On the heels of an extensive victory at the ballot box in November, conservatives can’t stay united past January. National-virtue social conservatives’ eruption at the organizers of CPAC over their accommodation of a gay-advocacy group was inevitable. And so these social conservatives continue their longstanding pursuit of ineffective strategies to achieve their goals.
Many social conservatives dedicate themselves to national-virtue issues. Like liberal virtue-politicians, they want Washington to be in the virtue business. For example, such conservatives pursue family-friendly legislation and federal support of faith-based initiatives. Simultaneously, liberals pursue compulsory sex-education for six-year-olds and banning the ordinary light bulb.
So, these social conservatives believe their task is to win national battles for their virtues, to be implemented by Washington.
This despite that fact that the U.S. Constitution never empowered the federal government to define and enforce the personal virtues of Americans—quite the opposite, the Bill of Rights reserves personal virtue to Americans themselves and their local governances. This is particularly true of religious liberty, which jealously encompasses personal virtues.
This despite the fact that, for Christian social conservatives seeking righteousness for America, the Bible teaches that righteousness is only through Christ. Pursuing “national righteousness” through legalistic “better behavior”? That is a deeply inadequate rendering of the Good News of Jesus Christ and has helped forge a deeply damaging caricature of authentic Christianity. No, the route to true righteousness is making disciples of Jesus, one-by-one.
The truth is that social conservatives’ political successes nationally have been dwarfed by the successes of their adversaries. The social conservatives’ fund-raising letters say as much, constantly spreading the alarm of the never-ending successes of liberal secularists.
Social conservatives should have adopted the position decades ago that Washington should never be involved in virtue cram-downs of any profile (theirs or others’) and should have fought for freedom from Washington’s relentless efforts to define and deliver its vision of “virtues.”