By conviction and temperament, President Obama seeks the middle ground. Though many of his opponents see him as a wild radical, intent on expanding the reach of government at all costs, his actions reveal something quite different: a pragmatist interested in striking a bargain.
In 1863 a cooper in Chillicothe, Ohio, named Schyler Courier angrily responded to a group of boys throwing snowballs at him by firing his shotgun, killing one of the boys. In 1866 in Petersburg, New York, Hiram Coon warned his employer's wife, Mary Laker, to quit taunting him for his criminal past; when she would not stop, he split her head open with an ax.
What do Melissa Rogers, Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, Jim Wallis and
Robert George have in common? I'd say not much, other than being Christians,
broadly right to center-left theologically, who have some degree of political
influence in one area or another.
Calling for a new kind of politics, the Church of England has issued a 52-page letter in anticipation of the May general election in the United Kingdom. Exhorting Christians to engage in politics, it says the chief motivation should be to address the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Calling for an end to “retail politics” and a renewed focus on the common good, the letter suggests that voters should challenge political candidates on such issues as the accumulation of wealth by the few, the need for the participation of diverse communities, and the value of the weak, dependent, sick, and aging (Guardian, February 17).