Social Conservatives’ 2016 Plea: Double Down!

Presidential hopefuls and others urge the GOP not to surrender the culture war

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Justin Hayworth / AP

Former Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during the family leadership summit in Ames, Iowa Aug. 10, 2013.

Facing a generational divide that is sapping their relevance, a group of evangelical conservatives argued Saturday that they need to become even more vocal in their support for often unpopular social positions.

“Don’t agree with the establishment Republicans that we have to change our policies to be more like Democrats,” former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who finished the 2012 presidential campaign as the runner-up to Republican nominee Mitt Romney and is contemplating a 2016 campaign, instructed a group of evangelicals gathered in Ames, Iowa.

But echoing others who said aggressive Democratic political strategies are a model worth emulating for Republicans, Santorum added: “But we do need to change our tactics to be more like Democrats.”

The refrain was a common theme throughout a summit of hundreds of Iowa conservatives organized by the group FAMiLY Leader, featuring a range of activists and politicians, from Santorum and Texas Senator Ted Cruz to National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown.

(MORE: 2016 Starts Early in Iowa)

FAMiLY Leader president and CEO Bob Vander Plaats introduced the gathering as an opportunity for local activists to be “empowered” to follow the group’s mission of “leading with principle over politics.” Nearly all were united by the belief that Romney’s campaign shied away from the culture war to its own peril.

“We’re losing this debate not because of politics,” Santorum told the crowd in the half-filled auditorium at Iowa State University, in response to “establishment” Republicans calling on the party to moderate on social issues and, if nothing else, tone down the culture-war rhetoric. “Politics didn’t change the culture. The popular culture changed America.”

He added: “For us to sit here and think that somehow we’re going to win this country back politically when the culture continues to show your children when they watch that people like them are weird, people who hold their values are bigoted or hateful — it’s no wonder young people are overwhelmingly supporting the other side.”

Iowa Representative Steve King, best known for his outspoken opposition to immigration reform, echoed Santorum’s diagnosis.

“We have faithful Christians in this building today,” he told reporters after his remarks to the crowd. “They are good people. They have been told the meek shall inherit the earth all their life. And all they want to do is raise their families and go to work or run their business and live this wholesome life. That’s what it’s about. And now we have to tell them you’re not going to be able to continue to do that if you don’t step up and fight for the things you believe in.”

(MORE: Iowa Democrats Ready for Hillary)

Santorum, who recently became CEO of the “family-friendly” EchoLight Studios, lamented conservatives’ inability to get their message across in films and on television.

“In the last 100 years, the worst art has been coming out of the church,” he said. “You as Christians who want to see films, you have to see inferior productions to see something that reaffirms your values … I say to you, can’t we make God beautiful?”

King called on Republicans to embrace the principle of “righteous anger.”

“Christ didn’t walk into the Temple and go up to the money changers and say, I want to make sure I don’t hurt your feelings here … He made a whip and ran them out of the temple and dumped their tables over,” King said. “And it was a great example of righteous anger. He didn’t care about hurting their feelings.”

642 comments
Hermione
Hermione

I just have one word for these social conservatives and their agenda - ENOUGH!!!!

dectra
dectra

PLEASE run Santorum....or Cruz....or Randy Paul....


Hillary will kick them right to the gutter, where they belong.

programmer156
programmer156

Quote: '“We’re losing this debate not because of politics,” Santorum told the crowd in the half-filled auditorium at Iowa.'

Amazing how Republican leaders can overlook facts right under their nose.

glennra3
glennra3

This sure doesn't sound like the Buddy Christ.

anon76
anon76

Jesus also didn't go to the temple to write pro-money lender legislation, or tell parables about how the Jews should build walls to keep out the Samaritans.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

Rick Santorum as the GOP's voice of reason!!?? Jesus Christ!

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

-- Matthew 15:14

Emma2
Emma2

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MrObvious
MrObvious

Yes, double down. Purity leads to clarity. Clearly Americans love themselves the social conservative agenda. Where as liberals have to deal with NSA hiding in the bush, righties want to regulate your bush.

bobcn
bobcn

"We have faithful Christians in this building today...They have been told the meek shall inherit the earth all their life. And all they want to do is raise their families and go to work or run their business and live this wholesome life. That’s what it’s about. And now we have to tell them you’re not going to be able to continue to do that if you don’t step up and fight for the things you believe in.”

Thank you Rep. King for correcting Jesus.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

What concerns me the most is the that both parties are pushing this Amnesty Bill to be passed. Everyone should be very afraid of what's going to happen to our country over the next 40 years. Now I know liberals are excited because they will see 13 million new Democrats coming on board the mother ship, but I ask, at what cost? Does anyone know that 13 million times 4 is? That's 52 million people over the next 20-40 years that will be absorbed into our nation. Now does anyone think that there will be enough jobs for those 52 million? How about healthcare? How about education? Does anyone have any idea what wages will look like in 20-40 years? When corporations and politicians are both on the same side, it's everyone else who is going to get it in the back side. Be careful for what you wish, cause if they get their wish, we are all screwed..

JimmyJoe
JimmyJoe

These people can't even carry Iowa in an election.

TomPiper
TomPiper

If you want to understand where these people are coming from read up on Calvinism. While there are different Calvinist groups the commonest denominator is their belief in pre-destination. They believe that God has pre-determined those that will be shown mercy and are "saved" while all others are not chosen by God will not be receive God's mercy and are lost.


Of course they are the chosen. It explains how they can act seemingly un-Christian like behavior towards certain people because in essence they look down upon them as the depraved ones not chosen by God.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

My Jesus is not the violent angry Jesus which Rep. King believes in.

False_Believer
False_Believer

This is a pity because, love them or hate them, we need an effective opposition, and the GOP is currently the only thing out there with sufficient clout. They need to find their mojo, but they won't find it under the lamp post of sexual insecurity. They won't find it by being the party of the wealthy: there aren't enough of those to deliver a mandate. They won't find it by chasing the Democrats through the looking glass. However, they just might find it in the libertarian wing of their own party. Being a champion of the individual in the face of collectivism still resonates. The surveillance society is a very communistic concept -yes I know the GOP started it-but they could also be the ones to end it. Convert the Bluffdale facility into a cloud storage site for individuals and industry. Give us a real alternative to big government in all its mutations.

dectra
dectra

@glennra3 

Teabaggers are Psudo Christians.....They only spout the parts of teh Bible they like (and then choose to bludgeon everyone over the head with it). 

Too bad they can't Live like Christ rather than just misquoting him all the time....

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ahandout And? Last time I checked God does not run our government. If that is what you want Iran and Saudi Arabia are available.

anon76
anon76

@bobcn 

"The meek won't inherit anything if they're not willing to fight for it!"

-Abridged Rep. King

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@terryclifton1"When corporations and politicians are both on the same side, it's everyone else who is going to get it in the back side."

Since you're pretty much describing the entire "conservative" and centrist block of politicians, perhaps you should start voting for liberals (if you can find any). They're the only ones who aren't in bed with our corporate masters.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@terryclifton1 

Eh no

How about you opinion about what YOU think about what's going to happen to YOU. You have no foggiest idea what 'liberals' might think - that's evident from the many post about 'we liberals'.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@TomPiper 

It's a myopic, tribal mentality at its core.

What benefits the tribe is always good.

Anything that does not provide immediate benefit to the tribe, even if it doesn't negatively affect them in any way, is bad.

Members of the tribe are inherently good, while people who are not members of the tribe do not count as people at all.

It's rather strange to see such an attitude in modern day America.

ahandout
ahandout

@False_Believer Cloud Storage?  What do you think that the NSA facility is?  It's the ultimate cloud storage. 

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@shepherdwong @terryclifton1  

I'm describing all politicians from both parties. Both parties are in bed with big business and they both adore the military industrial complex, that's why we are still in Afghanistan and looking to jump into Syria, as soon as possible. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@MrObvious @terryclifton1 If he thinks he knows what liberals want, he'll be lost trying to figure out what moderates want.

The two party system makes idiots of both sides.

ahandout
ahandout

@RekkaRiley

@TomPiper Sorry, you have the wrong side wanting a tribe; that would be the left.

Francis Ford Coppola:

 My dream is that the artist class—people who have proven through their work that they are humanists and wish to push for what Aldous Huxley called the desirable human potentialities of intelligence, creativity and friendliness—will seize the instrument of technology and try to take humanity into a period of history in which we can reach for a utopia. Of course, it is possible for the technology to be misused—we could end up with a Big Brother—but we could also have a balanced society, with an artist class leading the culture toward something approximating a happy family or tribe. At the moment, the nation is in a fog, and we’ve got to put our headlights on. Artists—those who rely on their intuition—can be the nation’s headlights.

Thanks for playing.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@ahandout @Leftcoastrocky Primitive ideas from nomads living in the desert who couldn't even read and write.  That's your Hebrews from 1000 BC.  Surrounded by the high cultures of Egypt and Greece; they made up a culture.   

ahandout
ahandout

@terryclifton1 Liberals act like they are hard to understand and complicated, when all you have to do is post something against their beliefs and you get the same knee jerk reaction from them all.  The "hive" could not be a more appropriate name for this bunch.

ahandout
ahandout

@roknsteve @RekkaRiley  When I actually try and make sense of your poorly written drivel, I find that you are a dim wit who thinks he is an elitist.

programmer156
programmer156

@ahandout@RekkaRiley@TomPiperFrancis Ford Coppola is not the lefts spokesman and the political bodies on the left have not claimed that his ideas are the be all and end all of their ideas. 

So why quote  Francis Ford Coppola? And why claim that these are the left political groups ideas? Are you misinformed?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@ahandout @RekkaRiley

I was enlightening you to the fact the the left has it's own religion. 

A fantasy is a fantasy, regardless how real you imagine it might be.

ahandout
ahandout

@RekkaRiley   I was enlightening you to the fact the the left has it's own religion.  And, they constantly implement laws that force you to obey their obsessions.  Which party constantly passes laws that restrict freedoms?  The Democrats. 

You don't think it's any of your business if someone defrauds another because it doesn't DIRECTLY put you in danger?  Are you sure that you are a member of society?  Are you all alone on that  island?  

Big Government is in all ours lives.  You don't get to sit on the sidelines, like or not.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@RekkaRiley You better get used to the idea that your religion is primitive.  Do some research.  Made up by primitive nomads with no culture.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

I was talking about Calvinism, not right-wing politics.

Calm down.

Honestly, I don't think any extreme is healthy, be it right-wing or left-wing. We should all be working together to find PRACTICAL solutions to real-world problems, not tearing each other apart over issues of religion and culture. Religious conservatives have no more right to dictate how strangers live their lives than extreme left-wing fascists do.

Unless someone's personal choices are DIRECTLY responsible for putting me in danger, it is frankly none of my business. I do not believe that religious conservatives have the right to force their religious laws on everyone else. This has more to do with religion and culture than right vs. left.