If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will have noticed that I am not particularly religious. I’m not an atheist, but I’m not religious. Mark me down as indifferent, maybe even insouciant. That said, I am sympathetic to Christianity and I think it is the one religion most compatible with self-governance. Islam is tribal and pagan. Judaism is too legalistic for anyone outside the tribe to manage. Atheism is just a license to believe any old nonsense that comes down the pike. Therefore, I prefer a mildly Christian society, if I get a choice.
The trouble is the people in charge of the country hate Christians with an intensity of a thousand suns. The Liberal Democrats, if they had the option, would make ISIS look multi-cultural. They would burn down every church in the country and ban the religion entirely. The Republicans have tried hard to use Evangelicals for votes, but it has been hit and miss. Frankly, Evangelicals have been given a lot of bad advice about how to make a difference in politics. Now, the GOP is tired of pretending to care about things like abortion and homosexual marriage. They would like to free themselves of the snake handlers.
That means the Christians, social conservatives and Evangelicals may find themselves with out a candidate in 2016. At least, that’s what the WaPo is hoping for anyway.
Perched on the edge of his chair in a study overflowing with books, Pastor Gino Geraci reels off the Republicans he no longer believes in. His friend Mike Huckabee is an “odd bird” who couldn’t win a general election. Sarah Palin doesn’t inspire him with her “cliched responses to difficult questions.” Rand Paul is “fascinating but frustrating.”
Of all the Republicans weighing a bid for president in 2016, the only one who puts a smile on Geraci’s face is doctor-turned-conservative-media-darling Ben Carson. And yet, Geraci concedes, Carson is “not in the mainstream” and has little chance of ever being elected.
The assessment from Geraci, the founding pastor of Calvary South Denver, a sprawling evangelical church with several thousand congregants, reflects a broader sense of despair among white evangelicals about the Republican Party many once considered their comfortable home.
Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.
I’ve always thought that Evangelicals have it wrong, as far as how to engage in politics. They think putting people who are from their cult in office is all that’s needed to get their desired policy outcomes. That was never going to work because big government is incompatible with religious liberty and social conservatism. The state is always at war with private association and private contract. The bigger the state, the more hostile it is to these things.
Meanwhile, the list of possible front-runners for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a limited relationship with evangelical activists, and the libertarian-leaning Paul, the senator from Kentucky who only recently began reaching out to social conservatives. One prominent establishment favorite weighing a bid, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is a supporter of legal same-sex marriage who claims his views on the issue could help him and his party appeal to younger voters.
This is where the Colonial Post shows itself to be blazingly ignorant of what’s going on outside the hive. Tubby is not getting elected to anything and he is pro-life. Rand Paul has been playing the social conservative side of the street for years, as did his old man. He’s not winning the nomination, but he is hardly a typical libertarian. Rob Portman is a company man who has no chance in the GOP primary, even assuming he runs.
The disconnect between social conservatives and the GOP has become a “chasm,” said Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and is now head of the Campaign for Working Families. He pointed to the party’s two most recent presidential nominees, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, as examples of candidates who were touted initially as having broad appeal to centrists in the general election but ultimately never inspired evangelicals and lost.
Neither McCain or Romney were centrists. McCain has always been a bit of nut and hostile to Evangelicals. He went into Suffolk Virginia in the 2000 primary and told Evangelicals to shove it. Romney actually did well with social conservatives, despite the fact no one believed a single word that came out his mouth. His problem was not his positions. His problem was no one believed him.
Fundamentally, that’s the problem facing the GOP. No one believes them. If you are a social conservative serving the cause for the last twenty-five years, you have to be discouraged. In 1990, there were pro-life Democrats and no trace of gay marriage or tranny rights. Abortion and family law issues all looked like they were heading your way. The DLC was advocating a more conciliatory tone with social conservatives.
Today, even Republicans flinch at the mention of opposition to the most extreme perversions. This garbage is jammed in your face everywhere you look. I’ve stopped watching ESPN because I’m all fagged out and I’m not even an Evangelical. If I had committed my life to the Evangelical cause, I’d be ready to throw in the towel on politics.
I do wonder if the Christians in this country have one last fight in them, though. The lunatics have been running wild now for a decade and the damage is immeasurable. I know I’ll never see the day when we finally fix what Obama has broken. We’re still suffering for Clinton’s failures. The damage Bush did to the GOP will never be fixed. He effectively killed the party, I think. Even if the Christians have it in them, where do they turn?
I’m not terribly optimistic.