I can’t quite take in the good news of the mid-term elections. Can’t quite believe that at last we have voted out of Congress the Republican extremists and have taken a decisive step to halt the Bush Administration’s “preemptive” war strategy in Iraq, which has unleashed such terror and destruction of life. The recent Johns Hopkins survey of civilian deaths in Iraq estimates 655,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since March 2003. Others estimate that as many as one million Iraqi people have been killed. And, of course, we hold in our hearts the anguish of the 3,000 plus American families who have lost loved ones in this horrible war (not to mention the thousands of wounded).

I was heartened to hear that in the elections one third of white evangelicals shifted their votes away from Republican extremists. Much of the thanks for that decisive shift should go to Jim Wallis. He’s written books and done a zillion speaking engagements all over this land for the last 20 years to help people get Jesus right. Not to mention helping people get solid biblical literacy under their belt. On biblical literacy we can only go up. Over 70 percent of Americans think you can find “God helps those who help themselves” in the Bible. Worse, 12 percent of Americans identify Joan of Arc as Noah’s wife! The God-is-on-my-side-so-I-can-do-no-wrong-and-my-enemy-can-do-no-right mentality has led us into the present quagmire.

But simply because Democrats will now lead Congress doesn’t mean we citizens can go slack. Democrats are every bit as prone as Republicans to shift with the political wind and to act out of expediency rather than principle. Now, more than ever, we need to be actively engaged in dialogue with elected leaders to shape policies of peace and justice for all.