Land writes as part of an On Faith roundtable on how social issues will resonate in 2012. Land answers, “What do the religious controversies surrounding the leading Republican candidates tell us about the state of the social conservative movement? What do social conservatives want in 2012?” Read David French on how abortion frames conservative politics. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State writes The role religion should play in Republican politics.
On Faith columnist Lisa Miller writes this week on overblown claims of Perry and Bachmann’s religious beliefs in Beware false prophets who incite fear of evangelicals.
All the polling data suggests the “social conservative” movement is alive, well and flourishing as we approach the 2012 election cycle.
As the “tea party” movement demonstrated in the 2010 elections, the grassroots are very unhappy with “business as usual” in our nation’s capital. While the tea party movement has been primarily motivated by economic concerns, they are overwhelmingly social conservatives.
Religious social conservatives remain absolutely committed to their pro-life agenda and definitely feel the wind is at their back on this issue with a pro-life majority being the “new normal” in American society, according to Gallup and others. However, they also believe out of control government spending is a moral issue. When the federal government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends, religious conservatives consider that to be generational theft-a violation of the commandment, “Thou shall not steal.”
They are increasingly convinced that such theft is foreclosing our children’s and grandchildren’s future and they want the size and cost of government cut- -now!
Religious social conservatives do want marriage to continue to be defined as the union of one man and one woman. The federal courts in California and in the state of New York have guaranteed that the issue of same-sex marriage will be front and center in next year’s elections. It should be remembered that one nationwide poll showed that 62 percent of Americans still oppose abandoning the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Religious social conservatives are looking for “full-spectrum” conservative candidates who are rock-solid on the social issues, fiscal issues and foreign policy issues. On the foreign policy front there is some divergence of opinion, with one group affirming former President George W. Bush’s freedom agenda, which is driven by belief in American exceptionalism, and another group gravitating toward a Kissinger-esque “realpolitik” of only intervening when American interests are at stake. The one area of foreign policy where you will find near unanimity among religious social conservatives is U.S. support for Israel.
Both of these foreign policy subgroups are united by their opposition to what they perceive to be a dangerous, naivé and feckless Obama foreign policy that disrespects our allies and kow-tows to our enemies.
Richard Land | Aug 19, 2011 11:02 PM