For conservatives and liberals, issues such as crime and punishment are losing their divisiveness as the left recognizes the importance of fighting crime and the right finds practical reasons for reform.  We will see more of this as the former religious right is pushed into irrelevance.



In those moments of recognition, Mr. [Mark] Earley began a startling
transformation from a tough-on-crime crusader to an advocate for prison
reform and a prominent critic of the very type of drug laws he had
formerly promoted. Since leaving the attorney's general's position in
2001, Mr. Earley has taken his new cause to a position as president of
Prison Fellowship Ministries, a national organization based in the
Washington suburbs

On the surface a redoubt of the religious right, firmly rooted in
evangelical Christianity and conservative politics, the Prison
Fellowship Ministries' liberal position on such issues underscores the
increasing irrelevance of such rigid categories.

The group's role in criminal justice bears similarity to the stance
taken by evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback
Church in Southern California, on global warming, AIDS prevention and Third World poverty.

"What's distinct is that we're in an Aha!' moment now," Mr. Earley,
53, said in a phone conversation. "The crime issue used to be such a
driving wedge between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and
Republicans, and now it's not. In the presidential campaign this year,
when have you heard crime as a wedge issue? It's a common-ground issue,
and no one would have envisioned that in the '70s and '80s."

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