The Next Fight for Religious Freedom: The Pennsylvania Governor’s Race

By Maggie Gallagher Published on February 7, 2018

Scott Wagner is running for the GOP governor nomination in Pennsylvania. He poses as a “Trump” conservative. On some issues, maybe. But he cares nothing for the religious freedom of Christians.

How do we know that? Scott Wagner has personally sponsored a new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity bill. And he voted against including protection for religious freedom in it. Scott Wagner is one of the emerging group of “pro-gay rights” Republicans. If Wagner wins the nomination in Pennsylvania, expect Republicans to start voting for anti-religious liberty bills en masse.

Unless social conservatives flood the Pennsylvania governor’s race with new energy and new money, the battle for religious liberty is lost.

Dunkirk for American Christians?

Yes. I mean that, improbable as it sounds. We have one more shot to change the religious oppression unfolding before our eyes. And it’s in Pennsylvania in 2018.

Before you write me off as a crazy lady, let me explain.

The situation is bad for traditional Christians in America. The gay left is in the final stages of convincing the Republican party it must kill any legislation it dubs “discriminatory.” The gay left has a one-two punch: First, they control the messages the mushy middle hears. Then, they back this message-control with massive political contributions. In the first punch, Hollywood, Media, Madison Avenue, Big Sports, the Chamber of Commerce and Silicon Valley thunder their shock and awe campaign to punish Christian conservative leaders. In the second punch, the left then targets our weakened heroes with direct election money.

Unless social conservatives flood the Pennsylvania governor’s race with new energy and new money, the battle for religious liberty is lost.

What do social conservatives do in response? Stick with politics on the cheap, using tactics from the 1980s. Talk big, stand down and watch our heroes get defeated. If you doubt me, ask former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

Don’t Count on Trump or the Courts

Trump is preventing some of the worst abuses of religious liberty, but he will not be President forever. The Supreme Court may blunt some of the most oppressive ideas the Left pushes. But the Constitution won’t prevent shame campaigns recasting Christians as “bigots.” The Constitution will not prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to teach our children they must “choose” among 23 genders. The Constitution will not protect the nonprofit status of our charities, ministries, or schools from a Democrat-appointed IRS commissioner.

The next step will be government and corporate outing of a “closeted” Christian. Your bosses will ask you to affirm you are a gay ally. Your government will require foster parents to affirm to 8-year-olds that gay is good. (The former was recently tried by a bank. The latter has already happened in Great Britain.)

Trump is preventing some of the worst abuses of religious liberty, but he will not be President forever. The Supreme Court may blunt some of the most oppressive ideas the Left pushes. But the Constitution won’t prevent shame campaigns recasting Christians as “bigots”.

But for the Left to go this far, they need to shut down the GOP. To succeed, the left needs a Republican party unwilling to punch back to defend our rights. The gay left already controls the academy, “mainstream” media, celebrity cultures, and the Chamber of Commerce. The one thing it does not control is politics. Not totally. Not yet.

Off-year elections do not have the same national impact as presidential elections. The off-year elections test out political ideas in the real world. If we want the issue raised in the 2020 presidential election, we have to prove it’s a winning issue this year. If social conservatives fail to rise to the moment in 2018, the political door will close: the Republican party will fold and scurry for cover.

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Our Last Shot at Relevance

The Pennsylvania governor’s race is our one shot to prove that abandoning religious liberty is a losing issue for Republicans.

I recently made this case to some high-level Capitol Hill staffers who were Christian conservatives. “Even if we win,” one woman told me, “I don’t think the juggernaut will stop.”

Of course not. But a victory will recover an inch of territory. A loss will leave us in a six-foot hole. Proving we can win allows us to live to fight another day. Proving we don’t care enough to fight betrays our country, our families, and our faith. Are we sunshine patriots or not?

On May 15, in Pennsylvania, we will find out.

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