You can believe that French-ism is superior to Ahmari-ism in principle and practice, while also recognizing its utter dependence on a good-faith negotiating partner. For the center-right to hammer out a peace the religious right can live with, it needs a counterpart on the left that can stand up to its illiberal flanks and deliver a deal.

Today, that portion of the center-left is small and quiet. The large remainder too often goes along with the illiberals — either loudly out of conviction or quietly out of fear. As long as that’s true, and as long as left-wing hegemony persists over key economic and cultural institutions, many social conservatives will understandably view French’s procedural liberalism as a guide to losing gracefully.

A principled argument can be made that conservative Christians should be prepared for just such a loss, rather than trying to force what is now a minority opinion on the emerging secular majority. If the mainstream shuns them, they can withdraw into insular religious communities, as ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Amish have done, exchanging mainstream socioeconomic status for a space where their faith can thrive. This is hardly a prescription for doom; these are among the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to argue persuasively that someone else should abandon the benefits of mainstream life in defending their convictions.