By DAVID FRENCH, April 3, 2019 National Review
Religious belief isn’t incompatible with public service.
Wisconsin supreme-court candidate Brian Hagedorn was supposed to lose. He was running in a state that had just ousted Governor Scott Walker. A year ago, a liberal supreme-court candidate had won her race by almost twelve points. And to make matters worse, the media had labeled Hagedorn as a bigot, a Christian hater outside the Wisconsin mainstream. Business groups had abandoned him. One trade association had even demanded a return of its donation, claiming that his “issues” directly conflicted with the “values” of its members.
The headlines were brutal. On February 14, one in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Hagedorn had founded a Christian school that “allows bans on teachers, students, and parents in gay relationships.” In other words, his school — like thousands of other Christian schools — banned sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Its statement of faith included the entirely orthodox declaration that “Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church.”
On February 20, another Journal Sentinal headline contended that Hagedorn had been paid $3,000 for “speeches to legal organization dubbed hate group.” The “hate group” was my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom. And who “dubbed” it hateful? The discredited and scandal-ridden Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association revoked its endorsement. Other business groups sat out of the race. The narrative seemed set. Wisconsin was drifting back to blue, business groups capitulated to the cultural Left, and the conservative majority of the court would remain at 4–3, with another election set for next year, on the day of the Democratic primary.
But the narrative was set before the voters had their say. When business retreated, the grassroots advanced. “They picked up the slack,” as Wisconsin pro-life activist Colin O’Keefe told me. They “went nuclear,” in the words of another activist I talked to this morning. Yet another used more colorful language: “People were pissed.” READ the REST
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