Has our financial mess brought us to the brink of getting beyond the culture wars?
It's a question that we might just see play out on Capitol Hill in the coming months, as the new political majority seeks to make the late pro-life congressman Henry Hyde proud, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion and de-funding Planned Parenthood.
"Hell no," now-Speaker John Boehner said, when he was in the minority, to the comprehensive, conscience-offending health-care legislation that Congress and the White House insisted upon last year. So now that he's Speaker, the first big vote under his watch was to repeal the president's signature piece of legislation.
What do you do after a repeal -- one that is stalled in the obstinate, Harry Reid-run Senate? Move on to H.R. 3, a measure that would take care of something that the old leadership claimed they had already done: keep taxpayer money away from abortion funding. As Boehner put it in introducing the legislation: "A ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land. But current law -- particularly as enforced by this administration -- does not reflect the will of the people."
A little hint about the popular will could come in the enthusiasm among many freshman members of the House toward an effort to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
"Ending taxpayer funding of abortion and getting Planned Parenthood's hand out of the pocket of taxpayers are clearly crossover issues," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says. "Social conservatives as well as fiscal conservatives can generally agree that the government has no business being in the abortion funding or subsidizing business."
He adds some praise for HR 3: "The new leadership is clearly up on their history. They know they have no room for equivocation -- promise made must be promise kept, and that is what they are doing."
Even as I write, though, I can hear the critics, even on the right. 'There they go again: rosaries on my ovaries.' Or, less crassly: 'Culture warriors, on the march.'
But you don't have to agree with me on the abortion issue to see how H.R. 3, among others things, makes common sense.