Will America’s faith-based social conservatives snatch defeat from the jaws of what should be a big November victory?
If they follow a very destructive pattern that they’ve exhibited over the past couple of decades, then, yes, inadvertently this could happen.
Last week a federal district court judge in Boston ruled that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” signed by President Clinton in 1996 is unconstitutional. This could result in many faith-based Americans becoming further disillusioned by what they perceive as a proliferation of immorality in American culture, and simply choosing not to vote this November.
Some will be offended at my insinuation that faith-based folks could possibly be short-sided. But before you get angry, consider some important facts about how faith-based Americans have impacted our nation over the past several decades – both by voting, and not voting.
For one, faith-based Americans had a sketchy track record of electoral participation for much of the previous century. Column space doesn’t allow for a thorough treatment here of the history of Christianity in America. But from roughly the time of the famous 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial,” when theologically conservative Protestant Christians were publicly humiliated for not embracing the “theory of evolution” and thus began a pattern of disengagement from the broader culture, up until the early 1970’s, voting habits among America’s conservative Christians were somewhat irregular.
The cultural upheaval of the late 1960’s and early 70’s, complete with America’s youth protesting the Viet Nam war and reveling in the so-called “sexual revolution,” was sufficiently alarming that it drove many faith-based Americans to vote for Richard Nixon, which in turn helped lead Nixon to his landslide 49-state re-election victory in 1972.
From there, the faith-based voters “movement” continued to grow. Jimmy Carter, America’s first self-professed Evangelical Christian President, successfully positioned himself as the anecdote to the corruption of Nixon’s incomplete second term and swayed many of these voters to the Democratic side of the aisle. Ronald Reagan then successfully swayed many of these voters back to the Republican party, and since that time –and especially during the twelve consecutive years of the Reagan and “Bush 41” presidencies –conservative, faith-based political action groups have mostly flourished.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.