The reason that social conservatism is getting rejected is because the people that limited government appeals to don’t want the same government dictating their sex life or what substances they put in their body.
On the other issues, we definitely need to protect Christians and other religions from persecution. Persecution is definitely what preventing nativity scenes is, and what preventing Christians from praying is.
God gave us free will, though, and people will have to answer for their sins, but the government can’t and shouldn’t legislate it. We will lose every single other issue if we keep social conservatism on the ballot.
In many cases, like with the war on drugs, the drugs are what cause the poverty and the violence in minority communities that drive them to government dependence. If drugs were legalized, we could keep the people using them out of society.
Bring up gay marriage with any group of young people and you will have a 20 minute conversation before you can get back to a real issue, like the economy.
It boils down to the fact that we honestly can’t come up with one reason they will agree with that they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. They either believe that Jesus accepts all people and judge us on our character only (a healthy belief, I think) or they don’t believe in God at all.
We could have connected with these young people on economic issues; things have never been worse for them, but instead, they won’t even listen past the gay marriage issue.
We can end this war on women nonsense with socially conservative values, however. For instance, we can punish fathers who abandon their children with higher child support payments and we can set up a national program to bring child support evaders to justice and play a part in helping single mothers.
We could probably get sin taxes on abortion. Abortion is damaging the economy in a large way because it is preventing us from paying for social security and medicare, and the taxes could go to help pay for those programs.
I wish that we didn’t have to go down this route to win elections, but I don’t see any other way unless you can somehow convince a majority that gay marriage is wrong and immoral.