The Census Bureau recently noted that only 23.7 percent of the U.S. population fit the '50s stereotype of heterosexual married couples with children. Even in the "golden age" of the '50s, the figure was just under 50 percent. Until this election cycle, most social conservatives supported candidates and policies based on the married with children "ideal" family model. It may be the ideal, but it is no longer widely practiced, including by many conservative evangelicals. Researchers have found many conservative Christians live in states where divorce rates are highest. These states overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage. Too bad they don't do a better job supporting opposite-sex marriage in which they claim to believe.
No politician can "fix" broken heterosexual marriages. If they could, some of those mentioned above would have fixed their own. The crumbling "traditional" family is the result of many social and cultural factors. The solution, like the fault, lies neither with government, nor with politicians.
While "character issues" can overlap with other concerns when considering for whom to vote, conservative evangelicals are beginning to see them as less important than who can meet the multiple challenges faced by the nation. Put it this way: if you are about to have major surgery and your only choice was a church-going doctor with a high mortality rate, or an agnostic with a high success record, which would it be? I'd choose the agnostic.
Conservative evangelicals have grown up. But they still can't stand Hillary Clinton, though she's only been married once and is a Methodist. Jimmy Carter, also once married, only lusted in his heart. It makes one nostalgic for the "good old days."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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