The decline of marriage over the last generation has helped create an emerging voting bloc of unmarried women that is profoundly reshaping the American electorate to the advantage, recent elections suggest, of the Democratic Party. What is far from clear is whether Democrats will benefit in the midterm contests this fall.

With their Senate majority at stake in November, Democrats and allied groups are now stepping up an aggressive push to woo single women — young and old, highly educated and working class, never married, and divorced or widowed. This week they seized on the ruling by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, five men, that family-owned corporations do not have to provide birth control in their insurance coverage, to buttress their arguments that Democrats better represent women’s interests…

Personal economics help explain the difference in voting patterns between unmarried and married women, analysts say. Unmarried women, especially single mothers, have greater “economic vulnerability,” said Ruy Teixeira, a political demographer at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. “Married people are typically a bit more secure and have more buffers, so that tends to make them a bit more conservative.”


In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, conservatives couldn’t resist making a ruling officially about religious liberty into how women will no longer be able to freely have sex on the government’s dime.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh held nothing back on Wednesday when criticizing liberals for considering birth control to be part of preventative care for women.

“Pregnancy is something that you have to do to cause. … Yet we treat it as a great imposition that women need to be protected from. It’s a sickness, it’s a disease, it’s whatever, and there’s gotta be a pill for it,” he said on his show. “Yet they wouldn’t have the problem if they didn’t do a certain thing. It’s that simple.”

Red State’s Erick Erickson boiled the Hobby Lobby case down to religion versus “consequence free sex.”


[S]ome Democrats have to be more constrained than others in their objection to the decision, namely those running for the Senate in more conservative-oriented states…

While the decision inflamed the Democratic base in general — and Democratic women in particular — Democratic political consultant Neil Oxman says the red state Democrats are in “a bit of a conundrum.”

“If you’re any of those [Senate candidate] women and you disagree with the decision, you’re not going to do it on radio, you’re not going to do it on TV,” Oxman told It’s All Politics. “You’re going to do it through a lot of direct mail. You’re going to do it in ways where you’re going to target households.”


The Federalist’s David Harsanyi pointed out the New York Times’s clear double standard when it comes to advertising in a Thursday post on Twitter. The writer recounted that the liberal paper “rejected an ad aimed at one religion” in 2012, but printed a full-page ad in Thursday’s edition from the far-left Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which blasted the “all-male, all-Roman Catholic majority” on the Supreme Court for its decision in the Hobby Lobby case…

The 2012 ad from FFRF was more explicitly anti-Catholic than their more recent one… The atheist group called on “liberal” and “nominal” Catholics to “quit the Catholic Church” over its supposed “declaration war against women’s right to contraception” and its “pernicious doctrine that birth control is a sin.” The ad later asserted that “U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to…[the] church’s irrational opposition to medically prescribed contraception” and that parochial schools “indoctrinated….[children] into the next generation of obedient donors and voters.” It ended by calling on Catholics to “free yourself from incense-fogged ritual, from ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men, from blind obedience to an illusory religious authority.”


If the Pakistani Taliban, aided by clever lawyers, organized a closely held American corporation, and professed to run it on religious principles, might its employees be deprived of insurance coverage to inoculate their children against polio? And would the Supreme Court, by the five-to-four decision issued on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, endorse such a move?…

Because campaigners against reproductive rights have successfully mainstreamed their views within institutions like the Supreme Court, those views no longer seem radical even to many of their opponents. The Taliban have not similarly legitimized their philosophy because they are so indiscriminately violent and repressive, among other reasons. (Some religiously motivated radicals have assassinated abortion providers in the United States, but the gunmen are not commonly referred to here as terrorists.)

And yet, the impact on children, living and unborn, of the Taliban public policy on vaccines is not, arguably, different in category from the impact that the Hobby Lobby decision will likely have on the families of those who work at companies whose owners claim to run them on Christian principles, in one respect: the extrapolation of religious beliefs into public policy will damage the over-all health of affected families. The health consequences of failing to vaccinate children may be more predictable than the health consequences of blocking access to effective contraception. But, in both cases, there is no doubt that the consequences will be harmful. The difference lies partly in our cultural setting—and, in the case of the ongoing campaign to restrict the reproductive rights of American women, in our capacity for outrage.


One of the common chants at the Supreme Court was “Birth Control is not my boss’s business.” The people chanting this were, amazingly, the people trying to force bosses to cover their birth control.

A couple of signs implausibly accused Hobby Lobby’s side of pushing a “theocracy.” One protester dressed up as a Bible and waved a sign reading “Use me not for your bigotry.” Other signs read, “Bigotry disguised as ‘religious liberty’ is still BIGOTRY.”

This line levels two charges against the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and the millions who support them: (1) Religious liberty is a “disguise,” a farce, a lie; (2) refusing to pay to cover an employees’ prescription for abortifacient drugs like “ella” counts as “bigotry.”…

If this definition of bigotry is widespread on the Left — and if the Left is as willing as it appears to outlaw such “bigotry” — then expect a brutal offensive by liberals set on eradicating their opponents.


Could America break apart along religious lines, with devout Christians going one way and the rest of us going another? Think of the old “Jesusland” meme—the map of a North America divided between “Jesusland,” the states that backed George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and “the United States of Canada,” consisting of the states that backed John Kerry and Canada that delighted liberals enraged by Bush’s re-election. At least some devout religious believers fear that as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, and as secular Americans insist on imposing their values on others, the faithful might face persecution…

My admittedly unscientific sense is that we are living through a period in which Americans’ sense of solidarity or group cohesiveness is declining. Liberals tend to see this decline in solidarity as a symptom of income and wealth inequality. Conservatives blame it on a rising emphasis on ethnic identity over national identity, or the turn to moral relativism. I see it as a product of the economic and social isolation of huge chunks of our population…

While 14.9 percent of the U.S. population was below the poverty line in 2010, a quarter of all poor Americans lived in neighborhoods with poverty rates above 20 percent. These “poverty areas” are, as a general rule, disconnected from employment opportunities and high-quality educational options, and their inhabitants suffer from disproportionately high rates of violent crime and incarceration. The result is that the legitimacy of American institutions—the criminal justice system in particular, but other institutions as well—is on shaky ground in these parts of the country, as they seem to be rigged against those who live in them. There is no danger that America’s poor neighborhoods will secede from the United States. The real problem is that the rest of us have, in a cultural and spiritual sense, seceded from these neighborhoods.


Culturally conservative Christians are taking a pronounced turn toward social secession: asserting both the right and the intent to sequester themselves from secular culture and norms, including the norm of nondiscrimination. This is not a good idea. When religion isolates itself from secular society, both sides lose, but religion loses more…

There is, of course, a very different Christian tradition: a missionary tradition of engagement and education, of resolutely and even cheerfully going out into an often uncomprehending world, rather than staying home with the shutters closed. In this alternative tradition, a Christian photographer might see a same-sex wedding as an opportunity to engage and interact: a chance, perhaps, to explain why the service will be provided, but with a moral caveat or a prayer. Not every gay customer would welcome such a conversation, but it sure beats having the door slammed in your face.

This much I can guarantee: the First Church of Discrimination will find few adherents in 21st-century America. Polls find that, year by year, Americans are growing more secular. The trend is particularly pronounced among the young, many of whom have come to equate religion with intolerance. Social secession will only exacerbate that trend. It is a step toward precisely the future that brought such fear to the eyes of that woman in Philadelphia. For religious traditionalists, it is a step toward isolation and opprobrium—a step bad for society, but even worse for religion.


If your liberal friends are enraged about the Hobby Lobby decision, ask them: Don’t we want to be the sort of society that respects personal integrity? I find that some people are more sympathetic to this point when I draw an analogy to close personal relationships (which might include same-sex relationships). In a million other contexts, liberals are fine with curtailing personal choice, but when it comes to romantic relationships, they view personal commitments as sacrosanct. Why? Presumably they think (and as far as it goes, I would agree) that a commitment to share a life with another person is defining in a way that most other decisions wouldn’t be. When a commitment of that seriousness is threatened, it represents more than just an attack on our lifestyle preferences. Personal integrity is at stake…

So, let’s suppose that the majority of Americans hypothetically get something wrong. When the consequences of that error become evident, it will probably be better if we haven’t already obliterated the opposition by the time we realize the problem. Think of moral minorities as a kind of “error insurance”; they preserve, mostly at their own expense, the cultural and philosophical resources for getting society back on course when errors are exposed.

Aren’t liberals the ones who are always lecturing us on the value of a “diverse” society? Whatever arguments you might make for the benefits of having, say, an ethnically diverse workplace, can surely be cross applied to an argument for the benefit of a culturally and philosophically diverse society. If relatively minor accommodations (like slight modifications in employer insurance requirements) can help us to preserve that diversity, that’s a small price to pay.