Thanks to both John Tabin and Peter Suderman for their kind words about my Reason review. I’d be happy to respond to quibbles and other things I didn’t have the space to address in the review.
Suderman thinks I overstate the tensions between Christian conservatives and libertarians because some of my examples (such as that ideologically hard-to-pin-down man without a movement, Andrew Sullivan) are unrepresentative. But Sullivan and Ryan Sager aren’t the only authors of books assigning the religious right substantial blame for big-government conservatism. A lot of the popular libertarian commentary on, say, Rick Santorum reveals this tension, as does the Hit & Run comments thread about my Olree review.
I don’t disagree that the statism of religious conservatives is often exaggerated. I’ve been making that argument myself for quite some time. I’ve criticized specific religious conservatives for embracing big government, but I also rejected most of Sager’s criticisms of social conservatives in general in my AmSpec review of Elephant in the Room (not online). But polls of religious conservatives do show some government friendliness; politically active evangelical groups usually do support the morals laws Olree criticizes in his book; and groups like the Christian Coalition have debated moving left on some economic issues.
Finally, I’m not saying Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan aren’t responsible for their own anti-Christian comments. I’m merely arguing that politics and evangelism can come into conflict, causing some people to identify Christianity solely with the political objectives of the religious right. I talk about it a little bit in my column about Jerry Falwell this week. (Sorry to bombard with links, but I figured it would take up less space.)