There are some today who suggest that Christian conservatism as a political force is over.
Those who make this claim point to the fact that liberal Democrats now control the White House and both houses of congress, that the number of Americans self identifying as Democrats compared to Republicans has increased, that the direction of public opinion, particularly among young people, on social issues is liberal, and that the Republican Party itself has been divided over the conservative agenda.
But those who write off Christian conservatism as a political force have underestimated the driving compulsion behind traditional faith and American freedom.
Just looking at who is in power does not reveal the depth of division in the country today and for the reasons that the nation is so deeply divided, may I suggest that Christian conservatism will not only survive but will thrive.
For although the Pew Research Center reports that the partisan gap in approval for President Obama is the widest this gap has been in modern times with the difference between Democrat approval of Obama, 88 percent, and Republican approval, 27 percent, the "values" gap reflected in Pew and other studies is far too significant for some to suggest that conservative Christians take their voting rights home to be buried.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 76 percent of Republicans say that religion is an "important part" of their life, compared to 57 percent of Democrats. And 55 percent of Republicans go to religious services at least once per week compared to 34 percent of Democrats.
On particular "values" issues, according to Gallup, Republicans and Democrats are night and day.
Some 59 percent of Democrats say out of wedlock births are morally acceptable, compared to 39 percent of Republicans. And with recent data showing 40 percent out of wedlock birth rates, what if any public policy should regulate this behavior?
Abortion is morally acceptable to 51 percent of Democrats compared to 25 percent of Republicans. And with 48 million abortion deaths since Roe v Wade, should no political concern address the societal costs of this law?
Homosexuality is morally acceptable to 55 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans. And 52 percent of Democrats are ready to legalize same sex marriage compared to 22 percent of Republicans. We only need to look at 30 years of inner city data and see the impact of coupling government social engineering with unbridled sexual impulse.
Without a moral compass in politics and law, where do we go to answer the hard questions?
The Christian right has interjected itself into the political world because the political world came into their world.
The public schools that are educating the majority of America’s children have been increasingly secularized and politicized. The work place has been purged of biblical ethics. All public space is darkened by lawless and vulgar lasciviousness and becoming increasingly intolerant of practicing Christians.
The result is that secular Americans have had a disproportionate impact on our country over recent years and biblical Americans are now fighting back with their voting rights.
Abraham Lincoln said that a "house divided against itself cannot stand." He recognized that when points of contention have to do with basic values on common ground, we’ve got to decide who we are going to be. He knew the country couldn’t continue half slave and half free and would have to become all of one or all of the other.
The divisions in America today have gotten beyond the political class and the talking heads. It requires voting action to thread one worldview or the other into our rule of law and the Christian right has chosen the Republican Party as its needle.
America is in a crisis because the wrong people have been making the wrong decisions for too many years. Christian conservatives have an obligation to help lead America to it founding principles of traditional values and limited government. Christians must actively shape public policy in the country and inject our values into every part of our shared space.
So I would suggest that the naysayer put away their shovels because the religious right is not dead nor in a coma. Christian conservatives are not and never will withdraw. In fact, we are just getting started.
(Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org). She can be reached at parker(at)urbancure.org)