Friday, November 24, 2006

Wedge Issues for Democrats

With the resignation of moderate Dr. Joel Hunter as president of the Christian Coalition, the CC has now gone on record and said that they don't really care about poverty, homelessness, AIDS, health care, wealth and income disparities or the environment. Gay marriage and abortion are their core issues. In my opinion, and that of Dr. Hunter, the Christian Coalition has marginalized itself and is now positioned well to the right of mainstream evangelical values, let alone mainstream American values. If this is true, there now exists an opportunity for the Democrats to take these issues that have been wedge issues for the republicans for years and turn the situation around.

For years, the Republicans have tried to portray the Democrats as out of sync with American values, as anti-religion and anti-family. We all know this isn't true, but by using wedge issues such as gay marriage and abortion, they have often successfully made this connection. But does the average American realize how marginalized and out of sync Republican positioning on these so called wedge issues is? It would be an interesting polling experiment to determine if Republican leadership hopefuls for 2008 prioritize social issues in the same way the Christian Coalition does. I would like to ask prominent Republicans the following questions:

Each of the following groupings represents a values choice. Assuming in each case, you only have the influence, opportunity and political capital to implement one of these legislative accomplishments. In each case, which would you rather accomplish:

  1. Bans same sex marriage or ...
  2. Lift 10,000 people from poverty

  1. Ban embryonic stem cell research. or ...
  2. Provide affordible health insurance or health care to all Americans.

  1. Place justices on the Supreme Court who would over turn Roe Versus Wade. or ...
  2. Place justices on the Supreme Court who would restore the universal right of Habeus Corpus.

Issues of social responsibility - care for children, the poor, sick, elderly and disabled, stewardship of the earth and its resources, justice, equality, etc. are issues that Christians should care about, but that the republican party and groups like the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family have abandoned. I think as Americans realize how out of touch with their values the GOP has become they may start to realize which party really stands for ALL families' values.

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