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Saturday, January 27, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 11:22 AM | permalink
Now we're onto the "debate" about Religious Conservatives. The title of this session was "Resolved: Religious Conservatives are Critical to Building a Republican Majority"

The debaters are Ralph Reed (one of the founders of Christian Coalition) and Ryan Sager, the author of The Elephant in the Room.

This is an interesting debate... not calling into question whether or not the Christian base is vital to our coalition (which Sager did not dispute) but rather trying to gauge what elements of the electorate we need to curry favor with. The most prominent issue was same sex marriage, not as a constituency... but as an issue that Sager believes will hurt us in the end.

Sager cites some very stark numbers about who we lost and by how much. Reed, in contrast, cited the absolute lock of activism we have among conservative Christians.

Sager says you have to look at the reality that the issue of homosexuality and immigration is that we don't like it. It's an ugly political reality. Reed counters and says that supporting marriage is not biggotry. Sager clarifies and says he's not saying bigotry.

Reed: People make moral choice with which we disagree because we are in a free society. It's not an issue of heterosexual. It's called America. All we are saying is that the institution should be preserved. The other thing is that we have a council of timidity and retreat. "If it's such a liability why the left has tried to get religion. If imitation is the highest form of flattery...." You can finish the sentence. It's a good argument.

Sager: One tactical point. The reality is that the more they do that the less we can use that as our one of our issues. (See Laura's comments from last night about a

Michael Novak, the moderator, had a great line: Conservatives come in all vintages.

Some quick videos:

First Ralph Reed:



Next, Mr. Sager:
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