When the faith community strongly objected to this betrayal, the administration at first defiantly refused to budge. Then it ordered a take-it-or-leave-it "compromise" that shifted the requirement to arrange and pay for contraceptives and abortifacients to insurance companies. Most understand this was a sham compromise that did little to protect conscience concerns. When people objected to his "compromise" edict, Obama responded with a dictatorial wave of the hand, signaling that he was through "compromising" and that there wouldn't be any further discussion.
But something potentially more disturbing is unfolding than Obama's duplicity and his attacks on religious liberty. The left has become so ruthlessly adept at deceptively framing arguments that it has succeeded, to some degree, in painting religious people as the aggressors in this dispute instead of the administration and the left, which started it and finished it. It simply recycled the same template developed by the militant homosexual lobby to depict those who object to the formal sanctification of same-sex marriage as bigoted against the homosexual community rather than as trying to preserve the traditional institution of marriage.
Conservatives -- if we'll wake up and fight back instead of underestimating the importance of holding this turf or, even worse, allowing ourselves to be divided and conquered on social issues -- can win these arguments.
Republicans can reasonably disagree about who is the best presidential candidate. Unfortunately, however, there's a lot of acrimonious infighting on the right, much of which is centered on the hysterical charge that Rick Santorum is some kind of theocrat who wants to outlaw contraception and surveil our bedrooms. It's a spurious claim and one that Santorum has specifically denied, saying he would not attempt to impose his personal views on contraception through policy. He would appoint strict constructionist judges, just as the other Republican nominees say they would, and his worldview would doubtlessly inform his policies -- a universal, inescapable phenomenon.
Just because we must focus our attention on reversing our national financial free fall doesn't mean we have to abandon our traditional commitment to social conservatism, long reflected in the Republican platform. It doesn't mean we have to fecklessly surrender to the noxious notion that authentic, outspoken Christians are now a threat to religious liberty when in fact no other group is more committed to preserving it. It doesn't mean we have to roll over to this progressive trend to coarsen our culture and denigrate traditional values.
The Republican tent is plenty big enough for conservatives of all stripes -- and Libertarians -- but Reagan's three-legged stool of economic, national defense and social conservatism will topple if any of its legs is severed.
Leftists have succeeded in redefining many issues. Will we allow them to redefine us, as well?