A Religious Left?

The civil rights movement of the 1960’s was supported in no small measure by progressive churches, black and white, whose members marched together, did voter registration together, lobbied Congress together, and sometimes died together. The leadership of the civil rights movement came directly out of the black church, in the persons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, and many others.

These days the religious right is ascendant: anti-immigrant, anti-choice, and with no less a conflicted figure than Trump as their champion of family and religious values.

So where is the progressive left?


According to Daniel Cox of the FiveThirtyEight blog, a religious left isn’t going to arise any time soon — too many progressives, young and old, have simply left the church since the heyday of the 1960’s.

Religious bodies are good at organizing, and right now those tools are primarily available to conservatives who still engage with religious institutions. I agree with Cox that our side isn’t going to return to the pews and use those connections to send foot soldiers forth to do battle any time soon.

2 thoughts on “A Religious Left?

  1. I do think it is important to note that there are liberal minded folks who do have a religious affiliation and do sit in the pews. I consider myself one of those. The reason I can support my religion is that it teaches in order to truly live a Christ like life it is important to be open minded, caring for all people; supportive of efforts which focus on environmental issues; involved in both local and international efforts such as feeding the hungry; acting to serve and not to be served and then trying to be non judgmental. 21 percent of our church budget supports such efforts both locally and internationally annually..

    These are tall orders and I don’t pretend to live the perfect life but I do appreciate being motivated by a strong, like minded community.

  2. for Joyce: I do note that, and appreciate those of you who remain in the pews and hold on to both your faith and your social justice convictions. Religious folks with a progressive mindset are critical, even if there aren’t as many as manned the battlements in the 1960’s. Thanks for reminding us.

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