Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Democrats and the common good

Here’s an AP story about "the common good" as a Democratic campaign theme. A couple of snippets:

"We really feel that it speaks to the central moral challenge of our time," said Alexia Kelly, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, an advocacy group that formed two years ago.


"Our religious traditions call us to that deeper vision of caring for all, being in it together, not a go-it-alone culture," said Kelly, who has worked for the U.S. bishops and served briefly as a religious adviser to 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. "I think it’s important that it crosses faith traditions."


Tom Perriello, a co-founder of the Catholic Alliance, said the approach would help end what he sees as a self-defeating practice among liberals -- treating religious Americans as a constituency that needs special handling, instead of crafting a message meaningful to all voters.


But he acknowledged that the strength of the "common good" as a unifying theme also is a weakness. The term is so broad it’s hard to define and can be misinterpreted as a call for "big government," Perriello said. "The question right now is who is going to define it."

***

Under Roman Catholic teaching, promoting the "common good" would include opposing abortion -- a position both Santorum and Casey embrace -- and opposing gay marriage to protect human dignity and the family. "Common good" Democrats are generally changing how they talk about abortion, calling it a tragedy to avoid -- rather than a private issue. But most have not come out against the procedure.


"I would argue that the conservative evangelical and traditional Catholic stands on same-sex marriage and abortion are stances in favor of the common good," said Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention and a supporter of President Bush.

We learn in passing that Mara Vanderslice, who worked ever so briefly for the Kerry campaign on religious issues, has a consulting firm, whose mission is to:

[provide] Democratic elected officials, candidates and state parties with the expertise, understanding, and resources that will allow them to authentically engage and connect with America’s diverse religious communities. We strive to help candidates better understand the complex American religious landscape and create opportunities to build relationships on the local and national level. By rediscovering how to communicate Democratic values, CGS is working to help Democrats reframe the national religious debate and focus attention back on the common good and social justice issues that are central to American faith traditions and Democratic strengths.

Bob Casey is one of her clients.

Discussions - 1 Comment

Phony BS, period.

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