Social conservatives continue to face significant struggles: the Gosnell trial, the pending Supreme Court rulings on California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, the contraception mandate, etc.
These events occur as the GOP wrestles with its identity after a devastating 2012 loss to a president with the dubious record of governing over the longest economic recovery since World War II. Some of the “populist libertarians," such as Ben Domenech of The Transom and Peter Suderman of Reason, argue that it’s time to move away from issues like gay marriage. Let the states decide, protect the churches with religious freedom clauses, and abandon the moral crusade.
Alternately, there's been a decline in public approval of late-term abortions with the discovery of Kermit Gosnell and many like him across the country. The House’s passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks, marks a movement against such killings, one that will only gain momentum over the next few generations.
As traditional conservatives continue to preserve the most important institutions of society and protect the rights of the vulnerable, it is important to remember to do it with compassion and love. Jim Antle wrote Monday about the emotional limits of legislating abortion in relation to rape, while Eric Teetsel proposed that conservatives win the marriage debate by wooing “the person across from us” by being “funny, self-effacing, merciful, and confident.”
Both articles promote the primary cardinal virtue of conservatives: prudence. Prudence shall help guide us to a nation of stronger families, faithful citizens, and limited government.
Most importantly, true conservatives, regardless of party, need to remember what Abraham Lincoln said to the Springfield Washington Temperance Society in 1842:
If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one.
Address every man as an “erring man to an erring brother.” A high goal for us all.