Hillary Clinton’s nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention put a capstone on perhaps the worst political week for religious conservatives in living memory. It began a week ago at Republican convention, where one featured speaker mocked the “fake culture wars” and the thrice-married GOP nominee didn’t even deign to mention abortion and confined his support of religious liberty to the right of pastors to politic from the pulpit — hardly the most burning issue of our time. The hits kept coming as the Libertarian party’s Gary Johnson foreclosed the possibility of a meaningful protest vote by breaking with decades of libertarian orthodoxy to declare that religious freedom “as a category” is a “black hole.” His extended remarks are, in fact, mind-boggling: I mean under the guise of religious freedom, anybody can do anything. Back to Mormonism. Why shouldn’t somebody be able to shoot somebody else because their freedom of religion says that God has spoken to them and that they can shoot somebody dead?
There’s a word for this — idiotic. That’s the kind of reasoning one hears from freshman campus radicals, not from two-term former governors, and it betrays not only a complete history of centuries of religious-liberty jurisprudence but also a hostility to people of faith that’s simply breathtaking.
Honestly, it’s pitiful. Is the Christian conservative movement so weak and so insecure that it will throw away its vote so easily? A vote for Trump is a declaration of irrelevance, a declaration that Christian support is unconditional so long as one can argue that the other side is marginally worse. The cultural Left shows no such weakness. Not coincidentally, it is winning. The Christian Right would do well to learn from its opponents’ resolve.