As a Christian with a divinity degree and about to begin doctoral work at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, I can offer one bit of insight about the conservative divide Andrew Sullivan cites (“Crisis of Faith,” May 2&9). The problem is that “conservative” Christians have no idea what it means to be conservative Christians. Jesus taught that we who follow Him will “bring good news to the poor, release to the captive,” and relief for the diseased — we are instruments of mercy among the poor, suffering, and marginalized. The Gospel of Christ is absolutely radical. Denying the children of illegal immigrants necessary social services, waging retaliatory war, ignoring the poor, providing medical care based on ability to pay, homophobia, sexism, and classism are not remotely Christian, “conservative” or otherwise.Just look at what's going on in Ohio. And recall that in a Wall Street Journal (note: right-wing paper) poll, concerning the question "When it comes to social and moral issues facing the country, do you think that the federal government should generally be more active or less active?," it was an overwhelming 54/35 siding with "Should be less active."
However, if you're rooting for the demise of the GOP, than I suppose you'd want them to continue doing what they're doing (i.e ignoring the wishes of the general public). But make no mistake, Rove & Co. realize that the hardcore right-wing Christians et al turn out big time to vote, whereas the "general public" is much more lax in this regard. So they will consider these poll figures but always view them in light of voting tendencies, throwing their zealots necessary red meat, etc. -- a balancing act.
Currently, this matter is causing some real friction within the GOP as the religious right faction is demanding more and more say and influence and yet more moderate factions are beginning to draw lines in the sand. Strap in, it's going to be fun!