while it can be demonstrated scientifically that a fetus is a human being, the notion of “personhood” adds all kinds of philosophical considerations that are likely to be voted down, to the harm of the pro-life cause.

If a personhood amendment can’t be passed in Mississippi–MISSISSIPPI!–then where can it be passed?  And this failure suggests certain inconvenient truths:

(1)  The voting public is not as conservative as conservative activists. Voters are not liberal, exactly, probably more centrist or center-rightists.  But they will vote against anything they consider, rightly or wrongly, “extremist.”  We conservatives, being purists, tend to hunt for the most conservative candidates.  But the most conservative candidates cannot be elected.  (I lament that, but I submit that this is a fact.  As I do so often, I hope I am wrong.)

(2)  Christians and Christian causes these days are not popular in the political arena.  We think people like us, but they don’t.

(3)  These two points are not reason to pull away from political engagement, properly entered into, but they make it harder than certain activists realize that it will be.

The Christian right’s candidate: Ron Paul?

The Values Voters Summit is a convention of Christian political activists that takes place in Washington, D. C., each year.  This weekend the various Republican presidential candidates came hat in hand.  After their presentations, a straw poll was conducted.  The winner with 37% of the vote?  Ron Paul.

Such a large percentage of Christian conservatives are favoring the libertarian who wants to legalize drugs and prostitution?  Some are saying the poll was skewed by Paul supporters who crashed the party.  And yet, I can see this.  I know quite a few Christian political activists and a lot of them, including some on this blog, favor Paul.

What I am seeing is that the Christian right, political ideology, and politics itself are all getting more complicated than they used to be.  And that’s a good thing.

Values Voter straw poll organizers suggest a fix in Ron Paul’s win – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Romney’s Mormonism – Washington Post


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