C. S. Lewis said that to maximize their political effectiveness, Christians should form factions within each party so that neither can ignore them without suffering electorally. It’s worth remembering that whenever discussing the value of the Sojourners, of openly including left-wing fundamentalists like Jim Wallis and Amy Sullivan in the Democratic Party.
I really wish the Democrats had realized this before letting Wallis give the weekly Democratic radio address, in which he used his standard bland spiel of bipartisanship and transcending the old vitriol. Yes, Wallis supports economically left-wing planks and is anti-war. So does and is the majority of Americans; the Democrats should be able to push through legislation that 83% of Americans support and 68% consider a priority without Wallis.
The Republicans took decades to marginalize their own libertarian contingent, which as late as 1976 could get a pro-choice Presidential candidate, and back in the 1950s popularized the notion that “the government shouldn’t legislate morality.” The Democrats can’t afford to wait decades while they have to placate a group that opposes separation of church and state in all but name and is against abortion and gay rights.
Make no mistake about it, as fun as it is to laugh at the schism revolving around the Dobson/Robertson wing’s branding of Wallis as a fake Christian, Wallis is the best thing to ever happen to that wing. Right now the Democrats can be pro-choice and pro-gay (in fact they’re only moderately pro-choice but that’s something else), because their support base includes no anti-choice or anti-gay group.
As soon as the Democratic Party is forced to formally excise culturally liberal policies from its list of core values, it’ll start seeing culturally conservative heavyweight politicians. Even those who aren’t as committed to left-wing fundamentalism as Obama is will have no trouble moving to the right on abortion and gay rights. If you think it’s not going to happen to people like Edwards, just remember that Edwards voted for the war back when opposition thereto was not a core party stance.
The Latin American liberation theologists didn’t talk much about abortion, but were firmly feminist and pro-birth control. That sort of Christian left I can accept. Wallis’s middling pronouncements I can’t.
[Link] A culture that promotes healthy families is necessary to raise our children with strong values, and the breakdown of family and community in our society must be addressed. But we need serious solutions, not the scape goating of others. And wouldn’t coming together to find common ground that dramatically reduces the number of abortions be better than both the left and the right using it as an issue to divide us?
Yes, it would be great to find common ground. Clinton beat Wallis to it by about 15 years with “safe, legal, and rare,” which the Democratic Party has supported since. Meanwhile, conservative operatives are busy interfering with birth control. Focus on the Family is officially agnostic on contraception on the grounds that it’s acceptable iff it prevents conception but not implantation, but in practice opposes teaching teens that contraceptives exist.
I’m tired of people whose favorite way of supporting moderate politics is by telling the left to compromise even when it has and the right hasn’t. In the US, Clinton embraced Third Way politics; in Britain, Blair did; in France, Royal does in all but name; in Germany, the Social Democrats did. If you really want moderation, stop telling those who already are moderates to compromise even more.
It seems like the Democrats are going out of their way to prove right the predictions that underlie my book’s plot, which I came up with back in early 2004. Instead of emphasizing that they’re the party of equal rights for all, which includes the right to marry according to one’s sexual orientation and the right to control one’s own body, the Democrats emphasize that they’re the party of stealth cultural conservatives like Wallis and Sullivan.