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January 15, 2009

Giving Obama an Agenda

Everybody wants to give president-elect Barack Obama their two cents, and a coalition of evangelicals and Third Way put their's in this morning.

Third Way, a Washington think tank aiming to shape Democratic Party policy, partnered with the evangelicals to give Obama's transition team policy recommendations, which include the following:

? Reducing abortions through common ground policies. We agree on a goal of reducing
abortions in America through policies that address the circumstances that lead to
abortion: preventing unintended pregnancies, supporting pregnant women and new
families, and increasing support for adoption.
? Protecting the rights of gay and lesbian people to earn a living. Based on a common
commitment to fairness and the Golden Rule, we support a policy that makes it illegal
to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees based on their sexual orientation.
We also believe that there must be a clear exemption for faith-based employers.
? Renouncing torture. We agree that the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading
treatment against prisoners is immoral, unwise, and un-American.
? Creating secure and comprehensive immigration reform. We agree that we need
secure, compassionate, and comprehensive immigration reform. We support policies that
create an earned path to citizenship and protect families, while securing our borders and
treating American taxpayers fairly.

The memo's drafters include the following:
? Rachel Laser, Director of the Culture Program for Third Way;
? Dr. Robert P. Jones, Visiting Fellow at Third Way and President of Public Religion Research;
? Dr. David Gushee, Professor at Mercer University and President of Evangelicals for Human Rights;
? Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed;
? Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference;
? Dr. Ronald J. Sider, President of Evangelicals for Social Action;
? Katie Paris, Director of Communications Strategy for Faith in Public Life

The audio from the press conference can be found at Faith in Public Life's website.

"The culture wars have been characterized by vilifying those who differ from us on provocative issues and treating them as traitors and threats," Hunter said at the press conference. "I believe we can end those wars by thinking of our differences as ways we can learn from each other and advance without compromising core values."


Those are all good recommendations. To add my two cents:

I would urge addressing stewardship of the earth and its resources - finding alternative energy sources and green technologies that will help address climate change and generate new jobs.

I would also urge an emphasis on new, innovative solutions leading to better health care for all our citizens.

There are many other good ideas out there. The key is to get everyone working on all of them, but to recognize the government will have to prioritize and tackle the most important issues.