Okay, this is just one reason among many for the culture war, but it's an interesting one:
In the comments thread on Bill's post below commentators expressed some hesitation about my outraged comparison between a) requiring employers to make religious accommodations for Muslim checkout clerks who will not handle pizza that contains pork (even if it is wrapped) and b) not merely allowing but positively encouraging employers to fire pharmacists who will not dispense birth control pills and, indeed, requiring that all pharmacies dispense all legal drugs. The point made was that liberals consider it to be particularly important that birth control be made available.
Yes, that's true, they do. And presumably it is on that basis that they make it (or want to make it) a matter of the force of law that pharmacists must make birth control available, doctors must refer for abortions, pharmacists must dispense suicide prescriptions, etc. It's so particularly important that people get access to suicide drugs that pharmacists must not be allowed to opt out. People also should not have to look around a bit to find a counselor who is ideologically comfortable with affirming homosexual behavior. All counselors should be forced to do so as part of their training.
What is common to all of this? Just this: In all of these cases, the ideologically and morally charged nature of the activity demanded would seem by common sense to make it more understandable that people should be allowed to refuse to perform the service, dispense the drug, etc.
Common sense says that "booping" a shrink-wrapped pepperoni pizza over an electric eye is a trivial matter and that it is incredibly stupid to think that you are forbidden to do so. (In fact, small brief though I hold for Islam, I would imagine that there are even some Muslims who think this is a foolish and invented prohibition.) The clerk isn't even coming into contact with the pork. Nor are non-Muslims forbidden to eat pork, so the Muslim clerk isn't even, by his own premises, assisting the customer to do something wrong. The attempt to get out of ringing up the item thus, because of the triviality of the issue, seems plausibly to be merely a power play, an attempt (by someone, if only the people feeding "rules" to the checkout clerk) to get the stupid kuffar to show how much trouble they are willing to take to bow to alleged Muslim sensibilities.
Obviously, the issues of contraception, homosexual acts, suicide, and abortion do not fall even remotely into this same category. So why can't people be let off from participating in and enabling these things?
In our current climate, the reason is just this:
Liberal ideologues try to make the strength and universality of positive participation requirements directly proportional to the seriousness and controversial nature of the issue.
This virtually guarantees culture-war clashes, because it means that the more important some issue is, the more likely it is that people who take the view opposite to the liberal view will be forced to affirm, enable, and participate in activities that they regard as seriously wrong and even society-destroying.
It's even interesting to see the worked-up and implausible attempts to make this seem to make some sort of sense. Refusing to dispense birth control is somehow related to killing people, to licensing births, etc.? How's that again? Homosexual so-called "marriage" was just dreamed up a little while ago, but now people are just incredibly harmed if they can't have access to it and if everyone doesn't get with the program and treat it as normal. They might commit suicide if they aren't fully affirmed, so this is a matter of life and death. Then again, suicide drugs are a matter of life or death in rather another sense, but we'll find some way to break out the violins for the poor, poor people who are having trouble getting a doctor to write their suicide prescription. (Notice that this presumably means that the next step is requiring doctors to write the prescriptions.)
And so on. That all of this is just a transparent power play seems to pass many people by. The liberals themselves have had to hurry up over the last few decades, and now over the last few years, to get really outraged about all the new things they are dreaming up to force reluctant people to do. They're pretty good at it, though. But does no one among them (are there no real civil libertarians left anymore?) ever notice how artificial this is? This is the sheerest, most bare-knuckled, we're-in-charge-now-and-can-make-you-eat-dirt approach to governance. Yet, somehow, it's the conservatives who are accused of being divisive and creating the culture war. Just wait till next year and we'll see what else we have to do.
"Islam" means "submission." So, it seems, does leftism.