With Election Day finally having come and gone, God-o-Meter is closing up shop till 2012–or at least 2010. Till then, get your faith and politics fix over at Beliefnet editor-in-chief Steve Waldman’s blog.
The first priorities for Barack Obama’s administration will be the economy and a variety of foreign policy issues. But the burgeoning religious left, which worked so hard to get Obama elected, expects some movement on its issues, including a robust White House office of faith-based initiatives, poverty reduction, and reducing demand for abortion.
Here’s what Matthew 25 Network founder Mara Vanderslice (pictured) told God-o-Meter about this last issue:
I hope that an Obama administration is going to prove to religious Americans that supported him that he’s going to provide common ground on the abortion issue. He spoke directly about wanting to reduce the number of abortions and it’s one of the first things people are looking for: How is he going to legislate and lead on that issue?
I wish they had been more vocal on this intention to reduce abortion [on the campaign trail]. He [Obama] said it at different times and locations but the pro-life groups got their message out very effectively, painting Obama as an extremist on the issue. I don’t think that’s true but they had some success with that. So it’s up to a new Obama administration to show us he’s going to find that common ground.
Many in the religious left see such untraditional Democratic policy initiatives as abortion reduction not only as a genuine priority for their movement but also as a political necessity if Obama and the Democrats want to hold onto their gains among certain faith constituencies, from white Catholics and evangelicals to Latino Christians to black Protestants.