The religious right: Reconsidering democracy?
Anguished by their defeats in the culture wars, some religious conservatives are beginning to wonder “whether liberal democracy’s time has passed,” saidAdam Serwer in TheAtlantic.com. In a recent article in the religious journal First Things, Catholic writer Sohrab Ahmari bluntly accuses libertarian-leaning conservatives of enabling liberals’ degradation of American society. Too many conservative intellectuals, Ahmari argues, have passively accepted the Left’s victories on issues such as same-sex marriage and transgender rights out of a misguided concern over “civility” and individual liberty—leaving the Christian-based moral order teetering on the edge of total destruction. Conservatives must “fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy,” he writes, imposing their worldview on the country by any means necessary, so as to serve “the Highest Good.”
Ahmari has a point, said Ben Domenech in TheFederalist.com. Progressives are “bent on utter and total destruction of everything American Christians hold dear,” including even their right to express their “offensive views” in public. It’s time for social conservatives to accept that “we have reached a point in America where politeness and decency is no longer the best approach to politics.” That’s why so many Christians have embraced Trump’s “more brutal approach” to politics. Sorry, but if conservatives go down this path, they’re just as bad “as the leftists they disdain,” said Steven Greenhut in Reason.com. Ahmari doesn’t say exactly how he would impose his vision of morality on the country. But “one needn’t take too many leaps to see where this populist-religious conservatism is headed.”
I’m flummoxed by this debate, said Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times. Conservatives control the presidency, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, and Trump is installing dozens of far-right Christian judges in federal courts. Nevertheless, social conservatives “feel apocalyptically embattled.” It’s worth noting that Ahmari started this debate after being triggered by an advertisement for a Drag Queen Story Hour for children at a public library—an event he called “demonic.” Do Christians really face an existential threat because drag queens are no longer universally reviled? What really infuriates Ahmari and people like him is that he now has to live in a society where his social and religious views no longer dictate how other people live. “When one is accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”