Liberals and Evangelicals Unite to Advise Obama

Evangelicals and liberals have drafted new policies on culture war issues for the president-elect.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

I've got a piece up at usnews.com about new policy proposals for the incoming Obama administration from an unusual coalition of liberal and evangelical leaders, dealing mostly with divisive culture war issues like abortion and gay rights. What's striking about the document is that its drafters include voices other than the lefty evangelicals you'd suspect, including the Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, a prominent backer of California's gay marriage ban last fall. Here's the crux, though you'll have to click to the piece to get the actual policy proposals: 

The memo's drafters, including the Rev. Joel Hunter, a prominent Florida megachurch pastor, and the Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, released the document—"Come Let Us Reason Together: A Governing Agenda to End the Culture Wars"—this morning, ahead of a meeting with religious outreach and policy aides on the Obama transition team.

"This is historic," says Rodriguez, who leads the largest evangelical Latino group in the United States and was a prominent supporter of Proposition 8, California's recently adopted gay-marriage ban. "Some of these people I'm in complete opposition to on the vast majority of public-policy ideas."

The drafters acknowledge that economic concerns are likely to trump social issues in the near term but argue that that strengthens the case for trying to neutralize sensitive social issues. "To the extent that these issues are always the elephant in the room," says Third Way's Laser, "finding common ground is one of the most helpful things we can do to allow for further progress on the economy."