Guest Author - Stacy Wiegman
The relationship of the religious right with the Republican Party is awkward at times. While the party platform continues to endorse positions that the religious right support, it does so with a whisper.
For example, the position on abortion. This is often a pivotal position, and it doesn't need to be. The fact is that if Roe v. Wade were overturned by a subsequent case, abortion would not become nationally illegal. It would go back to the states to determine if it is legal within their borders. The Republican Party platform and the religious right have consistently opposed abortion rights.
Yet Republican candidates often try to have it both ways--they want the religious right's votes, but they also don't want to scare off moderates who may support abortion rights. That strategy does not really work because while moderates waver in their party support, the religious right does not, but if they don't like the Republican candidate, they'll just stay home on election day.
Many Republican candidates squirm in their seats when asked about subjects that are controversial. Taking a position is uncomfortable, but that's what the religious right expects a candidate to do. It's what the religious right demands of themselves as Christians, too. They're taught that being a Christian unequivocally means that you have to uphold Christian ideals, even if those ideals aren't socially popular at the moment. They know that what is socially popular changes, whereas Christian morals don't.
Christian principles are those of support for government, love and concern for others, living an honest life and working hard. Unfortunately, some on the left have warped the impression of Christians as people who oppose government and care only about themselves. What they don't understand is that Christians oppose the idea of "faith in government"--they believe in faith in God, with God as the provider, not the government as the provider.
What happens when society puts its faith in the government is what we see in Europe today--a largely socialist society with little charity work or charitable contributions. Also, most of the European governments are in serious debt due to the burden of the social programs.
So I don't think that Republican candidates need to shy away from courting the religious right or professing their Christian faith. I think we've seen enough of the result of chasing religion out of our politics.