September 1, 2008
Panelists argue over Democrat's platform on abortion
Three panelists debated this morning over whether the Democrats' platform on abortion is a step forward.
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, praised the platform for introducing sentences about the party's desire to reduce the number of abortions. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called it even more pro-choice because of it's "unequivocal" support of Roe v. Wade. Steve Waldman, founder and editor of the spirituality Web site beliefnet.com called it two steps forward and two steps backward.
The debate came during a panel in Minneapolis hosted by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. Wallis argued that the evangelical agenda is broadening to include issues like poverty and the war in Iraq. "The monologue of the Religious Right is over," he said.
Waldman said that the evangelical leaders are passing the torch, sometimes willingly, sometimes not. "The voters in the rank and file evangelicals have different interests than their parents. I don't think the impact [of older evangelical leaders] has waned. There is now more of a counter point to it." And Land argued that abortion and gay marriage are still important issues for evangelicals. He said, "Younger evangelicals want a broader agenda, but they're not going to exchange their agenda."
Moderator of the forum Krista Tippett, who hosts a public radio show called "Speaking of Faith," had to say "Let's try not to talk about abortion for the next half hour."