Speaking of common good, today an eclectic group is meeting with Obama to discuss their agenda for ending the culture wars. "Third Way" is a group of conservatives, liberals and moderates trying to find common ground on divisive issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration. Here's their attempt:

  • Reducing abortion through common-ground policies, including contraceptives for low-income women, comprehensive and age-appropriate sex ed, adoption support, and better Medicaid coverage for pregnancy.  
  • Protecting the rights of gay and lesbian people to earn a living — and also protect the rights of religious organizations to hire whom they please.
  • Renouncing torture.
  • Creating secure and comprehensive immigration reform, including securing the borders, providing an earned path to citizenship, and establishing a fair guest worker program.

David Brody rightly notes that abortion and gay rights will be the most difficult issues to reach a consensus. Contraceptives and sex ed will be thorny issues for conservatives, and parental notification laws and other abortion-reducing laws will be difficult for progressives. 

But the question, right now, is not who won't like it but whether enough people will. Of course there are people on both sides who will find any compromise impossible, but I don't think "Third Way" is trying to reach the fringes. It's trying to reach and mobilize the type of person who applauded the Evangelical Manifesto, the young evangelicals who are pro-life and also support gay civil unions, and other unclassifiable individuals who pick and choose from both sides. The leaders of that coalition seem to be in place, and I think the followers are there too. We'll see. 

It has an unsurprising group of backers: David Gushee, Tony Campolo, Brian McClaren and others. While I'm not familiar with every name, the coalition seems to be more moderate to progressive than conservative. I wonder, why the seeming reluctance to just identify a movement like this as "moderate"? It seems more accurate than to call it a coalition of liberals, evangelicals and conservatives. 

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Alisa Harris

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