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Balancing the politcal 'teetor-totter'
on February 13, 2005
Wallis certainly doesn't suggest religion is irrelevant in the public square. Rather, he's asking for consistancy between the various positions including poverty, human rights, corporate regulation, crime, life, and dignity.
The best summary on this book would be, "It provides a corrective to a religious Right that has truncated the discussion of moral values to several push-button issues and to a Left that separates considerations of religious and moral values from formulation of public policy." Clearly, both are needed.
Jim Wallis says Republicans like the language of faith, but use it narrowly and selectively. Democrats, on the other hand, are clearly uncomfortable with the subject. "Democrats need to recover a moral vocabulary, to put principles ahead of programs," contends Mr. Wallis. "Don't start with policies. Start with values and then say how your policies flow from them." That seems like such a balanced, common-sense approach. At the same time it's something that's rarely done, and something I need to be reminded of as I engage the public square.
Wallis and his associates want to expand the discussion of moral values from the Christian Right's focus on abortion and gay marriage to include a biblical concern for poverty, care of the natural environment and opposition to unjust war. They speak of a "consistent ethic of life." I think that's both fair and needed.