Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a liberal evangelical policy advocacy group, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 1/28/12. Photo credit: World Economic Forum (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a liberal evangelical policy advocacy group, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 1/28/12.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum (CC-By-SA 2.0)

A new report from a center-left think tank is questioning the appeal and impact of the Religious Left. It also touts economic justice as the most “fertile ground of this era” for liberal religious political mobilizing, with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as the exemplar.

The study released by the Brookings Institution titled “Faith in Equality: Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives” notes the major impact of Religious Left voices have had throughout American history. But it cites challenges to religious political witness from growing secularization, divisions between religious and secular Americans, and weakened infrastructure for liberal churches.

The report finds that the Religious Left has not played a central role in organizing for Democrats the way religious conservatives have for Republicans. The success of Democrats in 2008, it argues, “led not to a redoubling of interest on the progressive side religion, but quite the opposite … Engagement with religion atrophied.”

Historically, liberal religion leads to spiritual atrophy, as the embers of faith and doctrine cool, so too understandably do religious zeal, loyalty and motivation.

So the Religious Left has always carried the seeds of its own demise. Its future always depends on doctrinally conservative churches and believers becoming liberal.

The old Religious Left is mostly faded, having helped marginalize the once Mainline churches whose elites sustained it. Now liberal religious activism depends on Evangelicals falling away from the core of their faith. And so the cycle continues.

Instead of generating more Religious Left dead-end activism for, as suggested, economic justice, i.e. Welfare & Regulatory State advocacy, why not a new church public witness rooted in Christian orthodoxy and natural law? Why not social holiness centered on spiritual rejuvenation instead of social justice centered on coercive redistribution and bureaucratic centralization?

The Civil Rights Movement depended on biblical anthropology. So too must any faithful and effective religious political witness.

  1. The liberal churches around here have certainly organized for the Democrats. They tend to work out of sight, along with the unions, and their members join and support leftist non-profits, which back the Democrats and Leftists causes. They are the “church” of NPR and PBS. They are also involved in the “emerging church movement.” Now, that is a scary one. They were involved in the 1960s radical movement and have not stopped. They use their money and power in political ways and their goals are not Christian. Christians have to be very wary today when looking for a Christian Church.

  2. More and more moderates and liberals are moving away from religion because they don’t want to be associated with the bullying tactics of the right wing conservatives. Kids who don’t get indoctrinated into religion at a young age are very unlikely to follow a religion as they get older. Essentially, right wing conservatives are destroying religion in America.

    The number of people who no longer affiliate themselves with a religion has doubled to 1 in 5 people in just the last twenty years and it will go up exponentially unless something changes.

  3. Will have to read Mark Tooley’s book “Taking back the United Methodist Church”.

    My question(s) to Liberal christians and Liberal Pastors. If this is all about “Redistribution” Why O Why did God the Father fail to answer to God the Son’s anguished scream/cries and drops of blood in Gethsemane?

    Yeah, it’s all about redistribution/Wide Road/S

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