Even some of the nation's most prominent culture-warriors seem to be getting the message. The country has changed, and if the religious right doesn't change with it, they may wind up stuck out in the electoral wilderness for all time to come.
A case in point: Jim Daly, the current head of Focus on the Family, who has read the tea leaves of the 2012 election and is calling for a change in focus (pardon the pun) going forward, this despite the fact that FOTF worked hard to prevent Obama from being re-elected.
In the aftermath of the election, however, Daly is willing to say things that few conservative evangelical leaders are likely to say. He believes, for instance, that the Christian right lost the fight against same-sex marriage in four states in part because it is on the losing side of a cultural paradigm. He says the evangelical community should have been considering immigration reform years ago, “but we were led more by political-think than church-think.”He also believes that evangelicals may have become too entwined with the Republican Party.
“If the Christian message has been too wrapped around the axle of the Republican Party, then a) that's our fault, and b) we've got to rethink that,” he said in a telephone interview, which followed a preelection interview in his office in Colorado Springs, Colo.Needless to say, this has not set well with many in the evangelical community.
But Daly, who exudes preternatural cheerfulness, said he believes that evangelicals need to win over friends, not make more enemies, and that the results of the election underlined the need to reach out to people with whom they have disagreements — including Obama — and seek common ground.He goes on to say:
“Maybe we've been looking in the wrong direction and we've got to be more ecumenical,” he said. For years, he said, evangelical conservatives were content to persuade the Republican Party to adopt their principles on social issues.Daly concedes that the nation's demographics are not in their favor, that young people's attitudes towards marriage equality in particular do not bode well for the traditional-marriage crowd going forward.
“I guess that's all good, except when you don't win elections,” he said. He added: “I think what we've got to do in the Christian community is be far more humble ... and not call it a war, a culture war.”
The Los Angeles Times article ends on this conciliatory note:
He also said it would behoove conservatives to forge a working relationship with the Obama administration, which he said he tried to do in the president’s first term, most prominently by taking part in the president's efforts to combat fatherlessness, and encourage more two-parent families. Daly said that he and Obama share the experience of growing up without a father, and he hoped to continue working on the issue during Obama’s second term.I guess we see who met his Waterloo in the 2012 election, Senator DeMint. And it wasn't President Obama.
“Frankly, after the election, I felt sorry for President Obama in one respect: He's got a tough job,” Daly said. “We need to pray for him, as the Christian community. I mean ... I think President Obama needs divine guidance.” He stressed that he did not mean that in a condescending or sarcastic way.
“I'd say the same thing about Mitt Romney,” he said. About Obama, he added: “We have these differences and they're deep, but in reality, he's simply a human being. ... If a Christian holds that back and he or she isn't willing to pray in that way, they're not living a Christian life in that regard. If hatred or anger has built up to that level, then they're missing the Gospel of Christ.”