By Derick Dickens
In the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the phrase “War on Women” became a national campaign. Used to attack those with traditional views on marriage and abortion, these attacks became more refined in the recent gubernatorial elections in New Jersey against Chris Christie and Virginia against Ken Cuccinelli. They found the most success against Ken Cuccinelli.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “…special interest-group… claimed [Ken Cuccinelli] was ‘too extreme’…. Democratic Terry McAuliffe and his allies told Virginia women that Mr. Cuccinelli would take away their right to an abortion, to contraception, to health clinics” (Strassel, Kimberly. November 8, 2013).
With the loss of Ken Cuccinelli, Republicans are looking to combat the “War on Women” attack. For some in the Republican Party there seems to be a growing movement to downplay the social issues. Cuccinelli, after all, lost the female vote by only getting 37% of the 30-44 year old demographic. Some conclude the social issues are a losing proposition.
While traditional social issues are unpopular, social conservatives would be wrong if they ran away from them. In comparing Christie against Cuccinelli, The Wall Street Journal’s solution in fighting the “War on Women” attack is not to surrender, but to be bolder.
The Wall Street Journal noted, “For one, the New Jersey Governor didn’t duck. ‘I’m pro-life,’ he said in 2011…. ‘That’s my position, take it or leave it.’”
While The Wall Street Journal noted some exceptions by Christie and some “political realities” forcing him to backpedal on the homosexual agenda, they also highlighted how Christie was able to combat the “War on Women” political attacks by being bold and showing he had nothing to hide. Even in the very strong left leaning state, Christie was able to win in a landslide.
On the other hand, Cuccinelli attempted to avoid these issues and solely focused on other issues. His state is more socially conservative, but avoiding these issues caused many to further question his integrity and honesty on his positions. The weak manner only caused some to fall for the stereotype, “he’s too extreme” and “he has a covert war on women.” Avoiding the issue only harmed Cuccinelli and caused more doubts about his candidacy.
This is a lesson for Christians as we engage the world with a Christian worldview. While the culture seems to be moving away from our views on marriage, life, and the role of men and women, we should not retreat. Rather, we should wisely express our views, be open about them, and don’t let our silence give them reason to assume the worst. Our views may be unpopular, but they are more unpopular if the public believes we are hiding something.
But let us also be forthright on the real war on women. The real war is not taking place in a culture because some want to limit abortion or believe in the sanctity of marriage. The war began with the evil serpent tempting Eve and can only end with the Gospel.
As Christians, let us be winsomely bold and wisely engaging. While we may have to work on being wise in addressing issues that are unpopular, we should not run away from issues either. Winsomely and wisely we should boldly stand upon God’s Word. Hiding our beliefs will only cause more problems.
Derick Dickens has an MBA in Leadership, MDiv, and MA in Religion. He speaks regularly on topics ranging from Christian Worldview issues to business leadership, and he is a Professor of Business and Human Resources. Married for 15 years to his wife Lacie, they have three children and live in Lynchburg Virginia. You can follow Derick on Twitter at twitter.com/derickdickens.
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