As attorney Paul Clement took to the Supreme Court to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of House Republicans, the lawmakers who hired him to do so stood silently by. It was the right thing to do, many Republican strategists say, to avoid distracting from the GOP’s core economic message.
But some members of the House Republican Conference thought their leaders should have done more to publicly stand behind an effort that is important to social conservatives.
“The silence was absolutely deafening and very disappointing to the millions of value voters that are in the party,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., told National Journal Daily.
In a mostly hidden subtext of the gay marriage debate, a lot of Republicans would be thrilled with the most far-reaching court decision [on gay marriage] possible. This is the only way, they reckon, to take the issue out of an electoral arena in which it is increasingly bringing them little but grief…
One top Republican pollster, who requested anonymity in order to speak bluntly, said that Republicans will struggle to connect with many swing voters as long as they’re perceived as the party of cultural retrenchment.
“We can’t continue to fight a losing battle on gay marriage and gay rights, and if we need the Supreme Court to help in that regard, so be it,” the pollster said…
One of the reasons some Republicans hope for a pro-gay marriage ruling from the Supreme Court is that barring a judicial resolution to the issue, there’s no obvious way for the party to liberalize on gay rights without angering its most fervent rank-and-file supporters.
Let’s be honest: If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage then guess what? You are one of the following: An outcast, a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above. It’s a different type of ridicule but it’s still ridicule.
The tables have been turned. Evangelicals are now the ugly stepchild. In our American culture today, you can easily make the argument that it is harder to stand for biblical truth than it is to be a supporter of gay marriage in today’s society…
[T]he level of vitriol by media commentators and others who support the homosexual lifestyle is just going to continue to increase and get more aggressive against Bible-believing evangelicals. That’s what happens when you become part of the minority. It’s inevitable. Just ask homosexuals about being in the minority opinion. They know the feeling. It wasn’t that long ago!
No one with half a brain wants to be thought of as a bigot. But that’s what I and others risk as members of a distinct and irritating minority — as traditional Christians in journalism.
It is a world of language and political symbolism, a world where ideas are often framed so that they may lead to inexorable conclusions favored by the dominant culture. In this media world, I sometimes wonder whether the word “sin” has been outlawed by the high priests of journalism for fear of offending one group or another. And I’d rather not ask.
Now that the debate has been framed, if I hold to my faith and resist applauding the changes, I’m easily cast as some drooling white cartoon bigot of the Jim Crow era, denying black Americans the right to sit at a lunch counter and have a meal with the white folks…
What is also clear is that, given demographic shifts and attitudes, particularly by young people regarding sexuality and family, traditional Christianity is no longer the dominant culture.
It is the counterculture, fast becoming a minority view.
Social conservatives are greatly outnumbered (a byproduct of having lost the culture war argument). We hear a lot about the supposed “three-legged-stool” of the conservative movement, but in fighting the culture war, social conservatives are on their own. In fact, it’s wrong to think of this in terms of a left versus right paradigm. It would be better understood as part of the continuing struggle between virtue (as social conservatives define it) and liberty (defined by our modern secular society to mean the freedom to do whatever we want). In that light, liberty is murdering virtue…
Of course, there has always been a tension between virtue and liberty. But at some point, America ceased emphasizing community values and began valuing extreme individualism. More and more, Americans — including many conservatives — now believe that individuals should do whatever they want so long as it isn’t hurting anybody else.
But the cultural conservative says that there is a “tragedy of the commons” problem with this — that the “if it feels right, do it” mentality will eventually hurt society collectively.
Yet one gets the sense that, at root, the same-sex marriage project isn’t even really about opposition to the family as it is currently conceived—no matter how outmoded and bourgeois it may be. No, the family is just necessary collateral damage in the real struggle for sexual liberation. I suspect that, to the left, arguments about contraceptives, abortion, and gay marriage are really all about the same thing: the idea that sexual behavior must not be discriminated against, by anyone, in any sense. There must be no adverse outcomes; there must be no distinctions made; and any form of disapproval is tantamount to discrimination. Other freedoms—of speech, of liberty, of thought—may be, to some extent, negotiable. But for the left, sexual freedom is a paramount freedom.
The opponents of same-sex marriage, on the other hand, are just as deeply invested in a different freedom—religious freedom. Because they recognize that the same-sex marriage project is headed directly for conflict with religious organizations. Chai Feldblum is a thoughtful and honest proponent of same-sex marriage who serves on President Obama’s EEOC and was, before that, a professor at Georgetown Law School. Here’s Feldblum explaining the inevitable conflict between gay marriage and religious freedom to Maggie Gallagher a few years ago…
“To Feldblum the emerging conflicts between free exercise of religion and sexual liberty are real: ‘When we pass a law that says you may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, we are burdening those who have an alternative moral assessment of gay men and lesbians.’ Most of the time, the need to protect the dignity of gay people will justify burdening religious belief, she argues. But that does not make it right to pretend these burdens do not exist in the first place, or that the religious people the law is burdening don’t matter.”
Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.
Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.
The left cannot allow Christians to continue to preach the full gospel. We already see this in, of all places, Canada. Gay marriage is incompatible with a religion that preaches that the unrepentant are condemned, even of a sin the world has decided is not one. The religious freedom will eventually be ended through the judiciary. We should work to extend that freedom as long as we can.
When former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean began campaigning for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, he would regularly say in his stump speech, “I am tired of fighting elections on guns, God and gays. We’re going to fight this election on our turf, which is going to be jobs, education and health care.”
Fast-forward 10 years to the third month of President Obama’s second term. Suddenly, the Democrats’ turf doesn’t look so friendly anymore. It’s not hard to see why they’re changing gears to fight a culture war of their own choosing…
Unless the economy markedly improves in the near future, or Obamacare is miraculously implemented without a hitch, expect Obama and the White House to turn the 2014 election into an all-out culture war centered around gun control and gay marriage. This is the only turf that appears remotely friendly to them these days.
Via MRC TV.