Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Did Republicans Lose the Culture War?

Several months ago the Politico published an article called: How Republicans Lost the Culture War. I have been thinking about it and although I think the author is very right that the “Culture War” is a loss and has been doomed for at least 5 years, I do, however, think he overstates his case. I know my thoughts might be controversial, and I would be happy to dialogue in the comments, just keep it civil. 

So here are my thoughts on the "Culture War" and what the future looks like from here: 

For the last three or so decades many in the Republican base have been motivated by what has been called the "Culture War." They have trained foot soldiers to engage the enemy, they have mobilized voters on key issues, and they have rallied their troops time and time again to "defeat evil." But despite all that, the culture war has been lost. Politico is just one example of a post-mortem of the war. Long standing warriors have told me that they are tired of it; millennials are refusing to fight; and we are constantly being told that history is against us.

But there is more to it than that.

The loss of the “culture war” doesn’t equal loss on issues like abortion. The pro-life position, even with the culture war faux pas, is gaining ground. Legislators and political activists are fumbling the ball, but the hearts and minds are moving our way.

Republicans are desperately trying to figure out birth control because Santorum walked it out in front of people and believes it is all wrong and Romney didn’t know what to say because he is a bit of a squish on the topic, but that doesn’t mean the GOP is going to lose on the issue of making everyone pay for abortions.

The Politico author appeals to the “march of history” to show that the GOP is doomed on social issues. The fact is that only works if you accept the progressive approach to history where everything is marching slowly toward their socialist utopia. But they don’t know history. The fact is that slavery, racism, acceptance of various sexual practices, and even abortion have come in and out of style (and law) over the centuries. Just because a “culture war” is lost, doesn’t mean that political choices are set in stone.

The reason I believe the “culture war” is lost is not because of unartful politics, it is lost because the “foot soldiers” think it is stupid. Most rank and file conservatives (especially conservative Christians) think that politics is the wrong way to change hearts and minds. Many, like me, reject the idea that they are supposed to be soldiers in a “culture war” and would rather focus on helping real, purhaps lost, people.

Young people today are more likely to want to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center than protest at an abortion clinic. Young people are more likely to try to show the unconditional love of Jesus with gay friends than try to outlaw their lifestyle. Young people have told me that they don’t want to be bullets in a “culture war.” They would rather lose the “war” than lose sight of their real goals, caring for people and sharing unconditional love.

In the end, the “culture war” is a failed project, but not because it was defeated politically, but because it was abandoned by those expected to fight it. Those who still are trying to keep it alive are out of touch.

Does the loss of the "culture war" mean that Christians, conservatives, and Republicans (three groups that I associate myself with), are giving up on making a difference in the culture? No, it just means that the culture isn't a battleground, it is a place where we must be salt and light, where truth must be spoken in love, and where hurting people are desperately in need of hope.

How do we translate this new phenomenon into a new political world? How do we end abortion in America and save lives? Conservative stalwart Morton Blackwell has said countless times,
"people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I think that applies to good laws. They wont be changed until people see that we care.

I believe that abortion will be abolished in my lifetime, but it wont be because we hate abortion doctors. It will be because people see that we love people and that includes both the baby waiting to be born and the mom struggling with life.

For a Christian, if there is a conflict, it is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, beyond this world. But what is hanging in the balance? Nothing less than the lives of those who need true, unconditional, empowering love. Seeing those lives changed by love is worth losing a dozen culture wars.

Post by Jeremiah Lorrig

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