National Review: Pew Reports Gay Marriage Support Falling, Below 50%

The Pew Forum just released a fascinating new poll on religion in public life. Among the headlines: 72 percent of Americans say the influence of religion on politics is declining, and the vast majority of these people say that’s a bad thing. Most Americans do not want churches to endorse candidates for office, though support for the idea is growing, rising from 24 percent in August 2010 to 32 percent today. By a wide margin, Americans are more likely to see the Republican party (47 percent) as friendly to religion than they are the Democrats (29 percent), but it is noteworthy that less than half of Americans see the GOP as religion friendly.

The proportion of Americans who perceive the Obama administration as “unfriendly” to religion has jumped from 17 percent in 2009 to 29 percent today. Among Americans who are Republican or lean Republican, the proportion who now view Obama’s administration as hostile to religion has jumped 22 points, from 32 percent to 54 percent. But even among Democrats there has been a 4-percentage-point increase in those who perceive hostility to religion, and among black Protestants the increase is 7 percentage points.

To me the most surprising news in the poll is that 36 percent of American voters actually list “Birth Control” as among their top concerns. Between a stagnant paycheck, rising debt, and the Islamic State, don’t we have enough things to terrify us without making stuff up?

But the poll was also remarkable for showing a rather dramatic drop in support for gay marriage in one year, after years of uninterrupted rises. Do you favor “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally” is an imperfect question, but it does allow tracking across time. Overall support for gay marriage dropped from 54 percent to 49 percent.

Read the Full Article Here

NRO: No Wave for the GOP

Republicans need to fire the consultants who urge the party to mute social issues. 

The latest polls suggest the GOP now has only a 50–­50 chance of retaking the Senate.

There needs to be a mass layoff — of highly paid GOP consultants. Otherwise we risk a repeat of 2012, when overconfident Republicans in the middle of the worst economy since the 1970s became convinced that all they had to do to win was not be Obama. And they lost.

Romney’s strategy was simple. On the social issues, avoid, downplay, mute. On the economic issues, sound vague, promise to help job creators, and wait for the other team to self-destruct.

The RNC’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election reinforced the idea that doing more of what didn’t work would be the pathway to victory. If only we add more women and more diverse ethnicities to the GOP ticket while avoiding Akin-esque gaffes, we can win. “Don’t do stupid stuff,” while always good advice, is no more a winning strategy for the GOP than it is a foreign policy for a great nation.

It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove acknowledged that despite the horrible environment for Democrats “a GOP senate majority is still in doubt.” Why? The Architect is convinced that his model is sound — donors just need to open their wallets to the consultants to script more TV ads.

While Democrats are out-spending Republicans, and GOP donors should take notice and correct this, the relatively narrow spending gap would not make the difference in a wave election.

Take Monica Wehby’s struggling campaign in Oregon. The state is an outlier for Republicans today, so a Wehby victory there would represent a profound rejection of Democrats. Perhaps that is not to be expected. But she is the perfect test case for the RNC “autopsy” strategy: an attractive professional single mom who is pro-choice, and now pro–gay marriage. The Koch brothers have spent $1.6 million in TV ads, and yet Wehby’s poll numbers show she is losing ground. I think economic ads like this one are part of the reason why:

Read the Full Article Here

Maggie at Public Forum On Marriage and the State Next Week

Sept. 23: Public Forum on “The State and Marriage: Understanding Two Perspectives,” 7 p.m., Thomas Harrison Middle School

The Community Dialogue Project is a structured dialogue to present the community with two different perspectives on the law and public policy concerning marriage. The traditional position – that the legal definition of marriage should be restricted to unions of one man and one woman – will be presented by Maggie Gallagher, senior fellow with the American Principles Project. The view that the state should not distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual unions in defining marriage will be presented by James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. For more information, contact The Community Dialogue Project at CommunityDialogueProject@gmail.com.

Read the Original Post Here

Washington Times: “Women Problem” Not What the GOP Thinks

- – Monday, September 15, 2014

Two prominent GOP groups recently issued a report, based on eight focus groups and a poll of 800 registered female voters, on the GOP’s “women” problem. As usual, media accounts zeroed in like a laser on the question of abortion, and here, despite many strong points, the report suggests a variant of the so-called truce strategy. “Deal honestly with any disagreement,” the report recommends, “then move to other issues.”

In our critique of similar thinking by the Republican National Committee in its autopsy, “Building a Winning GOP Coalition,” we argued that this analysis of the abortion issue gets the political truth exactly backward: The more we run away from, or mute our voice on, the life issue, the less voters trust the GOP, the more Democrats are allowed to define the GOP brand on the life issue as “anti-woman,” and the fewer new voters we attract, especially among Hispanics and other new Americans.

As hard as it is to see from Washington, women’s problems with the GOP are not being driven by abortion. The May 2013 Gallup survey we cited in our report showed that when women were asked whether they favored making all or most abortions legal or illegal, the GOP’s overall position was preferred, 57 percent to 40 percent.

When we look at how women respond to the actual policy proposals that GOP candidates are making and defending on the campaign trail, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal to limit abortions at 20 weeks, or after five months of pregnancy, based on the child’s ability to feel pain, women favor the GOP’s position by a margin of 2 to 1 or more.

In fact, women favor a 20-week, five-month limit by even larger margins than men do, as The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake acknowledged in an article titled, “Guess Who Likes the GOP’s 20-Week Ban? Women.” Mr. Blake cites a Quinnipiac poll showing that 60 percent of women support the proposal, 10 points higher than men. Only 25 percent of women said they’d instead prefer a 24-week limit, giving the 20-week, five-month limit an incredible 35-point edge among women.

GOP candidates have a real opportunity to make the Democrats pay a political price for their increasing abortion extremism, positions that turn off women even more deeply than they do men.

So if it is not abortion, what is the GOP’s real problem with women?

A Crossroads GPS/American Action report takes steps to acknowledge what should be obvious — economic issues, not social issues — are driving women’s doubts about the GOP. When asked during the 2012 American National Election Survey whether the economy would be better if a Democrat or a Republican won, women picked Democrats 49 percent to 31 percent. Similar uncertainties about what electing Republicans would mean for their pocketbooks also drove the youth gap (51 percent to 27 percent) and the Hispanic vote (57 percent to 23 percent).

There are signs both Democrats and Republicans are now slowly beginning to understand that.

Read the Full Article Here

National Review: The New Infowars

Last week, Pope Francis became the first pope in history to do a Google Hangout.  He did so, the Vatican explained, because so much of young people’s time is now online that virtual reality becomes their reality.

And it’s not just kids anymore. Man has always been the symbolic animal. We live by and through symbolic representations of reality that create communal identities, direct communal action, and provide communal meaning. No other animal creates a flag, or dies for it. But the newly cheap but profound visual power of video, magnified by the availability of the Internet for mass transmission of cultural productions, is changing power dynamics.

If cultural power is the power to “name reality,” as James Davison Hunter pointed out, bad men are busily learning ways to manipulate our realities. That process, once called “propaganda,” has been amped up into infowars, at a whole new level.

Take Vladimir Putin, just for example. NATO’s chief military commander, General Philip Breedlove, just announced that Russia is waging “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.”

…But consider this, as well, when it comes to the new infowars:

With two Internet videos of two evil deeds in a world of evil deeds, the Islamic State has succeeded in getting inside the heads of the vast majority of American people, creating dramatic new fears among Walmart moms who are among the swing voters in the next election. With two murders and two obscene Internet videos, terrorists prompted a prime-time address by a president who clearly prefers publicly to downplay and downgrade the threat that jihadist terror poses to American national security. (Unlike most of my readers, I am not sure he is entirely wrong about that, even though I think the president was wrong to withdraw from Iraq, and to conduct foreign policy by poll, but that’s a topic for another day). In a different era, there is no way that killing two American journalists, however gruesomely, could potentially affect an American election and change American foreign policy.

Read the Full Article at the National Review Online

Washington Times Covers Catholics in the Public Square Event

The Washington Times covered the recent “Catholics in the Public Square” event held in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Maggie Gallagher’s discussion on defending traditional marriage:

Maggie Gallagher, senior fellow of the American Principles Project and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, focused her talk on the national discourse promoting “gay marriage” and its threat to religious freedom.

“Marriage is a universal, human, social institution and exists in virtually every known human society,” Gallagher said. Nevertheless, Americans are being asked to “accept the basic untruth” that “gay marriage” and traditional marriage are the same thing.

“We are seeing an unprecedented effort to enact their world point of view. You are like a racist if you oppose gay marriage, and the tools that are available both in government and in applied society to oppress racism are now going to be directed at people who stand with the Catholic faith.”

At the conclusion of her talk, Gallagher spoke of the recent string of victories in favor of “gay marriage” in the court system.

“The big question on the table is if the Supreme Court rules that ‘gay marriage’ comes to all 50 states, is that going to be, as our opponents hope, the Brown v. Board of Education of America or will it be the Roe v. Wade? The answer is up to you.

Read the Full Article at the Washington Times

Meghan Trainor and Fifties’ Sass Feminism

A reader of my essay on Beyonce and Taylor Swift points me to a breakout new young singer songwriter, Meghan Trainor, whose first hit “I’m All About That Bass” has had almost as many views (48 million and counting) as Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.”

Her latest release “To My Future Husband” is a long list of demands that he treat her “like a lady.”

Interesting it’s making a connection out there.

National Review: Beyoncé and Taylor Swift as the New Good Girls

I was reading a recently published study, “Good Girls: Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus,” by Elizabeth A. Armstrong and colleagues in Social Psychology Quarterly.

It was based on a longitudinal study of 53 women who enrolled at a Midwest university in 2004.

“Slut discourse was ubiquitous among the women we studied,” these scholars found, though interestingly they say the label was fluid, shifting around rather than attaching permanently to a particular woman or set of women.

Instead these mostly sexually experienced, typical American college women used “slut discourse” to define “their virtue against real or imagined bad girls.” I am not like one of those girls, in other words. Nonetheless, “women feared public exposure as sluts. Virtually all expressed a desire to avoid a ‘bad reputation.’”

One of the things girls and young women have to negotiate in the way we live now is the pervasiveness of raunch and the absence of rules. Nobody knows how much sex it takes to turn you into a “slut,” a state of affairs that, while it can be anxiety-provoking, also allows women to have quite a lot of it while still retaining their own self-image as good girls.

I thought of that study, and of the anxieties young women navigate, while watching the twin performances at MTV’s Video Music Awards (via YouTube, naturally) of Queen Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

These two have had a curiously entwined history, for performers so different, what with Beyoncé graciously stepping in to share her spotlight with the young Taylor Swift in 2009, after Kanye West dissed Swift for beating out Beyoncé in the best-female-video category.

Camille Paglia actually compared Swift unfavorably to Beyoncé in a 2012 column, which accused Swift’s “bleached out” persona of “ruining women.”

For a woman scarcely a quarter century in age, Swift has been a lightning rod for a remarkable amount of criticism, ranging from the Village Voice’s criticism of her “traditional femininity” to the vile Westboro pretending-to-be-Baptist church’s protests of Taylor Swift as “the whorish face of doomed America.” Her dating life somehow came to be the subject of national gossip, because, well, she would go out with a guy for a year and then break up with him and get another boyfriend, stay with him for a year and break up. She was 22 at the time these shocking accusations started rocketing through cyberspace.

The irony of trying to slut-shame Taylor Swift is that not only is she a fine songwriter and performer, she is the ultimate nice girl.

Read the Full Article Here

NRO: The Normalization of ‘Spiritually Polygamous’ Marriages

A Utah judge bizarrely casts opposition to polygamy as racist.

Judge Clark Waddoups, in striking down Utah’s ban on “spiritual” polygamous marriages, noted that the Republican party was founded with the goal of eliminating the “twin relics of barbarism” — slavery and polygamy.

He didn’t mean it as a compliment to the GOP.

Waddoups, appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2008, is clearly deeply hostile to laws that limit marriage to monogamous couples. Laws against polygamy are not just wrong, they are also racist, he writes in his ruling.

Why, he asks, did the United States oppose polygamy so fiercely that it hounded Utah Mormons into abandoning the practice as a condition of statehood? Using Edward Said’s work as a conceptual framework, Waddoups answers:

19th-century hostility to polygamy was based, in part, on polygamy’s association with non-white races. As the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Reynolds v. United States, “Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people.”

When he notes that the Republican party was founded in opposition to slavery and polygamy, he doesn’t see in that pairing the irony of his casting moral opposition to polygamy as racism.

Read the Full Article At the National Review

Maggie at Religious Liberty Event in Phoenix, September 6

The Catholic Sun reports that Maggie Gallagher is attending the “Catholics in the Public Square” event held by the Phoenix Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Knights of Columbus.  From the article:

With the general election little more than 60 days away, those who want to be informed about their civic responsibilities as Catholics won’t want to miss the upcoming “Catholics in the Public Square” event in downtown Phoenix Sept. 6.

Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the public policy arm for the Catholic dioceses of Arizona, said the biannual event has drawn a capacity crowd each time it’s been held.

“It’s a really good time to reflect upon what it means to be Catholic and the issues that are most important to us,” Johnson said.

The Phoenix Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Knights of Columbus are hosting the event, which features Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica followed by a program at the Diocesan Pastoral Center with big-name speakers. This year’s lineup includes Alan Sears, president of the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Maggie Gallagher, senior fellow of the American Principles Project and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage.

Ongoing threats to religious liberty and the upholding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman are two concerns the U.S. bishops have addressed repeatedly. Sears and Gallagher are expected to address both, as well as other issues, in their presentations. John Garcia, public relations director for the Knights of Columbus of Arizona, said religious liberty is a top concern of the Knights.

Read the Full Article Here