Religious fundamentalists really really want to take the bible literally. Unfortunately it has a whole variety of fables and contradictions that render the task impossible. Science continues to add more fuel to the arguments first made by intellectuals during the enlightenment period.
We find ourselves in America living amongst a group of people who desperately want to simplify the whole problem. They want human behavior to be easily divided between good and bad. They need to take the bible literally. Homosexuals are of course all bad. Hollywood actors are all bad. Women who abort fetuses are … murderers.
Ambiguity and areas of gray don't play well on conservative talk radio. Listeners like absolutes, just like bible followers. A cultural war is a good thing if you believe you have God on your side. Talk radio constantly asserts that "liberals" are morally corrupt. Every Republican candidate now vies to be the most Christian (moral). It becomes like a game: who can denounce evolution with the greatest vigor; who can denounce the libertine Hollywood culture most strongly; and who stands for the protection of the life of a fetus under all circumstances.
This contest naturally leads to a number of candidates making statements that are insulting, absurd or damaging to groups of people who get caught in the crossfire.
There is no war on women in particular. They just kind of get in the way sometimes when it comes to protecting a fetus. Gays, scientists, intellectuals, and Hollywood directors are also casualties because they too are on the side of Beelzebub. The rhetoric attracts [mainly] men who would be quite happy in a theocracy where heretics and their books are burned. Their followers do not judge them by modern or scientific standards. Democratic polemicists get sucked into the game by trying to argue that all Republicans take an immoral position with regard to the poor.
Policy questions can always be moral. This mentality is able to defend positions or programs that have no record of success and no support from the academic community. Reducing our defense budget is immoral. Taxing our highest earners above the current rate is also immoral. Cutting Medicare or Medicaid by even $1.00 is appalling.
The front page of the Sunday New York Times shows a picture of a six year old girl who may be deported because her family came here illegally. Apparently having a normal immigration policy is also immoral. As much as the media may say they dislike the replacement of policy discussions with nonsense, they all know that an emotional argument sells more of ads than data.
It also wins more voters.