The belief in individual autonomy, natural rights and the inherent worth of the scientific method -- i.e. the Enlightenment values at the core of our nation's founding documents -- have always coexisted uneasily with a subcultural stratum of religious fundamentalism....
Though all Republicans are by no means fellow-travelers of the Christian Coalition, the number of prominent Republicans who will stand up to the religious right is small and shrinking. The majority of elected Republicans either believe in the Family Research Council's vision of social transformation, or else are both too ambitious and cowardly to resist taking the party line. More importantly, perhaps, the Republican president is a member of his own religious base. His rejection of empiricism has both served as a tool for crafting policy and as a badge of honor, a signifier that he has "values," whereas things like evidence and rational justification are only for those who never had any morals in the first place.
Andrew Sullivan makes a related observation, pointing out that public Christian moralism appeals mainly to people who live in communities where morality has failed.
Those of us who already live decent, inclusive, tolerant lives have no need for sanctimonious politicians.