Aug 22 2008

What Impact Did Shrill Social Conservatives Have On The Electorate?

Published by at 7:55 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

Some people don’t understand that near-manic passion can translate into repulsion. There is a point where people who believe strongly in something cross a line and those strong beliefs start to repel everyone else. Why? Strong beliefs turn into quasi-dictatorial positions. Either you believe as they do or you are the evil enemy. Face it, we all understand Hitler believed in what he was doing, just as Jesus Christ did. The problem is one was deluded by evil forces and the other was the champion of good.

So how can a mere mortal know when they may be sliding into obsession and fanaticism? It is like asking someone who drinks heavily to determine when they are unfit to drive.  The very capabilities you need to make the assessment where the ones you trashed.

Anyway, I am not saying who is evil, who is slipping, who is good. All I am noting is in the 8 years of President Bush’s two terms there has been a rising backlash against religion in politics, and this one is not easily laid at the feet of the President:

Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion and politics. A new survey finds a narrow majority of the public saying that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters. For a decade, majorities of Americans had voiced support for religious institutions speaking out on such issues.

This is the reality being measured in the polls. Since 1996 (right after the GOP took over Congress) until now (after the GOP lost Congress and a neophyte liberal is prepared to take control of the presidency) the public support of social conservative policies has been upended.  This is part of the reason why the GOP lost in 2006. And this is not a Bush problem, who is derided as not being socially conservative enough by the far right.

This is why John McCain is the GOP presidential candidate instead of someone more to the liking of the ebbing social conservatives. I for one remain a conservative because, while I do not share their views 100% on religion and the offshoot subjects like ‘sanctity of life’, I do think they deserve respect. They are not heathen or some religious idiots, they have strong and honorable beliefs. Beliefs that don’t always translate well into the general population.

Respect is something I have wanted to see for the social conservatives, until they start acting disrespectful of others. Let me give an example. I am not against gays, I just don’t think sexual orientation should be a topic of work or the public debate. Gays should have the freedom to do what they wish. I am opposed to gay marriage because marriage is something different that sets heterosexual life-partners apart. Gays can’t procreate, heteros can. Gays can have families and civil unions, but they cannot create life. They can adopt the creation of a hetero couple.

These are facts. I think when gays try to pretend their unions are identical to those of heteros who create life and raise the next generation it cheapens the magic and aura of life and family. That is why I oppose gay marriage. I am not against gays and they don’t wig me out and I have plenty in the family and as friends. But just as their ‘gay’ distinctiveness deserves honor and respect, so does my hetero ‘marriage’ and family. We are all Americans, yet we have differences.

Now some religious folks want to go too far when it comes to gays. I agree the gay life style should be completely sheltered from all kids (just as hetero sexual preferences should be). I don’t want my kids exposed to gay spooning or hetero doggy-style.  Sex is out universally. But there are those who go much farther than is legal or right or comfortable.  And it is that small, vocal minority that gives other, more moderate social conservatives a bad rep.

Look, I am not a social conservative because my pro-life, anti-stem cell positions are based more on hard scientific fact than readings from the bible. I don’t associate with any religion though I am highly spiritual and do believe in forces of good and evil. Even a scientist can see the data points represented by Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler. But the social conservatives have created an image problem for themselves.

Take this post as a heads up from a friend – try and hold your views and hold respect for others. Otherwise it is the politically impotent margins for the movement, and America needs a strong religious framework.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “What Impact Did Shrill Social Conservatives Have On The Electorate?”

  1. I also would say that a pretty big attack non stop and the furthering of misconceptions on religious conservatives (this is to be expected since they are in the public arena and this is not bean bag) is a part of it. People push back.

    I guess I have two thoughts on this.

    First, I don’t think the loss in 2006 can really be laid at Social conservatives feet. I do not recall that Social conservative issues were at the forefront of a lot of things that election year. People wanting change, the general electoral trends that works against a party that has the White House in its 6th year, anxiety about Iraq, and a Republican party where ALL factions were calling each other RINOs and thus they for forgot they had a race on I think was more at play. Oh and let us not forget about SCANDAL SCANDAL SCANDAL that seemed to have a (R) by it a good bit of time

    Social Conservatives were still a pretty large part of the loyal Republican electorate. The one drop we saw in 2006 was among Hispanic Evangelicals that was huge that went DEM. I think we know the reason for that.

    Second, I would take the Social conservatives support of McCain or the intensity with a grain of salt. Bush had a very effective fine tuned targeting of Religious Conservatives for 4 years. It was brilliant. McCain is lacking in this department somewhat but I see that more of Campaign logistics issue.

    Are Social Conservatives mad because their guy didn’t get in 2008? Well who was their guy. Social Conservatives were very well split into 3 three camps. Huckabee had a lot, Romney had some, and McCain had a good many. For all the predictions of how Evangelicals that are the huge number of the Social conservative faction would have a problem with McCain we are not seeing it.

  2. breschau says:

    Speaking from the other side of the aisle, I’d point out three issues:

    1) Terry Shiavo. That was just a mess, and opened the eyes of a lot of the American public.

    2) Scandal – especially the hypocritical type. When you have social conservatives screaming about the sanctity of marriage who are then discovered to have visited prostitutes, or solicited sex in a men’s bathroom, or commited adultery – it just kills the message.

    3) Obama’s recent quote from Matthew – “whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” It’s just another biblical verse that hasn’t been followed enough by (many of) the Religious Right, along with “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”, “Hate the sin, love sinner”, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone”, etc. (Of course, that could be said about… well, way too many people of all stripes. But again – the hypocrisy sticks stronger to them.)

  3. KauaiBoy says:

    Amen AJ

    Let’s keep religion and the state separate but never forget those basic tenets that permeate every legitimate religion—tolerance of others being the true differentiating factor (i.e. no head cutting of infidels)—and how they help guide how we should treat one another.

    The problem is we don’t draw the line on the fanatics on either side—whether it is the cultists in Waco or Utah or Tehran—-and say this is not a religion and thus not protected by any constitution. We let lawyers get us all hung up on all the individualist elements of democracy and fail to recognize that religion doesn’t necessarily celebrate individual rights but rather individual responsibilities.

    And here is where our elected miscreants have fallen short and not delivered the hard message of saving and sacrifice that all the children of America need to hear. And that is also why Obama does not deserve to be elected — he has only furthered the divisions within this country while McCain has actively sought to suppress that and really focus on the future not reinterpret the past.

  4. The Macker says:

    Those damn “social conservatives” just won’t cut Edwards, Spitzer, Craig and Foley any slack! “It’s just about sex.” (sarc)

    And why can’t we just “put a family member down” like we do our animals? It’s about “quality of life.” (sarc)

  5. Terrye says:

    I don’t think it is just about sex, but talking about religion in public makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I know when I was growing up in Oklahoma, we may have been Baptists..but my Dad always said, don’t talk about politics or religion in a public social setting. Just do not do it.

    I think that conversely some people are not comfortable with talk of religion in politics. We expect our pols to respect religion, in fact I think most Americans would prefer that our politicians were believers, they just don’t want that to rule public policy.

  6. Terrye says:


    Americans are the most generous people in the world, whether Obama wants to admit it or not. And speaking of hypocritical, maybe he should take care of his own brother before he lectures the rest of us.

  7. roylofquist says:

    Dear AJ,

    You are a Deist and an Edmund Burke conservative. You are in some fine company.

    Over the last 50 years the radical left has hijacked the word Liberal and the radical right has hijacked the word Conservative. Used to be that liberal and conservative were ways of thinking about the world – not a checklist of policy positions.

    As to religion in society – all societies have religion. The cases where they didn’t – Russia, China, North Vietnam – were and are abominable charnel houses. The world’s great religions have given birth to societies that differ markedly. The first world – the place where everybody wants to be – is Judeo/Christian. The rest – Hindu, Buddhist, Tao, Shinto, Islam – haven’t worked out nearly as well. Christianity permeates our law, our literature, our music, our conversation, our civility and our way of life.

    We are tolerant. We accept that others may worship as they please. But to advocate that we incorporate these ideas into our culture is pernicious.


  8. momdear1 says:

    Give me a break! All this bitching about “social Conservatives” screwing up the Republican Party is a farce. If it weren’t for us Social Conservatives there wouldnt’ be any Republican Party. We would all be FDR New Deal Democrats.

    As for Separation of church and state. How can it be separated when the government has taken over the functions of the churches? The purpose of a government is to protect the people and their property from all enemies, both domestic and foreign, to enforce sensible rules and laws that govern a civil society and provide necessary infrastructure such as pure drinking water, sewage disposal and roads. How did our government ever get into the business of taking care of the poor, feeding the hungry, providing free medical care, affordable housing, and all the other goodies that once were considered “CHARITY” and was once provided by churches, civic organizations, and other other charitable organizations? We are constantly being told that it is our Christian duty to support a government that provides all this stuff. However, Churches only require a tithe of 10% and most oversee where the money goes and see that it is spent wisely. The government taxes us 15% plus and hands it out to any and everyone who comes along with their hand out. That is after the beaucrats, consultants, and other legalized thieves take the biggest share.

  9. The Macker says:

    The term “social conservative” is both a compliment and an epithet, depending on the user.

    It seems to me some social issues must be resolved by public policy. Hence, they are in the public square. Each of us comes to our understanding by different means, whether religion, science, philosophy, experience or whatever. I can no more disallow your religious argument than you can my philosophical one, although, I can disagree.

    And, I agree that Americans are a historically generous people and it is annoying to hear leftists complain otherwise.