So, I have to respond to this. Gently.
My friend Roger Simon writes that social conservatives are the only thing that can “save liberalism.” Social conservatives should just accept the wisdom of coastal, unchurched 18 year olds and surrender our core beliefs. Surrender on marriage, and allow it to be redefined by people who harbor nothing but contempt for the institution. It’s a recurring theme among a certain set within the larger conservative-libertarian movement. Shut up and surrender, they explain.
Where do the surrenders end? Those who share the shut-up sentiment never say. They just tell social conservatives to shut up already and give up on the issues that for many are the very reason that they got into politics in the first place. So we surrender on marriage, then we give up on life, and pretty soon, they’ll be telling us to give up on the Second Amendment, then the First, then something else. Always retreat, ever surrender, because they say so, never offering a glimpse of what might be the end game.
The First Amendment is already under assault, by the way, via Obamacare. And it’s under threat in the marriage issue too. So surrendering on that issue threatens to gut our fundamental rights as Americans. Beware of ripple effects.
For what it’s worth, social conservatives aren’t actually pushing anything forward, at least not in the cultural arena. For many, Roe v. Wade was an assault that could not go unanswered, so they got involved in politics. For others, the left’s sustained assault on the family is the driving force. For others, it’s confiscatory tax policies or something else. Social conservatives are defending, not advancing, on social policy. Marriage was a settled issue — settled law, as the Democrats like to say when it suits them — until some folks came along and decided to redefine it. Mostly in court, because they kept losing in the democratic process, even in their coastal states.
The surrenders won’t end with same-sex marriage. Anyone who has observed the past few decades must see this, unless they’re willing themselves blind. There are never armistices in the culture wars. There is no redoubt to which strategic withdrawal is possible. There is no line the other side will not cross. Give the haters — not Roger, who is a friend and very much not a hater at all, but the core of the anti-family movement on the left — their redefinition of marriage and they will just move on to something else that expands state power at the expense of the individual. They always do. They’re already forcing business owners who object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds to serve them, or lose their livelihoods. Is this fair? Is there no space for what was even Barack Obama’s stated (insincerely) position just two years ago? At some point, a church somewhere will lose a lawsuit over gay marriage in an activist court, and then the state will feel free to crush what’s left of Christian faith in America under its boot. Go ahead and scoff. It’s coming. Which side do you think the alleged civil rights defenders at the ACLU will take? They’re the ones pulling down harmless monuments to our war dead, because those monuments acknowledge faith.
If social conservatives are to be muzzled — silenced — why will they remain engaged in politics? What’s the point? Roger and those who agree with him never answer that one either. If we can’t speak out on issues that are dear to us, why will we speak at all?
Let’s take but one issue that’s before the courts right now. Who is challenging Obamacare and on what grounds? Are the libertarians waging lawfare against it? Not effectively, but the Green family and the Catholic Church are. Who are they? Social conservatives. They’re fighting one of the most egregious assaults on personal liberty in a century, on religious freedom grounds. And they have the best standing chance of at least rolling back Obamacare’s attack on religious conscience — an attack, by the way, that libertarians mostly ignore. If they win, though, some measure of liberty will be restored — without the help of libertarians. Hm.
This month we honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Why do we honor him? What animated his quest for civil rights? From where did he draw the moral force that he had? From where did the abolitionist movement of the 19th century draw its moral force? What made abolitionist William Wilberforce tick?
They drew their power from their faith. They built their appeals to hearts and minds out of their faith. Look at today’s social justice movement. It has divorced itself from faith in anything but the very government that has been the instrument of oppression. That’s why it lacks credibility, and why Al Sharpton will always be unfit to carry Dr. King’s and Wilberforce’s Bibles.
While charlatan Sharpton pounds his angry fist and hops around town with his hot young thang, and some try to write people like me out of the conservative movement, let me tell you what I learned in my Southern Baptist church down in the Bible Belt: Racism is intolerable. Hatefulness is unacceptable and ungodly. We’re all sinners and children of God. We all want to and need to be loved. They will know we are Christians by our — what? By our love. Where do those ideas come from? If we write the source of those ideas out of our public life, and chase those who believe them away, what replaces it? Upon what do we base this idea of the dignity of humanity?
Big government, unchallenged by any moral rival, leads to madness.