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cartooon of pope discussing economic justice with jesus
Pat Bagley via politicalcartoons.com, with permission
From Brookings:
The persistence of poverty, the decline of social mobility and rising inequality in the U.S. all demand new departures in policy and politics. Yet the electorate and Congress are polarized and trust in government is at an all-time low.  Religious Americans have been essential to the success of movements for justice throughout American history. Today, they have an opportunity to sustain a movement for economic justice.
The above is from a forum held earlier in the month to introduce a white paper from  E.J. Dionne, Jr., William A. Galston, Korin Davis and Ross Tilchin titled Faith in Equality: Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives (pdf).  There are some important observations in the paper, fueled by information from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which collected some of the important data.

For example, the report notes about diversity within Democratic ranks (p. 9):

 

There are, in short, tensions over religion in the Democratic Party that are (or, at least, have been up to now) largely absent in the Republican Party.

The result is an ambivalence among Democrats about the role of religious progressives. When it comes to religion, the party has a complicated coalition-management problem. This is obvious from the religious profiles of Obama and Romney supporters in 2012. Among Romney voters, only 7 percent were religiously unaffiliated while 75 percent were white Christians—40 percent of whom were white evangelicals, 18 percent were white Catholics and 17 percent were white mainline Protestants. By contrast, fully 25 percent of Obama’s voters were religiously unaffiliated, 34 percent were white Christians while the rest were a diverse array of African-American and Latino Christians and followers of other faiths.



description of 2012 voting in terms of where relious voters break out

and also talks about parallels with the civil rights movement:
Join us below the fold for some insights into what the future holds for religious progressives from co-author E.J. Dionne.

I caught up with Dionne a few days after the forum for a wide-ranging conversation. We talked about several topics, including the diversity apparent on the progressive side. Dionne talked passionately about the tradition of "civil rights Christianity" and the long tradition in Catholicism, for example, of communitarianism (and for more on this theme, see my review of Dionne's book, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent, from 2012).

As it happens, Pope Francis weighed in with this tweet on that topic the day I spoke to Dionne:

I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good.
@Pontifex
It's that concept the Pope Francis talked about, the "common good," that lays the groundwork for coalition building.

When I asked Dionne what his biggest concern was for moving forward on that, he brought up the problem of "disengagement," especially with younger Americans, which can be seen not just in disaffection with religion but also with politics and many other institutions.

This led to a discussion about, for example, the contributions of the Occupy movement as well as North Carolina's Moral Mondays, a movement now spreading to Georgia and South Carolina. Dionne was quick to point out the contributions Occupy has made, "especially in moving '1%' into the political lexicon," as hugely important. Yet the disengagement from politics that contrasts Occupy, say, with the Tea Party, or the focused Moral Mondays movement, or even getting "souls to the polls," has implications as well. That disengagement Dionne sees as a potential threat to activism moving forward.

We also talked about the role of unions and business. Unions were a natural topic given the doings in the NBA (Dionne was working on this column when we spoke). Unions are natural allies, but the white paper notes (p. 32):

The decline of unions has also weakened the ability of a faith-based progressive movement to mobilize financing and infrastructure. In the 1950s, about a third of the total labor force was unionized. Today, that figure stands at just one-tenth of the total labor force and less than 7 percent of the private sector workforce. With the weakening of unions, said several participants in our discussions, there is no “special interest group” representing the poor in current policy debates. THE WEAKENING OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT ALSO MEANS THAT RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE HAVE LOST A PARTNER.
Just as it's important to have union partners, it's also important to partner with business, at least wherever one can find business leaders to partner with. E.J. noted that those kinds of allies can make it easier for religious progressives to succeed, be it on minimum wage or paid sick days or other issues important to working people that fit into the economic justice framework.

A different PRRI poll recently conducted discussed differences between religious Catholics and white evangelicals.

differences and similarities on economic and social issues, catholics and white evangelicals

The economic similarities were as striking as the cultural differences, suggesting economics (i.e., social justice) remained a potentially unifying theme. This fit the white paper's conclusion about opportunities for religious progressives to:

Create a new narrative based on the popular and widely held notion of the “common good” and on economic justice as a means of strengthening families;

Build bridges with conservative people of faith who are engaged in action for social justice globally, and with secular partners, who share very similar views on economic questions;

Use the model offered by the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, a movement that combined religious and civic themes, was racially, ethnically and generationally diverse, was accepting of the realities of power but focused on persuasion, not simply the defeat of adversaries.

To be clear, not every progressive is engaged in religion, and not everyone in the faith community is focused on politics. But to counter disengagement and to build coalitions, the "Big Tent" concept is as necessary here as with any other winning political coalition, and Dionne pointed out how true that's been historically.

See also remarks by Sr. Simone Campbell (Nuns on the Bus) at that same forum introducing the white paper:

Sr. Simone told the Brookings audience stories of two people she had met who were quite different, but who are examples of her call to focus on "justice and the hundred percent." At a White House ceremony to witness President Obama signing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers, she sat next to a young woman wearing a blue dress named Robin. This woman explained to Sr. Simone how she worked full-time at a national clothing store chain and bought the dress with her employee discount, but that she also lived in a homeless shelter because she couldn't afford rent. "That's wrong in the richest nation on earth," Sr. Simone told the audience. "It's wrong because Robin is being robbed of a future. We've got to stand up for the Robins of this world."
Sr. Simone makes clear from that and other anecdotes why economic justice is at the heart of the coalition building.

My own advice, (though I don't think Dionne and/or the other authors would disagree) would be to build on common ground rather than differences, and worry less about the secular-religious divide and more about common goals, from combatting voter suppression to fighting for a decent living wage (social and economic justice).

Religious progressives can be a strong voice in that coalition, and should be a welcome one. I for one, secularist though I am, would be happy to have them on board.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent post, Greg, thank you (55+ / 0-)

    Dionne is one of the sane religious voices. Your point about building on common ground rather than differences is well taken.

    Re this:

    Dionne talked passionately about the tradition of "civil rights Christianity"
    Do you know, I'm old enough to remember how in the late 1960s it was clergymen who agitated for women's right to obtain abortions, and some of them would escort women up north to states where abortion was allowed.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:39:01 AM PDT

    •  religion (0+ / 0-)

      Religion is based on a set of beliefs never to be challenged. there are some profound teachings in religion but also some profound ignorance.

      The fundamentalist christian has yet to discover the difference.

      Everyone wants a book of truths, even science has become scientism with its materialism as an absolute.

      Militant skeptics resemble religious fundamentalism. same beliefs in absolutes just different beliefs.

      In 2000 years most of the teachings of Jesus have yet to be understand or practiced. 9/11 and the revenge agenda proved this point over and over and over.

      The terrorists knew exactly what the American military machine would do after 9/11. now America even has a very expensive intelligence complex spying on their own citizens.

      •  I'm a Christian and a progressive. (7+ / 0-)

        I've never felt out of place or unwelcome in the progressive movement. And I delight in the fact that it is highly diverse in terms of progressives' belief (and disbelief) structures.

        I must take exception to your bald statement that "Religion is based on a set of beliefs never to be challenged." Nonsense. First off, making assertions about "religion" is like making assertions about "cancer." Cancer is hundreds of diseases, not just one. There's remarkably little one can generalize about it. And religion is hundreds of religions and sects and denominations. Some, I'll admit, get mighty uptight when you start challenging them. Others consider that a sign of good health. Please don't tar us all with your one brush; you don't know us all.

        I'm also a scientist, and I find your assertion that "even science has become scientism" to be quite unintelligible, but I have a gut feeling I'd disagree if I understood what you meant.

        Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho

        by DocDawg on Sun May 04, 2014 at 06:13:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree with most of this comment. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:35:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's a picture in our church's archives (8+ / 0-)

      of the parish rector leading the congregation as they joined an anti-Vietnam War march after church one Sunday. You can see women in their Sunday best, dresses, heels and the appropriate Sunday hats, pushing baby strollers and buggies alongside the men of the congregation.

      And let's not forget that it was the black churches that provided a gathering place for those who organized the civil rights marches in the 1960s. I remember going to organizing meetings at the local Unitarian and Congregational churches when I was active in supporting the UFW in high school in the mid-1970s. That's the tradition of "civil rights Christianity" that I remember.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:39:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and (34+ / 0-)

    climate change:

    Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, has had quite the run lately. A few weeks back, she was featured in the first episode of the Showtime series The Years of Living Dangerously, meeting with actor Don Cheadle in her home state of Texas to explain to him why faith and a warming planet aren't in conflict. (You can watch that episode for free on YouTube; Hayhoe is a science adviser for the show.) Then, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of 2014; Cheadle wrote the entry. "There's something fascinating about a smart person who defies stereotype," Cheadle observed.

    Why is Hayhoe in the spotlight? Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average. And if anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience, Hayhoe does. "I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to," explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. "We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it's entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values."

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:39:14 AM PDT

  •  If the author, Dionne, ANYONE would look at (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bacon, terremoto, MLP, Voiceless, arlene

    the political backgrounds of not only the pope when he was a prelate in Argentina and but also every single one of the men he has appointed to positions of power in this pontificate, they would understand that "human dignity and the common good" are just platitudes intended to divert the world's attention away from the Vatican's unchanged geo-political goals and aspirations.

  •  It would be nice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    to know what percent of religious people place economic issues over social fake social issues like abortion or Gays both of whom JC rarely mentions.
       Yes the old testament is anti Gay but it does some to be ok on abortion in most circumstances.
          We are never going to get the fake social issue crowd I wonder how many of them are racist?
         But we can get those voters who care about economic justice issues and having numbers on them would be good for us.

  •  Lots of information here, yes, and I appreciate (4+ / 0-)

    that. But I think your title is inaccurate; there's not much about your wide-ranging discussion with Dionne. I find that disappointing.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:53:21 AM PDT

  •  EXCELLENT CARTOON! SAYS IT ALL! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1

    The Roman Religion has been nothing more than the decayed and swinish home, exemplar, exporter, and bastion of Feudalism for Centuries.  And, it always will be!

  •  Also how much will the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, commonmass, thanatokephaloides

    Older White Christian voters numbers shrink and our younger voter numbers grow come next Presidential election?

  •  Knowledge of these numbers by state would be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Tonedevil

    very useful does anyone here have these numbers?

  •  Outstanding post! (17+ / 0-)

    This ties in perfectly with what Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO,  said earlier this week:

    We will also turn out for candidates who tell the truth about what is happening in our country: candidates who speak clearly about falling wages and concentration of wealth and income, and about the astounding tilt in our economy and politics toward global corporations and the very rich.
    Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), was interviewed by the Harvard Gazette on hist take from the Brookings Institute Report (link)
    The Civil Rights Movement is still a good model for partnership between religious organizations and religiously unaffiliated individuals. Though the report characterizes the movement as an alliance of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, its religious diversity was actually quite a bit broader than that.

    Religious humanists, secular humanists, Unitarian Universalists, and Muslims also played very important roles in the movement. I’m thinking of folks like A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, Whitney Young of the Urban League, Malcolm X of the Nation of Islam, and Stokely Carmichael of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

    I sincerely hope democratic strategists live and breathe this important report.

     

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:55:49 AM PDT

  •  Jesus Talked All The Time About "Hypocrites" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, thanatokephaloides

    ...and the OT made many mentions of "fools."  but I guess that  hypocrites and fools thing must have been solved because we never ever hear religious folks talk about them today.  

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:57:15 AM PDT

    •  Then you aren't listening to the right people (8+ / 0-)

      religious people have been calling out hypocrisy loud and clear at least from the 19th century on.  I can't speak for the time before that because I haven't studied the sermons prior to 19th century.  Christian progressives are calling out the hypocrites but we're also very busy feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and comforting the heartbroken. Being humans locked into the constraints of time and space, we can only cram so much into 24 hours.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 12:42:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plus (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, revsue, Parthenia

        we simply don't get the air time that the more polarizing and outlandish statements do.  Our church had an interfaith conference on ending homelessness several years ago.  No one reported it.  We've had forums and led marches to protest the Iraq war and to promote dialogue around background checks for guns.  That received very little press or publicity either.

        The one area the progressive churches do get air time is in our (at least, in my area) unwavering support of marriage equality.  Sadly, I think it's because some so vehemently oppose it.

  •  Great post. I really like E. J. Dionne and Pope (12+ / 0-)

    Francis' orientations for the Church are the ones that I grew up with. I am very pleased, we are being refocused on the most important issues of human dignity (justice) and common good.

    "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

    by Patate on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:00:09 AM PDT

  •  Odd that when I read something like this (4+ / 0-)
    The persistence of poverty, the decline of social mobility and rising inequality in the U.S. all demand new departures in policy and politics.
    these days, I think of that Simpsons episode, "How to Serve Man."  Religious service of another kind.

    "You cannot win improv." Stephen Colbert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6tiaooiIo0 at 16:24).

    by Publius2008 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:01:19 AM PDT

  •  I don't think the new Pope will (7+ / 0-)

    change that much of what the Church teaches. But he seems less enthusiastic about forcing religious ideas on people who don't want it. That's a big difference.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:01:26 AM PDT

  •  Open hostility to people of faith (24+ / 0-)

    While I believe you when you say that you welcome religious progressives that view is held by vey few here on Kos and other progressive forums.  Never mind that the teachings of Jesus are in line with almost every progressive policy.  Never mind the policies of the GOP are counter to almost every teaching of Jesus.  Never mind religious progressives are some of the most active - faith without works is empty - progressives.  Action, not talk.  Yet it is common place for Christians - ALL Christians - to be lumped in with the right wing idiots who have never read the Bible and only know how to quote Leviticus.  Most of them are stuck in the old Testament and that makes them Jews, not a follower of Christ.  He brought a NEW Testament to replace the old yet they seem to be stuck do loop between Genesis and Deuteronomy.

    I go to church almost every week.  I have taught Sunday School, been a youth group leader and a member of the vestry.  My children are/were acolytes, choir members, were baptized and later confirmed in the church.  

    I believe in God AND Evolution.
    I believe in God AND choice.
    Im a Democrat BECAUSE I follow the teaching of Jesus.

    Progressives are missing an huge opportunity by their stupid, unthinking, non-progressive hostility to ALL Christians because of the stupid, unthinking, non-Christion actions of a small minority.  Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were open and proud of their faith.  So was Kennedy.  Just like Reagan wold never survive a primary in the GOP of today, I fear John Kennedy would never survive one in the climate of the Democratic Party of today.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:02:18 AM PDT

  •  The cartoon is sophomoric (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    Pulling out the "Jesus didn't talk about this" trope is a very weak argument.  He also didn't talk about nuclear war, capital punishment (except of course experiencing it), or climate change.

  •  I Predict The Non Religious Will Grow (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, ebirch1, Glenn45

    in leaps and bounds.  Organized religion is all about money.  Religion is a business.  I would rather give my money straight to those in need than giving to an organization that doesn't even believe in what I believe in.  Plus I am either an atheist or agnostic.  There is more of a freedom to question things than when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s.  When I was growing up I never questioned anything I was told by the catholic church.  Now I just think that the catholic church and their rituals are really archaic and cultish.  Most religions are more of a cult.  I think a person is better off going out into nature and sitting there real quiet and listening to the sounds around them and getting a better feeling of being human than sitting in a church.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:10:40 AM PDT

    •  I don't have a dog in that fight (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, tikkun, wishingwell

      nor can I predict the future all that well, for that matter.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:14:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perfect example (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, greenbell, tikkun

      of what I posted above.  You display a level of hostility to religion that can only come from ignorance.  

      "all about money" - Really?  So feeding poor people is all about money?  Because that is what my entire family did for 7 years at our church in California.  We fed and housed homeless men while they attempted to reintegrate.  The success rate  - home and job, no criminal activity for 5 years - was above 30%.  Ask anyone in the outreach business and they will tell you that is outstanding.  

      "all about the money" - so when my son spent last summer on a native american reservation with his youth group that was about the money?

      "all about the money" - when my wife spent 3 weeks cleaning up and repairing Mississippi after Katrina that was about the money?  Oh wait, it was because she paid her own expenses and paid for the tools and raw materials to do the repairs (and left the tools in the community so they could keep repairing).  

      You and the attitudes of people like you are what drives progressives who believe away.  Your views are so narrow you think they are broad.

      Thank you for providing the example.  Too bad its a bad one.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:37:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I predict (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat, Timaeus, greenbell, Done4nau

      That anyone who expects a natural withering away of organized religion is going to be sorely disappointed and has the same lack of understanding about human nature as conservatives who don't understand why black people tend to vote for Democrats.

      •  oh come on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell

        thousands of years of human history is bound to be wrong

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:16:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not on a decline? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, Glenn45, Tonedevil, Sparhawk

        Everything I have read seems to suggest that organized religion is in fact on a decline worldwide, particularly outside the US.

        There are less religious people in America than ever, and that percentage is far higher than in many European countries. A new report tries to explain why, and what future trends could be.

        But the report's authors say that more than just decline is in store for religion in some countries. It may be on the verge of extinction in nine nations: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

        It should be noted that this means the decline in the number of people who claim to adhere to any organized religious group. In surveys, fewer people than previously said that they were Catholics, Protestants, Islamic or any other religion. These numbers do not portray what these people, who no longer consider themselves followers of any particular faith, actually believe. Some are atheists, some are agnostics and some may have other ideas entirely.

        •  Actually, it's my understanding that the number (0+ / 0-)

          of Americans who identify as religious has more or less gone steadily up since the 1700s.

          The Tea Party types all look back to a hypothetical Golden Age where all the Founding Fathers were fervert Christians and everything was peaches and cream.  But that's completely backwards.

        •  Well lets start with "Fewer" instead of less (0+ / 0-)

          But yes, its very true.  Of course its kinda like saying there are fewer people participating in elections in Iraq now.  When Participation is 100% there is only one way to go.

          When you start with populations that had near or actual mandatory religion you have a large number of people who were not "true" believers.  "Officially" everyone in Afghanistan is Muslim yet many Afghans I knew cared little for Islam and had no desire to go to the Mosque.  If they suddenly had western style freedoms they would not go and there would be a dramatic drop.  Yet in reality there would be no drop in believers, just in the socially acceptable description of belief.

          I think you will see a long term trend in lower church attendance in previously "mandatory" countries.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:05:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't it also true in the USA? (5+ / 0-)
            “Nones” on the Rise
            The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

            In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).3

            Of course, I'm posting this from the Godless Black Hole known as Vermont ;)
            When it comes to God, Vermont’s just not that into Him. Or Her. Our ranking as America’s least religious state was reaffirmed by a Gallup poll in February that indicated only 23 percent of Vermonters consider religion an important part of their daily lives and attend religious services every, or almost every, week. Among the 50 states, only New Hampshire is as godless.
            •  I think that discounts our history (0+ / 0-)

              Remember, we were founded by people who left England because there was not ENOUGH church in the state.  Given there was an official religion, it speaks volumes about the earliest people on these shores.  It really wasn't until the late 60s that you saw a large portion of americans opting out of church and non-bleief has really only been "visible" since the 90s.  

              My father in law is from Vermont.  I swear once not going to church becomes a "thing" Vermonters will flock back.  Hipsters have nothing on Vermonters for being contrary.  

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:26:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think the history is (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Glenn45, Tonedevil, wishingwell, Sparhawk

                becoming less relevant.

                I don't see any signs of flocking back after living here 30 years, so I don't think that's going to happen, judging from every poll and study I have seen.

                At the end of the day, we probably all want to live in a world where our version of the Universe is shared by the people around us, to some extent!

        •  I would say transformation (0+ / 0-)

          rather than decline.  Being part of a church or faith community used to be a more-or-less unquestioned part of people's identity, like belonging to a political party, a service organization or something.  That is less the case now.

          As someone who is active in faith formation, I notice that the people who are coming into our doors these days are actively seeking to live a spiritual life as part of their identity and are looking for a place that is congruent with their values and meets their needs.  

          According to some of my seniors, it's much more intentional and much less automatic.  

          (I also live in a part of the country where church attendance is not the norm, if that makes a difference).

    •  One of the First Rules of Formal Dialog (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Greg Dworkin

      Religious an otherwise
      Do not presume to define your dialog partner.  That is his or her place; not yours.

      Greg, if you're still here, you might find the rules interesting since you have an innate sense for them..  Leonard Swidler from Temple University put them together so that people from various ideologies and religions could work together despite enormous amounts of baggage.  They are scholarly rather than religious because religious scholars needed to use each others source material.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:19:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So you can give money to one person (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia

      and maybe they eat one meal for one day. Or you can participate in a church that feeds the homeless, like the churches in my hometown, and feed maybe a hundred people or more every day.

      At its heart a church is no different than the Sierra Club, an organization like Rotary, or even a site like Daily Kos; it's a group of people gathering together for a common goal, in the case of religion a deeper understanding of what the Divine really is. And in time of crisis it's good to have a community for help and support; my mother-in-law can't get to church much anymore due to her age and disabilities, but she gets a visit every week by someone to bring her Eucharist and minister to her, and when my father died 44 years ago my family was deluged with casseroles which helped my mother considerably in not having to cook in the midst of her grief.

      Yeah, sometimes that does take money...after all, someone has to keep the lights on and the heat going plus all the other expenses. But in many churches, the money is just a small part of the equation.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:28:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As part of the faith community that is also (13+ / 0-)

    politically active and active in local community matters of social justice, I see a lot of progressive Christians doing a lot of good work. That being said, it's very true that there is a lot of "disengagement", especially among younger people in liberal religion.

    The idea of reaching out where there can be shared goals between religious liberals and religious conservatives is important. If we really could get working together on matters like social justice, it could go a long way toward weakening the strong bond the religious right has with the GOP. If people of faith on the right and the left demanded more income equality, for instance, the politicians would have to respond.

    SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

    by commonmass on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:17:20 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Greg, for drawing our attention... (5+ / 0-)

    to that report. I've only skimmed it this morning, but will read it more carefully later.

    This gets at the heart of the matter, imo:

    These groups have modeled an approach to government policy that casts civil society groups, including religious congregations and faith-based organizations, as partners with public programs. Their criticisms of the government’s efforts focus not on the “big” versus “small” government shibboleths that dominate so much of the public debate, but on how to make programs more effective and inclusive. (p. 42, emphasis mine)
    This is a reasonable and workable vision for the interaction of church and state and one certainly distinct from the theonomic/theocratic impulses of much of the religious Right.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:17:48 AM PDT

  •  Sorry. Does not follow standard template (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patate, paz3, Timaeus, greenbell, JeffSCinNY, tikkun

    The official progressive line on organized religion is that it's a tool of the oppressor, and a crutch for the weak-minded.

    And Catholicism is the worst offender.

    [Insert obligatory Diderot quotation about last priest, last king, guts and strangling here.]

    [Insert obligatory reference to perverts wearing dresses and little boys here.]

    [Optional: Condescending shout out to the Berrigans, or Dorothy Day]

    Thank you. We know we can count on your cooperation in this matter.

    "Politics is not the art of the possible.
    It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

    by Davis X Machina on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:21:56 AM PDT

  •  Hmmm (6+ / 0-)
    he brought up the problem of "disengagement," especially with younger Americans, which can be seen not just in disaffection with religion but also with politics and many other institutions.
    I see disaffection with religion as a good thing, not a "problem". But I can understand how religious people might feel otherwise.

    Politics, not so much.

    I get a very nervous about the intersection of religion and politics, like I am on the outside looking in, wondering what the hell people are talking about, and how I will be treated as one on the "faithless".

    Just sayin'. This stuff is freaky/scary for us pagan types.

    •  Right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsenski, Tonedevil

      Of course religious institutions would be worried about disengagement: their numbers and interest levels in industrialized countries are in terminal decline.

      Of course they want to "build coalitions": it's one of the few ways to stay relevant in a world that increasingly doesn't care what religious institutions have to say about anything.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:32:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I worry about it re politics (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Tonedevil, wishingwell

        disengagement is pretty broad. And I know we were referring to politics, not just religion, during the discussion.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:35:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is the type of condesending (0+ / 0-)

        comment that make me want to disengage from supporting the rights of atheists. Or, more pointedly, f % them and the horse they rode in on.  I'm done fighting battles for people who wouldn't walk across the street to support mine.

        Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

        by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:30:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't have any atheist battles... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          I'm engaged in currently, but I'm not going to cry about not having your weak sauce help in fighting them. And, thank you for letting me, as a casual yet lifelong atheist, know yet again how religious people feel about me.

          This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

          by Tonedevil on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:34:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I AM NOT "Religious People" (0+ / 0-)

            I don't make the simple minded mistake of speaking for others. I'm just me and I speak for myself.  There is nothing in the rule book that says Progressive Christians have to quietly and meekly allow anyone, be they movement atheists or right wing dominionists, insult us.  Actually, your being an atheist doesn't mean anything.  That's your personal thing; but the fact that you are an annoying, insulting and not very knowledgeable person who speaks in such a way as to drive off perfectly reasonable people, who happen to be Christian, is seriously offensive

            Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

            by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 05:30:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and Sparhawk is not "atheists" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil

              nor is Tonedevil. If you want to be treated as an individual speaking for yourself, please do the same with regard to atheists. Condescending comments from some Christians don't make me support the rights off Christians any less. I don't see why some atheists pissing you off would tempt you to not support the rights of atheists in general.

              Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:27:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Wait... (0+ / 0-)

              it is a fact that I'm an annoying, insulting, and not very knowledgeable person? When and how was this fact determined? What specifically have I done to drive off perfectly reasonable people, who happen to be Christian? I think you are barking up the wrong atheist.

              This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

              by Tonedevil on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:01:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  otoh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Timaeus, wishingwell

      "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit."   Matthew 7:18.

      Good people are good people, is how I take that.  

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:32:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disengagement (6+ / 0-)
    When I asked Dionne what his biggest concern was for moving forward on that, he brought up the problem of "disengagement," especially with younger Americans, which can be seen not just in disaffection with religion but also with politics and many other institutions.
    One of my themes is that there is too much individualism and that there is some relationship between the decline in organized religion and the decline of affiliation with other organized groups such as unions and political parties.  This is one reason why I am a non-libertarian liberal.
  •  The more you attend church, the more GOP votes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Sixty Something

    Thems the facts, Jack. Generally speaking. Democrats need to go after the evangelical vote, hold their noses, if need be. I am not a true believer but I know on which side my bread is buttered. Politically speaking, Democrats are getting creamed by Evangelicals every election without any attempt to court their vote. That's stupid. Dems need to invest some of our donations in "Democrats For Jesus" T-shirts, at the very least, because that is all many Evangelicals are interested in, period. I don't care why anymore. They have voted in some bad people and Democrats can help to stop it, but they need to behave as if they recognize the problem and also recognize Evangelicals as worthy of their attention. If not, look forward to more of GOP House and Senate victories.

    •  You don't understand... (0+ / 0-)
      Politically speaking, Democrats are getting creamed by Evangelicals every election without any attempt to court their vote.
      It's better to lose pure. It's the progressive way.

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:37:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know. I've attended church nearly every (11+ / 0-)

      Sunday of my life and have always been a Democrat and so have my parents and so were my grandparents.

      It depends upon which church one attends, I think, more than the act of attending it.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:45:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as has been said (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, tikkun, wishingwell

        it's more about your zip code than your genetic code.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:01:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nothing personal, but obviously (0+ / 0-)

        there are many exceptions to the rule. I have attended evangelical services with relatives who are strong Democrats also, and are less judgmental than I, and listened to the minister slam Obama in his sermon and heard the voices of approval among the flock. Glad to hear you are not a true sheep, but you must know most are and it is hurting this country by electing people like Bush and voting for people like Palin, etc. Christians are defensive when I bring this up. No need to be. It is just a fact of life I am pointing out; I think it is ridiculous and people who are not knee-jerk GOP, well, good on you, but Democrats have work to do.  

      •  And you've got plenty of Republicans (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Incredulousinusa

        who rarely darken the door of a local church; it's ironic that I'm the only member of the family that attends church with any frequency and I'm the one who's a progressive Democrat while my oldest siblings are staunch Republicans yet the only times they go to church are for weddings and funerals.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:44:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right-there are many exceptions, but (0+ / 0-)

          I have studied the voting of the Christian Right a bit. Take Oklahoma, for example. One source has the Evangelical population there at 54% of the total population. If they all voted, which they don't, at the going rate of 75% for Bush and other Republicans, the GOP would have 40% of the vote and would only need a little over 10% of the rest of the population. That is how important their vote is in that state and in many other states, ranging from 20%-40% or more of the vote. No wonder Republican politicians have those Cheshire Cat smiles. They are in the bag for the GOP, and it has gone on long enough, IMO.  

    •  Wait what? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Incredulousinusa

      Just because we are not the loudest doesnt mean we are not here.  I have never in my life belonged to a church were votes for Democrats outnumbered votes for Republicans.  Normally is 2-1 or 3-1 or better.  And I don't spend a lot of time looking for churches.  Oh and not just in "blue states."  Infact I had an easier time finding a "liberal" church in Manhattan Kansas than in Maryland.  Kansas, Texas, Maryland, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Washington, and Oklahoma.  Takes me about 10 minutes to find a congregation full of progressives.  

      Democrats abolutely DO NOT need to reach out to Evangelicals in any way other than reminding them that when they vote GOP, they vote AGAINST their beliefs.  Since most Evangelicals who are not already voting for Democrats don't really follow the teachings of Christ, there is no point to appealing to them on faith.  

      Jesus didn't tell them to hate.
      Jesus didn't tell them to scorn.
      Jesus didn't tell them to strike.

      If Guns, Gays and Obama care are what they think God is telling them is important, faith is not the way to reach them.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:09:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I disagree. Enough is enough. (0+ / 0-)

        Nothing wrong with winning more often and it will take a breakthrough with Evangelicals to win the House and Senate (Enough to get 60 votes, apparently). What is wrong with Democrats who are believers wearing T-shirts to help win some votes? Jesus would have been a Democrat and a progressive. He would not be a right-wing Christian. Big disconnect there, for one thing, just on philosophical level, so I say bring 'em on.

      •  You reach out to Evangelicals like you reach out (3+ / 0-)

        to any other voter.  You find common ground.   You don't go at them where you disagree.  They may not support gay marriage.  But they just might have a gay cousin or lesbian sister and they just might be more approachable than you think and eventually more persuadable.  Meanwhile, they just might join with you on some charitable endeavor.  

        I mean find myself all too many times humbled by the Republican Aunts who seem to be out there doing good works a lot more often than I am so we Progressives aren't always walking the walk either.

        •  agree all (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Incredulousinusa

          my point was that for the portion of the population who believes Jesus teaches them to hate, exclude, belittle and take up arms, no amount of outreach is going to work.  There are some - about 28% - who you just can't reach and there is little point in trying.  Kenan & Kel did a great skit where the president was "negotiating" with Republicans and they started by saying they disagreed - before he proposed anything.  That pretty much sums up 28% of the people.  Its not just Republicans.  We joke all the time in the Army about soldiers complaining about everything.  If you gave them Beer and Hookers they would complain.  "The beer sucks and the hookers are ugly."  If Jesus returned today some Evangelicals would complain about his timing…….

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:24:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Now we are talking. (0+ / 0-)

          There is no reason that makes any sense, to me, why Evangelicals cannot also be Democrats, but I believe the Democrats must start a dialogue with them which does not start with emphasizing their differences. I know so many Evangelicals who are so damned nice (put me to shame) and try to do the right thing, but they have a blind spot when it comes to voting, thanks to years of "family values", etc. etc. and they do not have a lot of reasons beyond that for voting Republican. The GOP gets 75% of their vote because they pander to them, mention "national days of prayer", and all kind of other red herrings. It galls me to see all those votes going for a Sarah Palin, for example, and many GOP House and Senate candidates simply because the GOP hooked up with the religious right. It is beyond time, IMO, to reach out to them, partly for political reasons and partly to try to bring this country back together.

  •  My first civil rights march... (11+ / 0-)

    ...at age 17 was with two Catholic priests who invited me to the march (1967).

  •  Great post, Greg! Pediatricians rock! (8+ / 0-)

    I am a Progressive Christian. Everything in your post makes sense to me. Thanks.

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:41:10 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Greg (9+ / 0-)

    I am a member of the UCC - why? Mostly for what the church fights for and stands for and the accepting of all and the good it does and the community of my local congregation. For "religion" - not so much. Great post.

  •  Great post thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, angry marmot

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

    by dopper0189 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:03:57 AM PDT

  •  There is one thing standing in the way (6+ / 0-)

    of a full embrace of religious progressives.

    It is the hostilitiy to women;s rights that too many religious progressives tolerate.

    Chief among them being E.J. Dionne.

    Absent resolving that tension, there are serious limits to the chance of such a full throated coalition.

  •  Great post. (6+ / 0-)

    I fear, however, that the cultural divide between religious progressives and conservative evangelicals might be too large to bridge. Those folks live in a completely different America. At least when it comes to national politics, we have a vast gulf between the two groups despite our shared faith in Jesus.

    However, their may be hope in the end. The evangelical movement is more diverse than we tend to think. Go to any magachurch and youre likely to see a far more ethnically diverse crowd than youd see at, for example, an ACLU convention. So there does exist a possibility,  at least, that Christians can find some future unity for the common good.

    Great, thought provoking post.

    •  for now, I'll settle for bridging the gap (6+ / 0-)

      between religious and secular progressives.

      I just think there IS hope down the road, if economic issues and/or stewardship of the earth are the topics.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:33:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love an optimist. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffSCinNY
      I fear, however, that the cultural divide between religious progressives and conservative evangelicals might be too large to bridge.
      I fear that the cultural divide between religious progressives and non-religious progressives is already too large to bridge.

      I take consolation, though, from the repeated assurances on this thread that the former are so small in number that their presence at the polls is not strictly necessary for the final progressive triumph.

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:38:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its actually the latter that is the smaller (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, tikkun

        number. The nonreligious comprised about 12% of the electorate in 2012 and went 70% for Obama. Black Protestants alone went 95% for Obama and they were 9% of the electorate. Latino Catholics were about 5% and went 75% for Obama. Jewish voters were 2% and went 69% for Obama and other faiths went 70% for Obama at 7% of the electorate.  Thats 23% of the electorate without even getting to White Protestants and Catholics. Obama won 44% and 40% of them respectively, and 21% of Mormons.

        Im leaving out White Evangelicals entirely and Obama got 20% of them.

        Thats all Pew.

        So if anything, it is actually the nonreligious who are the minority as far as the electorate goes. Not an insignificant one, mind you. But hardly close to a majority.

    •  I would also venture that not only do progressive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, tikkun, wishingwell

      and conservative Christians live in a different America, they also worship a different Jesus.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:07:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They have definitely bridged the gap (0+ / 0-)

      between black and white evangelicals who believe that  gay lives are an abomination, their word, not mine.  Gay black people need to call the black church to account on that one.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:52:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post. I was especially fascinated by (6+ / 0-)

    the Catholics vs. Evangelicals chart.  Catholics are well to the left of the Evangelicals on every single issue.

  •  Trade unionism in America was also rooted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, wishingwell

    in the church. One of the very first large national unions was of shoemakers called the Knights of St. Crispin, who is patron saint of cobblers. In fact, the landmark decision Commonwealth vs. Horne was decided by a devoutly religious judge. Terrence Powderly, a devout Catholic who led the Holy Knights of Labor was instrumental, along with labor advocate Cardinal Gibbons the Archbishop of Baltimore,  who persuaded the Pope to allow Catholics to join labor unions,  a key turning point in the American Union movement.

    At every turning point in the expansion of the American franchise, active people of faith are at the root.

    •  I wouldn't say "the" root (0+ / 0-)

      But certainly part of it. The activists you cite were also working in a social context in which secular reformism was on the rise.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will at least scan the report (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, Hammerhand, greenbell

    but at face value this all seems like old news to me.

    In addition to other concerns, I think there are two other barriers that need coordinated efforts.

    First off Christian faith has been at the backbone of the most significant progressive  politics of the 20th century.  And it's interesting to me that the civil rights movement is mentioned in the summary.  How many people who authored the report were participants in that movement?  I would like to make sure we're getting that insight from the generation of giants that will not be with us (in person) too much longer.

    Another barrier that progressive Christians are facing is the popular perception that the evangelical form is Christianity.  Evangelicals did their  PR well.  Many people without access to better information treat all Christians as if they had beliefs and practices that line up completely with evangelicals.

    That hurts progressive politics.  The noise that creates obscures the work being done by progressive christians and then also hurts their ability to appeal to religiously inclined people.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:36:32 AM PDT

    •  Galstion and Dionne are both (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Satya1, wishingwell

      veterans of that era.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:42:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As participants getting jailed (0+ / 0-)

        or as observers reporting the movement?

        In any case, I just read the top of the "What is Economic Justice" section and I'm feeling puzzled about why it is 80% about poll results.

        In my opinion, what is needed more than anything from progressives of all stripes is to stop dilly dallying about tackling institutional racism.  Sure, in recent years income inequality has increased, but I refuse to get behind any effort that lifts boats of white Americans and continues to ignore the persistence struggles of African Americans in housing, education, employment, voting rights and criminal justice, etc.

        There's a vague reference to it there, but it just tastes like milque toast in my mouth.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 12:30:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Satya1

          I can certainly ask. I know what I was doing at the time, and it was more about Vietnam than civil rights (born in '54), though MLK was part of the mix in my household.  They're both a few years older then me.

          I know they both study the era from a scholars POV.

          Funny thing is, as time goes on, there'll be less folks with actual on the ground experience a la Rep. John Lewis.

          Can't help you with what feels like milque toast when so much truly needs to be done. I see it as first steps not The Answer. I see Moral Mondays as a concrete example, built around voting rights. That is, IMHO, institutional racism in the worst way.

          "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 12:39:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah I think that is worth noting and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greg Dworkin

            is why I also mentioned it:

            Funny thing is, as time goes on, there'll be less folks with actual on the ground experience a la Rep. John Lewis.
            I would like to see some studies with more of their influence on it.  We're standing the shoulders of giants.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 12:51:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I also think it's fascinating to look at some of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Satya1

      the PRRI data, emphasizing your comment about diversity. See first chart.

      An, of course,not everyone is as familiar as yourself about the content. I wasn't.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:46:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's interesting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greg Dworkin, Sixty Something

        I'm glad if you got something out of it about the diversity among christians.  You may also find this interesting. Note these numbers when people were asked if humans existed from the beginning in the current form or were evolved over time.

        group                   fr. begin         evolved
        =============
        white evang. prot.     64                27
        unaffiliated               20                76
        white main prot.        15                78
        Mainline protestants are completely opposite of evangelicals in this.  Even the unaffiliated are not quite as sold on evolution as the white mainline protestants.

        In discussions about "Christians" at DK, how many do you think understand these key differences?

        On a personal note:  I'm a marginal Catholic with particular interest in the non-violence of Jesus.  I'm married to a Hindu and live in a very diverse multi-cultural "world".  I know atheists and Hindus that are more "christian" than some evangelical fundamentalists I've known.

        Let me also say what I've said before - I really enjoy your writing at DK.  Thanks for everything you do.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 12:48:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Evangelicals Is A Very Broad Term (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Greg Dworkin, greenbell, wishingwell

      There are evangelicals who are raving progressives.  It behooves non christian progressives to know who their allies are.  Those of us who know our allies don't have to worry as much about building bridges because we know where the work has already been done.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 02:03:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very true (0+ / 0-)

        and even as I apply the term "evangelical" I'm aware of very progressive leaning evangelicals in my area that I know.

        No block that involves millions of people that are scattered across every state should be overgeneralized.  We can't make assumptions about any one person because of a large demographic they happen to fall into.

        However, when I look at stats that matter to me, it is clear that white evangelicals, as a group, often are seriously f***ed up.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 02:27:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  While I Can't Completely Disagree (0+ / 0-)

          and while evangelicals tend to be annoying as a group, I think the more seriously dangerous groups are those we refer to as dominionists.  They base most of their theology, not on the New Testament, but on the book of Genesis; and they take very literally the direction to be fruitful and multiply and to "have dominion" over the whole earth. I'm sure this is more than any of us wants to know about the various divisions at the right wing end of the spectrum; but there are those who are real threats to our life, liberty, happiness and to the Republic; and there are those who are mainly annoyances.  It does make a difference to know the difference.

          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

          by tikkun on Sun May 04, 2014 at 05:08:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I tend to count fundies and dominionists (0+ / 0-)

            close to if not actually part of the conservative white evangelicals.  I think of them as something more akin to a subset than something altogether new.  They share a number of common characteristics.

            I'm not particularly worried about them because I believe the really hardcore dominionists are much smaller than the white evangelicals altogether.  I think the white evangelicals are more dangerous because of the large voting block they have become in some areas.

            I don't know that much about Dominionists but what I do know I get from Southern Poverty Law Center.  I've been a member for 5 years and they do great work.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:37:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •   I found someone who liked the post (9+ / 0-)
    Had a great conversation with Greg Dworkin @DemFromCT on religious progressives & economic justice. His fine piece:

    http://t.co/...
    @EJDionne

     

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:53:43 AM PDT

  •  Well, the hostility toward religion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, greenbell, nextstep

    that some progressives (including a fair number at this site) demonstrate does not help the situation.  

    Openly ridiculing religious beliefs (as I see here all the time) is not something that is going to attract religious people.  Do some people here really think that, for example, someone reading comments calling religious beliefs delusional, stupid, bigoted, whatever, is going to sway people to the progressive viewpoint?

    And, when someone outside of a particular faith is so unbelievably arrogant as to tell religious people what their own religion REALLY means (implying that they are too stupid to understand their own religion) -- that is the surest way of having religious people reject you politically.

    In my mind, the way to attract more religious people is to (1) find common ground where you CAN agree; AND AT THE SAME TIME  (2) make clear that you respect their right to their own religious beliefs -- even if you vehemently disagree with their religious beliefs. The goal is a government that is neutral on religious beliefs -- it neither promotes any particular religious belief, nor denigrates or intentionally inhibits any particular religious belief -- even if a lot of people find that religious belief abhorrent.  The message needs to be, "we respect your right to your own religious belief, even if we disagree with it.  But we expect the same of you -- that you respect the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, or lack of religious beliefs.  And neither of us can use government to take a side in our religious disagreement.  Government needs to leave us all free to follow our own faith, such as that may be, as long as we do not financially or physically harm others."  (As I've said, one of my favorite Jefferson quotes is "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.")

    It's that second part that some progressives seem to have a problem with.

    As long as Evangelicals or other religious people think that at least some progressives ridicule their religion, or have no respect for their religion, or even want to intentionally prevent them from following their religion,  that religion gap is not going to narrow.  

    It's one of the real problems I have with some "progressives" on this site.  I put "progressives" in quotes because "progressive" ought to include tolerance and respect for those whose beliefs -- religious beliefs -- are different from yours. And sometimes I see a lack of  
    that here.  

  •  The main difficulty, as I see it lies in the way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdriftmeyer

    belief-systems/religions view the REALITY of governments, as opposed to the way in which they view the matter of their beliefs.  In our Western world we have a major historical theme that seems to arise every time belief-systems/religions seek to find a common ground from which to work on solutions to major problems in secular matters.  This historical theme can be summed up as the problem left by the 100 Years War, the ultimate Treaty for which established the position of "Cujus regio, ejus religio."  "Whoever be the Prince, his is the religion" - as it gets rendered in English most of the time.

    Romanism stands upon the ground that the "Prince" is, somehow, someway, a "God given", "Holds by Divine Right", and one whose existence depends upon his adherence to the Roman Religion; because the Pope, as Pontifex Maximus - Caesar's Title as Head of the Empire at any and all religious celebrations - can make, or depose Princes - and all other forms of government as well.  Vide:  Unam Sanctam and A Syllabus of Errors; both supposedly "infallible" pronouncements from "God's Vicar on Earth".

    Our own SECULAR Representative Republic regards any and all belief-systems/religions as being equal, both as to their freedom of existence and their freedom of expression - as we read in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.  Additionally, the United States has NO PRINCES either in its history or its present governmental form.

    And, whether we, as "modern" men and women, like it or not, the major belief-systems/religions of Western civilization come from the European background of the Treaty - and its principal feature - as mentioned above.

    Thus, for Romans - in the strictest sense of "belief" - it will always be a matter of a form of "descending" approval - i.e., the Pope speaks, and the Religion/Church follows.  While for most Protestants, it will be a serious attempt to discover what the historical "Prince" of the founder's day and age wound up letting Preachers, et. al. do, think, say, and permit.  And/or, it will be a matter of the local Preacher acting as surrogate "Prince" in this day and age, with his people to follow as he allows - much more of the second response today than in, say, even the middle 1900s.

    Popes will rarely differ from the "established" form of their DOCTRINE(S).  Preachers will, generally speaking, find support in whatever part of their mythology book they use most in their own presentations.  And, unfortunately, since neither of these basic foundations is even closely congruous with the other, any attempt at a REAL COALLITION, with both parties directing their efforts to the same end, will be very hard to achieve, with equally tenuous and temporary success at best.

    In the meantime, the very sad, but also very GENUINE antithetical relationships among them all, will serve to vitiate whatever might be done even further.  Both sides REALLY WANT A TOTAL THEOCRACY - though both sides will deny that goal, just as loudly as possible - and both sides want THEIR SIDE to be IT!

    The achievement of goals in attaining betterment for others are, and should be, strictly limited to SECULAR, CIVIL COALITIONS, as belief-systems/religions are never truly equipped, nor truly interested, in the reality of the "common good and general welfare".

  •  Dr. Greg, I read what You write often, and never (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin

    comment, Thank You for ALL You do.

  •  When Progress moves beyond Myth, then it's Change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gsenski

    When billions still believe in an imaginary friend, some broken down drunk who Gabriel bestowed the untainted word of a fable to, or the original self-proclaimed enslaven chosen ones, it is really hard to see the following words together:

    Religious Progressives.

    Sorry, but we left the Age of Darkness for the Age of Reason in the late 1700s.

    Rehashing dead myths that mock a much richer mythology of many now deceased civilizations, in the twenty-first century is beyond sad.

    We have progressed in Science more in 20 years than we did the prior 3 million plus years since homo habilus, but we still drag out the shadows of Fear and Faith as if they are Totems of Wisdom.

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