The recent controversy surrounding Kim Davis in Kentucky should not be understood as a milestone in the struggle for religious liberty, but it does illustrate a dangerous, destructive tendency among too many conservatives. The problem with her fight was that she had no chance to win: there is no way, legally or politically, to stop Rowan County from issuing licenses for same-sex weddings.
The same mentality surrounded the doomed, foolish government shutdown nearly two years ago: with Obama as president, there was no chance of pressuring him to abandon Obamacare. A third example involves the recent push by some presidential candidates to end the long-established understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment regarding birthright citizenship. To do that, advocates must either amend the Constitution or dismantle the current Supreme Court—both impossible.
If conservatives keep staging unpopular fights they can’t conceivably win, the disillusioned grass roots will lose interest in fighting—and in conservatism.
It’s more important to do right than to feel self-righteous.