Friday, August 19, 2011

The abortion "right" and political polarization

David French on how abortion changed American politics:
.... It’s no secret that American politics are polarized, and as one political party is increasingly identified by faith, the other is increasingly secular. In the last several election cycles, church attendance has been a leading indicator of voting preference. The more often a person goes to church, the more likely they are to vote Republican. The less often they attend, the more likely they are to vote Democratic.

This is a terrible development for faith in America. Even worse, it is unlikely to change. The combination of faith identification and party identification has created a profound barrier not just to dialogue but also to basic civility. The famous “Jesusland” meme created after the 2004 election is just one manifestation of the contempt generated by the political and religious polarization. ....

Why will this religious/political polarization persist? One word: abortion. While there is no single theologically orthodox position across a wide range of public policy questions — from taxation, to war, to entitlements, to welfare — it is profoundly difficult for theologically orthodox Catholics, evangelicals, and Mormons to support the legal killing of unborn children. So long as one political party uncompromisingly supports that “right,” faithful Americans will flee its ranks. Not all, to be sure. But most. And the more they flee the Democratic Party, the more the Democrats harden their position.

Ever since the Democratic Party banned then-Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey from delivering a pro-life message at the 1992 Democratic convention, the message has been clear: Pro-life Democrats are well outside the party’s mainstream. ....
How abortion frames conservative politics - Guest Voices - The Washington Post