Yesterday I had the opportunity to address the thousands of men and women who came to Washington, D.C., for the March for Marriage. It was a very diverse audience. I finished my remarks by telling them, "I'm a Republican -- many of you I'm sure are Democrats -- I'm a Republican. Let me say to my party: If you bail out on this issue, I will leave the party and I will take as many people with me as I possibly can."
But the statements and actions of some Republican elites in recent days makes me wonder whether we are at the point where all options are on the table. If the party in which values voters have made their home is not willing to fight for our values, then what is the point of us fighting for that party?
The GOP is a coalition, a political marriage of economic conservatives, defense conservatives and social conservatives. But coalitions only work when each member knows that it is being taken seriously and that its cause is advancing.
Now some party elites are suggesting that we should be "welcoming and inclusive" to those who disagree with us on values issues. Why? Should the GOP welcome tax hikers and big government proponents too? Or is it just life and marriage that are to be sacrificed?
I am acutely aware of our debt crisis and the growth of big government and what they will do to America. But if we continue to lose on values -- religious liberty, the sanctity of life, what children are taught about right and wrong, the meaning of marriage -- it won't matter if we balance our fiscal budget. Our moral/virtue deficit will kill the American dream.
In fact, I would argue that if we lose these issues we won't balance the budget. A huge part of our fiscal crisis is the result of the breakdown of the family and the demand for more government programs and spending to clean up the resulting damage.
We will have lost the America our Founding Fathers created in 1776. They believed that our rights came from God, not government. They believed that only a moral, virtuous people could remain free. They believed in ordered liberty under God.
Anyone who thinks we need a "values truce," or who suggests we should toss aside life, liberty and marriage in order to deal with the "important" stuff, is missing the crisis that is plaguing America's urban centers and spreading rapidly -- the breakdown of the family. Nearly half of all children today are born to unwed mothers.
There is a moral dimension to marriage, and to suggest otherwise is simply absurd. But I would ask my libertarian friends this question: If the country can't get marriage right, why would such a country ever get the moral dimension of imposing debt on the next generation? If we can't comprehend the sanctity of life, why should we understand the virtue of balanced budgets?
For too many years the Republican Party has treated values issues as the caboose on the train and treated values voters as though they belonged on the back of the bus. My sense is that an increasing number of people are unwilling to give up their seats to party elites who demand they move. If they are pushed enough, they may abandon the GOP completely and look for another vehicle to advance their values.
Here's the bottom line as I see it: We've got one more round of congressional elections in 2014 and one more presidential battle in 2016. If we cannot come up with candidates for the House and the Senate who can make the case for family values and the sanctity of life, I believe we will have lost the country.
My friends, I am concerned, but I want you to know that I am not giving up. I have made a springtime resolution -- I am going to devote a significant amount of time each day to telling Republican leaders that they are on the verge of presiding over the dissolution of the Republican Party. If they are under the impression that they can replace faith-based values voters with enough feminists, gay rights activists or libertarians, then they must be smoking some of that medical marijuana.