Can the Religious Right Give Ted Cruz the Win?

But perhaps most important, the ideological foundation of the religious-right experiment has been exposed for the sham it always was. The movement’s pioneers once believed that if religious leaders and their constituents banded together, they could consolidate political power and leverage it to legislate a more moral agenda. But the cold hard truth is that religion is just not as influential in most Americans’ lives as it once was. Most churchgoers no longer follow a pastor’s advice blindly when told what candidate to vote for or which position to take on an issue. Americans do their own investigations and make up their own minds, often at variance with their spiritual leaders. The sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell confirmed this in their 2012 study of Americans’ religious attitudes. They concluded: “In effect, Americans (especially young Americans) who might otherwise attend religious services are saying, ‘Well, if religion is just about conservative politics, then I’m outta here.’”

A Call for American Evangelical Leaders to Confront Evangelicalism’s Lunatic Fringe

Every religious movement that grows sufficiently large has a lunatic fringe; extremists attach themselves to religious (and other) movements to gain respectability and a “voice”—to influence the movement and others through it.

.. Some, perhaps most, Christian Reconstructionists and promoters of Dominion Theology teach it is the duty of Christians, inspired and led by God, to “take back America for God” in a legal sense of enforcing even Old Testament commandments and especially traditional Christian ethical norms (as they interpret them) on America through political (broadly defined) power.

.. I hesitate to call it a “theology” as it seems more driven by power motives than by true interest in God.

What I Want GOP Candidates to Say about Marriage (which I help edit) asked 29 prominent social-conservative leaders a key question: Assuming the Supreme Court imposes gay marriage on all 50 states, how do you want GOP presidential candidates to respond? (The Social Conservative Insider Poll consists of Gary Bauer, Kim Bengard, Frank Cannon, Clint Cline, Steve Deace, Chuck Donovan, Erick Erickson, Michael Farris, Maggie Gallagher, Kathryn Lopez, Shannon McGinley, Eric Metaxas, Gaston Mooney, Frank Schubert, Alan Sears, Todd Starnes, Bob Vanderplaats, Bill Witchterman, Becky Norton-Dunlop, Penny Nance, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Tony Perkins, Ellen Barrosse, James Robison, Father Frank Pavone, James Dobson, David Barton, Marvin Olasky, and Charmaine Yoest.)

.. Here is what I want to hear:

“Today the Supreme Court ruled against our history and traditions that marriage must change its timeless and time-honored meaning in response to the latest liberal pressures. The Supreme Court is not God, and it is not the final word in our American Constitutional system: The Court, like all human things, sometimes get things wrong. It was wrong about slavery with Dred Scott. It was wrong about racism and segregation with Plessy v. Ferguson. It was wrong about the value of every human life with Roe v. Wade. And today it has gotten marriage wrong.

“For a reason, marriage across time and history has been the union of husband and wife: These are the unions we all depend on to make new life, and to connect our babies with the love of their mom and dad. You can rewrite the law, but you cannot rewrite human nature, or the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

“Today, I pledge that, if I am elected president, the move to redefine as discrimination Christianity and traditional beliefs on marriage — to redefine them as the equivalent of racism — ends. Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, but this same tolerance and respect must be extended to those who disagree with gay marriage. My first day in office I will issue an executive order preventing government from discriminating on the basis of a person’s commitment to the classic understanding of marriage. And within the first 100 days, we will pass legislation codifying that commitment to prevent government power from being used to silence the debate.