With public opinion largely in favor of same-sex marriage and two landmark cases up before the Supreme Court, conservatives are wondering why their arguments against gay marriage don't seem to be working.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly surprised rank-and-file conservatives last week when he said that same-sex marriage advocates had a more "compelling argument" than their opponents, who haven't "been able to do anything but thump the Bible."
O'Reilly's comments touched a nerve with radio host Rush Limbaugh, who railed against the Fox News host, saying that he had "marginalized" the conservative Christians who watch "The O'Reilly Factor."
When O'Reilly had pundit Laura Ingraham onto his show Tuesday night, Ingraham argued that the term "bible-thumper" is dismissive and insulting to Christians with "deeply held religious beliefs about what traditional marriage is."
“I don’t think you really needed to say that,” she said.
"You are still saying that I insulted Christians who believe in the Bible. I did not," O'Reilly responded, raising his voice. "I was talking purely about policy."
"Then why did you use the word 'thump'?" Ingraham asked.
"Because that's the way you get it across!" O'Reilly said. "There are bible-thumpers and all they do is say, 'I object to gay marriage because God objects to it.' You don't win a policy debate in America with that. ... You are criticizing me tacitly for using the word 'thump the Bible,' which was an accurate description of what people [do]."
"I don't think it helps," Ingraham responded, conceding that social conservatives just need more time to articulate their beliefs. "All I'm saying is, give it some time to percolate. People will come up with better arguments. You're right, it has to be more broad-based."