“Religious left” emerging as U.S. political force


Since President Donald Trump’s election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York’s Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.

In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London’s Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.

“The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action,” she said.

Although not as powerful as the religious right, which has been credited with helping elect Republican presidents and boasts well-known leaders such as Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson, the “religious left” is now slowly coming together as a force in U.S. politics.

This disparate group, traditionally seen as lacking clout, has been propelled into political activism by Trump’s policies on immigration, healthcare and social welfare, according to clergy members, activists and academics. A key test will be how well it will be able to translate its mobilization into votes in the 2018 midterm congressional elections.

“It’s one of the dirty little secrets of American politics that there has been a religious left all along and it just hasn’t done a good job of organizing,” said J. Patrick Hornbeck II, chairman of the theology department at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York.

“It has taken a crisis, or perceived crisis, like Trump’s election to cause folks on the religious left to really own their religion in the public square,” Hornbeck said.

Religious progressive activism has been part of American history. Religious leaders and their followers played key roles in campaigns to abolish slavery, promote civil rights and end the Vietnam War, among others. The latest upwelling of left-leaning religious activism has accompanied the dawn of the Trump presidency.

Some in the religious left are inspired by Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic leader who has been an outspoken critic of anti-immigrant policies and a champion of helping the needy.

Although support for the religious left is difficult to measure, leaders point to several examples, such as a surge of congregations offering to provide sanctuary to immigrants seeking asylum, churches urging Republicans to reconsider repealing the Obamacare health law and calls to preserve federal spending on foreign aid.

The number of churches volunteering to offer sanctuary to asylum seekers doubled to 800 in 45 of the 50 U.S. states after the election, said the Elkhart, Indiana-based Church World Service, a coalition of Christian denominations which helps refugees settle in the United States – and the number of new churches offering help has grown so quickly that the group has lost count.


“religous left”..is that an oxymoron?

“Religious progressive activism has been part of American history. Religious leaders and their followers played key roles in campaigns to abolish slavery, promote civil rights and end the Vietnam War, among others. The latest upwelling of left-leaning religious activism has accompanied the dawn of the Trump presidency.”


“Some in the religious left are inspired by Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic leader who has been an outspoken critic of anti-immigrant policies and a champion of helping the needy.”



~ by seeker401 on April 1, 2017.

4 Responses to ““Religious left” emerging as U.S. political force”

  1. SJWs are indeed a religious group

  2. The Mainline churches in the U.S. have been liberalized by the surrounding culture for over a century. It began with lack of discipline in the late nineteenth century. Transitioned to the entrance of man made traditions (doctrine) in the very early part of the twentieth century. Expressed itself socially in the mid-twentieth century. The Mainline churches are not a denomination, but a word given to the group of churches that hold the most members in the U.S. and their doctrine, in the U.S., has aligned. In Canada the Mainline churches merged and did become one church denomination. For the same reasons as happened in Canada, some in the U.S. think this may happen to the Mainline churches here. The main reason is they are running out of money. Lots of their churches have members that are old with no to hardly any youth. This is because their doctrine is the same as the world and so there is nothing different about them and most especially there is no gospel. They are dead churches. Some are mainly social clubs now, which is the second reason to merge. Their doctrine is similar.

    There is a left and right in the church, because the surrounding political world has a left and right. Not all churches have this left and right in them, as they hold to the gospel, which checks the way of the world, but not one church is perfect for we are sinners. Therefore, the left or right may come into the church, but it is disciplined against and renewal by the Spirit cleanses their lives to be conformed in the image of the Son. Not wholly in this world are believers made complete, but in the completion of His kingdom when Christ returns will those that believe be made complete. Yet these churches (denominations) are smaller in number compared to the Mainline. They are hardly known about by the surrounding world. It is the Mainline churches that get the media attention, and glamour and pride of being of the world, due to their large numbers and worldly ways. Because of their large numbers of members, in the U.S. from its’ beginning, they were pandered to by politicians because of their size and lots of politicians come from their Mainline churches. The religious left are the progressives.

    The progressives in the church gained popularly in the U.S. because of their fight against slavery. That was seen as a good thing – which it was! – and so when new progressive ideas came forth, then many people were already on board the progressive ship that had sailed, so to speak. Later progressive policies may have been good outside the church, but when those changes impacted doctrine and social life inside the church, that was the fall of the Mainline churches in the U.S. Soon enough the progressive ideas outside the church were even horrible, and they infiltrated churches, also.

    It began with the nineteenth century women’s rights movement. Outside the church, I can think of some good advances this had on the pagan culture, yet inside the church it is clear from Scripture that women are not to be elders and deacons. This lead to many loosening’s in the church on many other things, especially Unitarianism, or Rationalism, which is basically Socinianism or Pelagianism, which these doctrinal heresies that reject the salvation work and Person of Christ, are not privy to just a religious left, but to all who pretend to be Biblical but truly are heretics and pervert God, thus this perversion includes the religious right.

    The religious right was an effort by the political right to combat the religious and political left. Both sides never attempted to ground their movements in Scripture and so they both failed from the start and only darkened and corrupted society.

    The recent progressive movement of homosexuality and pedophilia, without the gospel of Christ preached, infiltrates churches. These progressive movements may be called religious left, but truly because of their doctrinal and walk before God, they are sins of the world no matter who desires to claim them. Whether it is “progressives” or those that think they are “right” (of the religious right to fight those progressives), they are unhinged from the gospel of Christ and so both are self-righteous movements. Those of the religious right will fight them, but will continue to lose because they never go back to Scripture, discipline the church, which is because the Holy Spirit is not with them truly witnessing the truth and way of Scripture.

    It is always God’s judgement upon the world to give the world what it desires until the fullness of the Gentiles has been reached (Romans 11:25), and God long-suffers until all that He has elected from before the foundation of the world have been born (2 Peter 3:9). Then Christ returns again to publically Judge those that will go to hell. Those who will live in His new creation without sin, sickness, and death will enjoy His glory and blessings forever.

    All who will live in the new creation enjoy this blessing merited by Christ alone, because Christ died in our place for we should have been given the punishment of death for our sin and guilt. That death is what we deserve. We are guilty of sin and responsible for our wrong-doings. Yet because God is merciful and full of grace, He gives faith and repentance to some, so we believe in the Person and work of Christ, and repent from our selfish ways, and worship Him.

  3. Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

  4. This article is not explicitly a Right versus Left culture war expose. I thought it was an interesting historical account of the Religious Left (w/ some Right glossed) in America. The article was written, it appears, due to the recent attention in the media, like the article posted above, about a possible Religious Left revival. What I found interesting is the Religious Left is predominately spurred by elites so gets more attention in the media and institutions than may actually be present in the wider community. Is that not how elitism powers culture in all circles of society? (I think yes):


    “Recently Religion Dispatches writer Daniel Schultz, a United Church of Christ minister, expressed chagrin, at least tongue in cheek, that I had tweeted approvingly about his dismissal of claims about a Religious Left revival. He had challenged specifically such a claim from a Reuters column. And he was also distressed, again tongue in cheek, that his original column was echoed by Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler and conservative religion journalist Terry Mattingly.

    Schultz’s rueful skepticism of Religious Left revival was artfully crafted and offered helpful insights, with which I agree only partly. He’s right that some media occasionally will focus on a bout of activism by liberal clergy and accompanying activists, typically Mainline Protestants, as evidence of Religious Left revival. The evidence is usually anecdotal, such as a small rally with clerics wearing clerical collars and robes for the benefit of cameras. To what extent these demonstrators have a popular following among religious people is rarely explored with any depth.

    Here’s the twist that most claims about Religious Left revival ignore or don’t fully appreciate. Evangelicalism is now the largest religious demographic, and many of its older elite institutions have shifted politically Left, such as colleges, relief groups, and pan-denominational associations. Many evangelical elites don’t want association with the Religious Right and consequently shift Left. Most political witness jamborees for young college educated evangelicals are left-leaning. Much of the evangelical blogosphere is left-leaning. Essentially much of evangelicalism is replicating what happened to Mainline Protestantism starting 100 years ago. And these liberal evangelical expressions similarly are mainly from elites and are not usually broad-based.

    Here’s why I think the committed Religious Left has never had and will never have a very wide popular lay following. [more in the article]

    So the Religious Left is almost never populist but it will always exist through the rebellious elites of religious institutions and subcultures, consequently gaining disproportionate influence. This cycle at least in American Protestantism seems perpetual. As liberal religionists stretch the boundaries of their faith or leave altogether, they are replaced by a new generation of enthusiastic converts who rediscover the old orthodoxy.”

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