The Common Good

A Defeat for the Religious Right and the Secular Left

Sojomail - November 9, 2006


"I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies....' Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."

- Richard Perle, former chair of the Defense Policy Board, and one of the key advocates of the invasion of Iraq. (Source: Vanity Fair)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

A Defeat for the Religious Right and the Secular Left

In this election, both the Religious Right and the secular Left were defeated, and the voice of the moral center was heard. A significant number of candidates elected are social conservatives on issues of life and family, economic populists, and committed to a new direction in Iraq. This is the way forward: a grand new alliance between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, one that can end partisan gridlock and involves working together for real solutions to pressing problems.

It is clear from the election results that moderate, and some conservative, Christians - especially evangelicals and Catholics - want a moral agenda that is broader than only abortion and same-sex marriage. Various exit polls showed a shift of 6% to 16% fewer evangelicals and Catholics supporting Republican candidates than in 2004. Poverty, the war in Iraq, strengthening families, and protecting the environment are all moral values. And many Americans this year voted all of their values.

One of the central issues in this election was the continuing violence and death in Iraq. As of this week, 2,836 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died in this disastrous war. The people have now spoken, and there is a mandate to change the course of U.S. policy in Iraq. The president acknowledged this yesterday with his announcement of the resignation of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and his recognition that the country needs a fresh perspective in the Defense Department. We believe that the first order of business for the new Congress and the administration must be determining alternatives to the current disastrous course.

Voters also recognized that while the economy is in good shape for some, there are still too many being left out, especially working families. It is significant that in all six states where an initiative to raise the minimum wage was on the ballot, it passed, in most cases by overwhelming margins. Congress and the administration must now pass a federal minimum wage increase that will benefit all working people in America.

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Real-time Election Commentary by Jim Wallis

Election night, Jim stayed up late giving moment-by-moment commentary on the results as they were reported. Even if you didn't stay up all night watching election coverage, you can read his comments now on the God's Politics Blog:

12:37 a.m Stay the Course No More

12:18 a.m. Make Work Work

11:27 p.m. Family Values?

9:54 p.m. Bad News for Fundamentalists


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Tony Jones: Why I Didn't Waste My Vote
As a Red Letter Christian, I find that the rhetoric and mean-spirited politics of the Republicans and Democrats so rarely represents my own politics that I'd just as soon vote my conscience - even if it means that my candidate finishes a distant third.

Rich Nathan: Evangelical Engagement - Promise and Pitfalls
As I travel around the country and interact with a wide variety of evangelical leaders, I have discovered a changing landscape. I believe we are going to see an entirely new trajectory for evangelical political involvement over the next decade.

Duane Shank: Taxation Without Representation
While the rest of America finally gets to vote, I will still be at home watching. I live in the disenfranchised colony of the District of Columbia, which has no vote in the U.S. Congress.

Jim Wallis: We Are All Sinners
I heard the news about Ted Haggard late Thursday afternoon and felt heartsick. I have gotten to know Ted in the last couple of years; we’ve had some good conversations and times of fellowship. I like him, and have admired his leadership at the National Association of Evangelicals. He was becoming a friend, and so I felt deeply for him, his family, his church, and the evangelical movement in which he has provided strong leadership.

Amy Sullivan: The Fallout from Ted Haggard
This story will reverberate further and longer than any of the scandals of the 1980s (Swaggart, Bakker, etc.) because it involves not just personal behavior, but an issue that conservative evangelicals have made extremely clear is one of their two top priorities. And I wonder how or if this will affect the condemnation of homosexuality in general within conservative evangelical circles.


On Saturday, Nov. 11, The Ground Truth will host an online Web chat with veterans willing to tell the truth about the war in Iraq. Cher, Susan Sarandon, Amy Brenneman, Wendie Malick, and Olivia Wilde will join our veterans online to chat and offer their support. Spend a bit of your Veterans Day listening to what veterans have to say. Supporting the troops does not mean supporting the war. The chat will be easy to access - all you'll need to do is visit, enter the Web chat, read the comments, and type your responses.


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"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


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