Friday, November 10, 2006

The Return of Compassionate Conservatism?

There have been many analyses of the election and what it means for the so-called "values voters" in this country. Although John Green reports that evangelicals voted in similar ways to 2004, there is also reason to believe - based on other polls - that a shift is occurring in the priorities of conservative Christians. Look no further than the following article in the current Newsweek by Michael Gerson:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15566389/site/newsweek/

Gerson is a true red conservative (who shares my alam mater, Wheaton College), but even he can see that a new faith-based agenda is in order. When Bono is now the hero of most young evangelicals, you know the wind is changing. And when Gerson write this kind of piece, which could almost be mistaken for something coming from Sojourners, you know that change is afoot.

Gerson certainly does not go far enough in his analysis, omitting talk of war and peace issues and certain kinds of structural oppression, and he makes clear that he still believes a conservative political philosophy is best suited to address these new "social gospel" issues. Still, I couldn't help but be encouraged to read phrases like "common good" and "narrowness of the religious right." Let's hope that the breeze continues blowing, and I hope we are starting to hear the faint sounds of the cracking of the religious right.

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