Hugh Hewitt has posted the next subject of his Vox Blogoli here and I think I'll give it a try.
Hugh invites "comments on (following) passage, what it says about the author (Jonathon Rauch), The Atlantic, and the left's understanding of the Christian culture in America in 2005."
“On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.”
First, I find it odd that Rauch seemingly puts "social peace" and the happiness of activists as a priority for America's political parties over winning elections, improving America, defending America's citizens, etc. Maybe this is why the Democrats have been losing elections. They're too caught up in pleasing loud activists and not reaching out to people who comprise large percentages of our nation's population.
Second, why should "fierce activists" be engaged? Rauch would probably argue that this engagement would lead to less violence but I think that treating the opinions and views of people who use violence to gain attention as if they were worthy of engagement is much more dangerous. Doesn't treating people who aren't afraid of using violent force as if they were "mainstream" make violence and its use for political gain seem more "mainstream?"
Third, Rauch's treatment of religious conservatives makes you wonder if he actually knows anyone who is a religious conservative. The label of "insurgent" whether intentional or a slip of the pen shows how he truly views religious conservatives. Does he actually think that if Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback (or any other Christian conservative) weren't in politics, they'd be mixing up a concoction to blow up a local Planned Parenthood? Or would he think it better for "social peace" if Paul Hill, James Kopp, and Eric Rudolph wrote the Republican Party's abortion policy? Countless Christians work on the outside of our political system for various causes and aren't what anyone would consider "insurgents" or "provocateurs."
Rauch and others on the Left seem more comfortable pigeon-holing Christians into the category of intolerant extremists instead of actually trying to understand our views and why we hold them and then possibly engaging our arguments. Most Christians conservatives aren't against gay marriage because they are homophobic but because they believe that marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman. Christians conservatives don't want to make abortion illegal because they want to keep women barefoot and pregnant but because they the recognize that the unborn are living human beings who deserve protection.
In recent years, the Left for the most part has chosen to either ignore these views or only pay lip service to them. This treatment and lack of understanding (or even attempts at understading) of these views will only continue to hurt them come election time.