The GOP's Marry-Go-Round
Whoever declared an end to the marriage debate must not have consulted Republicans. While the media is busy eulogizing one of the hottest issues of the last 15 years, those who vote for GOP candidates are saying, "not so fast!" Turns out, pronouncing marriage dead is convenient -- but not credible.
Earlier this spring, FRC and American Values set out to gauge how the Republican base really feels about an issue that, until recently, was non-negotiable in the GOP. With help from Wilson Research Strategies, we asked a couple straightforward questions about the party's core values -- and what pollsters found might surprise you. Public opinion on marriage isn't the runaway train that liberals want you to believe it is. A whopping 82% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage "should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman."
And respondents didn't just agree with that statement -- 74% strongly agreed. What's more, they're tired of their elected leaders ignoring the issue -- or worse, pushing the party in the opposite direction. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents rejected the idea that "politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples" (with 67% strongly agreeing). That should be a wakeup call to the GOP Establishment, which, for the last few years, has thrown its weight behind some highly controversial candidates under the guise of "building a bigger tent." As far as the base is concerned, that's an incredibly short-sighted strategy that does more to divide the party than unite it. Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP continues to see marriage a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold it as the standard to stand for, encourage, and promote in law.
And our poll isn't the only one debunking the "inevitability" argument. Earlier this month, Rasmussen shocked people with a poll of both liberal and conservative voters that revealed the two sides were in a statistical dead heat -- with 43% opposed and 43% in favor of same-sex "marriage." Obviously the media, the Left's ring bearer in this debate, is a false measure of public opinion. Like too many moderate Republicans and cultural elites, the press is only seeing what it wants to see.
To anyone paying close attention, these results shouldn't come as a surprise -- especially considering what's taken place in recent months. Republican voters, like everyone else, have seen firsthand that redefining marriage is the greatest threat to our God-given rights to freely speak, worship, and work. It took the public shaming of Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich, Craig James, Dr. Angela McCaskill, and others, but Americans are starting to realize that marriage is about a whole lot more than two people who love each other. It's about conscience rights and religious liberty. It's about the ability to engage in the political process without fear of losing your livelihood. And it's about the great American tradition of faith, family, and time-honored traditions. Someone has to stand for those -- and thank goodness most conservatives still are.
At the IRS, Live and Lerner?
The IRS's Lois Lerner may be gone, but her agenda of intimidation isn't. On Monday, the agency competing with the Justice Department for "most corrupt office" in the Obama administration jumped ahead in the contest by revoking the nonprofit status of another conservative group. This time the target was the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty in Manassas, which caught the IRS's attention when it made critical statements of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
The IRS insists that the Center's action alerts violated the 501(c)(3) rules that bar tax-exempt groups from supporting or opposing candidates. Agents at the IRS took issue with one particular fundraising letter titled, "Stop Hillary Now!" which warned that her presidential priorities would be devastating to the country. In another laughable example, the IRS blasted the group for pointing out (in 2004) that John Kerry was trying to lure voters with lower gas prices. According to its letter to Gary Aldrich's group, the Patrick Henry Center "has shown a pattern of deliberate and consistent intervention in political campaigns" and made "repeated statements supporting or opposing various candidates by expressing its opinion of the respective candidate's character and qualifications."
If those two examples are a "pattern" of intervening in political campaigns, then it's time to reevaluate the IRS's guidelines for determining tax-exemption. Under that kind of scrutiny, almost no policy organization would qualify. Of course, this isn't just your garden-variety vetting process. Over the past few years, the IRS has engaged in the most vicious ideological censorship in American history, systematically silencing dozens (if not hundreds) of conservative groups. Now, despite being hauled before Congress and losing its disgraced ring-leader, it's obvious nothing at the IRS has changed.
Army Refuses to Retreat on NDP
It wasn't too many years ago that our military was distributing Bibles to soldiers. Now, that same Army has to defend its participation in the National Day of Prayer, an event that goes back to the height of the Cold War. Unfortunately, the military finds itself in the midst of another war, this one waged primarily by the Obama administration that has gone to great lengths to flush faith from the military.
Fortunately, the rising resistance to this politically correct agenda is finally having some effect, especially in the Army, where officials are standing their ground on May 1's National Day of Prayer. Despite the desperate attempts by Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon is refusing to pull out from its support of a prayer event established by Congress itself. In a demand letter, MRFF insists the celebration is a "private fundamentalist Christian religious event," and, as such, should bar the military from participating.
The Army disagrees. "In a statement," USA Today points out, "service officials said they would continue to provide numerous personnel for the event, including a chaplain to offer a 'prayer for the military,' an armed forces color guard, a brass quartet, and a vocalist for the national anthem." Unfortunately for the Foundation, it's yet another example of the group's dwindling influence in the Obama Pentagon.
For groups like FRC, which have been at the tip of the spear in the military religious liberty debate, the Army's response was not only a victory for religious freedom -- but for common sense. If anyone should be involved in the National Day of Prayer, it's the brave men and women who protect our right to hold one!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.