Progressive Revival

If and when the bishops do start talking about a new political strategy, they may want to keep in mind the remarkable victory of Tom (“Common Good Catholic”) Perriello over Virgil (Good ol’ Boy) Goode in Virginia’s fifth CD. Wish I could claim the WWF monikers as my invention, but they’re Mark Silk’s. Mark notes some of Virgil Goode’s major corkers, on Muslims and Mexicans, e.g., but at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick has the full monty–and she’s over the moon. Who wouldn’t be, given Perriello’s remarkable practice-what-you-preach Catholicism?

“A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Perriello worked to end atrocities in Liberia as well as with child soldiers, amputees, and local pro-democracy groups in Sierra Leone. He became special adviser for the international prosecutor during the showdown that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power. His work as a security analyst has taken him to Afghanistan and Darfur. Perriello has also been a part of a groundswell of young progressives whose religious faith motivates them to seek social change through public service. One of the most startling aspects of his 2008 campaign was his pledge to tithe 10 percent of his campaign volunteers’ time to local charities. Time they could have spent stuffing mailers and phone-banking went to building houses for the poor.”

Yes, but…he favors efforts to reduce abortion rather than criminalizing it, and he is a co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. So that has made him an enemy of the Church, according to several bishops and conservative Catholic groups. Virginia seems to have produced a few interesting Catholic pols, like Tim Kaine. Could this be the future of Catholic politics?

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