Common Ground, again

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Uh-oh. The assault on commongroundism has recommenced over on Religion Dispatches, with a nice, er, thumbsucker by Peter Laarman and some cheers from the choir by Dan Schultz. Peter, with an assist from Neil Gabler, argues that there’s really no winning over religious conservatives because they are part of a, well, religious crusade that prevents them from compromising–i.e. the common ground effort was doomed from the start. Dan pipes in with the thought that there might not be a moderately conservative independent middle for the commongroundniks to appeal to. In the interest of pushing the discussion along, I offer a couple of modest suggestions.

1. How about a commongroundnik assessment of how the project is going? Support among white evangelicals for health care reform has dropped precipitously, from 48 percent to 18 percent. Instead of whining about not being appreciated for all their good intentions, the advocates of conservative outreach owe us a midterm report.

2. And perhaps it’s time for the progressives to start talking about the mote in their own eye. If they don’t want to sign on with Michael Lerner’s Network of Spiritual Progressives–and I can understand why–where are the troops and what’s the action plan?