I think we seem that way from the outside. From the inside, it looks like one extremely vocal strain of Christianity has taken over the public discourse. That in itself leads us away from solving actual problems, and the public debate gets redirected to who marries who, whether women can exercise control of their own bodies, and increasingly (and most sadly) whether or not people who are not pale derivatives of the paleo-humans actually count as people.
For myself, all these issues are a distraction that is (perhaps) designed to keep the wealthy in possession of the cash and the rest struggling to have a life while making a living.
This is an excellent summary of what is going on for all Americans. The reality is that there are thousands of different perspectives when it comes to a myriad of social issues. But are these really the types of discussions warranted for the national stage, in the midst of such adverse economic times? But I'm not simply making commentary about the religious right - but also about those at the opposite end of the spectrum - who have political views driven by social issues such as LGBT rights, racial issues, gender issues, etc. Granted, all these issues are very, very important - but social issues should not be driving the decisions that ultimately determine our economic future.
As CaughtByMoonlight says, I would not be surprised if this media and cultural fixation with social issues mixed with politics is simply a way to engage the vast majority of Americans in the political process - who may otherwise be very ignorant or disinterested in actual political discourse (economics, foreign affairs, etc.)
It's much easier to engage a 19-year-old kid in the political process through "politicized" social campaigns, rather than meaningful political discourse. For example, getting this demographic to slap a picture of an "equals" sign on their Facebook profile picture is an easy way for the Democratic party to galvanize support among its otherwise 'less-politically-inclined' target demographic, for its political and economic intentions. On the same token, church preachers who warn attendants about "the government's attack on religion" is a way for the Republican party to galvanize support among its otherwise 'less-politically-inclined' target demographic.Disclaimer
: Please don't get me wrong, all these social equality campaigns for racial, LGBT, and gender rights are very important. I am simply making a remark about the forced politicization of these issues on the national stage, rather than as a non-political, purely social change.