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doni_georgia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:40 AM
Original message
Where is the Religious Left?
Been posting on another thread, but decided to move my thoughts to a new topic.

For the past 20 years or so, the religious right has been an increasingly vocal and powerful political force. Not too long ago in American history, though, it was the religious left who made their mark. Christians of a different stripe fought for abolition of slavery, the right of women and minorities to vote, the formation of labor unions, child labor laws, the end of segregation, and reproductive choices for women. These religious Americans were led by their own religious convictions to speak out to end policies and practices that they saw as directly conflicting with their faith. They were successful in every endeavor. So where are these voices today?

We're still here! We have not been silenced. We have not flip-flopped and changed sides. We are still actively pursuing causes based on our own personal religious beliefs.

Mainstream protestant groups are still speaking out for civil rights, social justice, democracy, religious tolerance and freedom, and peace. We work together with peoples of other religions in many liberal causes. And we also work in denomination-specific groups to address these issues. Problem is, we get very little press, except for when we are attacked by the likes of Pat Robertson, or when a more conservative congregation in our denomination decides to leave.

Why is this? Part of the problem is that we do not seek to bring attention to ourselves - unlike our opponents on the right. It isn't about us. It's about walking our walk of faith. Tomorrow there is a march in Washington for women's reproductive rights. Among the co-sponsors of the march are the United Methodist Church, Prebyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church of America, United Church of Christ, groups of liberal Catholics and Lutherans, Unitarian Universalists, ,and various eccumenical organizations. You won't hear about this unless you go to the denomination web sites for these groups, or unless you listen to American Family Radio, where we will no doubt be villified by the right. But tomorrow, in our nation's capital, American Christians will march side-by-side Americans of other faiths or no faith to declare the right of choice for all women.

We on the left in American churches are fighting other fights as well. We are calling for Congress to table the marriage ammendment. We are seeking the right of GLBT people to become ordained ministers (this is an on-going battle in our denominations), and to have the right same rights as heterosexual Americans. We are calling for an end to the war in Iraq.

You hear the hate-filled rhetoric of the right. What you do not hear are the passionate cries of good, honest loving pastors across this nation calling for the people in their churches to be loving and tolerant and resist hate and oppression. My pastor is not great at oratory. You will never see him addressing throngs on TV, but he speaks weekly to us about our duty to love and to speak out for justice. He calls out for peace, and asks us to pray for an end to this war on Islam. He calls for unity in our affirmation of gays and lesbians to have the same civil rights as the rest of America.

We are here, and we are still fighting the fight. We hate what is being said and done by a minority of people who claim to be the same religion as us (of course they do not believe we are the same religion - Pat Robertson calls us the "spirit of the antichrict"). We are Christians who believe that religion is a personal choice. We believe that no religion in America should tell another what to do or believe. Ours is a religion of inclusion not exclusion. We are here and we will continue to fight for justice, freedom and equality.
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IronLionZion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Here I am
liberal Christian checking in
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noahmijo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. Catholic right here
Who cannot understand how you can support the same values as Bush or Ashcroft and call yourself a Christian.
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sallyseven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. bush and company are
not Christians. They are greedy, money grubbing, evildoers of a high magnitude. Some day they will meet their maker and be struck down. But until then we should beat the hell out of him in the election. Get him and his weirdo's out of the government. That goes for congress too.
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atreides1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. Episcopalian
Checking in.
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freetobegay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
4. Religious left keeps in in the Church where it belongs
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 11:49 AM by freetobegay
Not in politics. IMO thats where the religious left is.

ON EDIT: I am Lutheran.
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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
6. I guess we just believe people should do as they wish.
The Right seem to want us to believe like them and are so un-sure that they act that way.
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Proud_Lefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
7. Randi Rhodes said it beautifully this week.
Jesus was a liberal! Look at his life and what he taught. He was nothing at all like the greedy religious right and supporting government.
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Design8edGrouch Donating Member (78 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Not only is Jesus a Liberal,
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 12:30 PM by Design8edGrouch
God is soft on crime. He commuted the sentences of Adam and Eve. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer and took out a contract on his lover's husband. And, St. Paul was a spree killer. God found away to restore each of these men and put them to use doing good work.

On edit I am a Southern Baptist. I know that doesn't sound like a very open place to liberality, but what can I say.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. Where is the religious left? RIGHT HERE:
If you want to find see the religious Christian Left, look in these directions:

Topics (all authors of multiple books, many frequent public speakers)
Liberation Theology - social justice
Feminist Theology - gender equality, social justice
Process Theology - freedom, justice, critique of classical theism

Individuals all authors of multiple books, many frequent public speakers):
John Spong (many articles critical of RW politics)
John Cobb (many books and articles critical of RW)
Michael Lodahl
Rita Brock
Majorie Suhocki
Kathering Keller
Charles Hartshorne (deceased now)
David Ray Griffin
Elizabeth Johnson
G. Gutierrez (still alive? pioneer of liberation theology)
Sharon D. Welch
Marcus Borg
William R. Herzog
(List not meant to be exhaustive at all, just examples)

Orgainizations:
Center for Process Studies
http://www.ctr4process.org /

Interfaith Alliance:
http://www.interfaithalliance.org /

Anglicans for Justice:
http://www.everyvoice.net /

Center for Progressive Christianity
http://www.tcpc.org /

Religions for Peace
http://www.wcrp.org /

Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty
http://www.deathpenaltyreligious.org /

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace
http://www.sojo.net /

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
http://www.iccr.org /

Christian Ecology Links:
http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/weblinks.htm#usa

These are just a few examples.




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dae Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. sojo.net is an excellent site with a very good weekly email.
They also publish a magazine you can subscribe too.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
9. Article: religious issues left to GOP, pastor says
I'll probably make this a separate thread at some point.

Religious issues left to GOP, pastor says
Debate over values also should include how needy are treated, advocate contends.

Associated Press
April 2, 2004


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A leading voice in the social justice movement said Democrats allow Republicans to define how religion is discussed in public.

The Rev. Jim Wallis is the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine and convener of the anti-poverty Call to Renewal network of faith-based organizations.

He said that by making faith private, Democrats ignore the contributions of religious organizations to social movements and allow Republicans to define how religion is discussed in public.

http://www.indystar.com/articles/1/134452-9651-098.html

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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
10. Fellow United Methodist, Doni...
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 12:23 PM by DesertedRose
...and I read your previous posts in the other thread. I feel your pain and frustration.

No doubt other United Methodists are frustrated too, since Dubya affiliates himself as Methodist.

The crux of Methodism is social justice.
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Catt03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. Here...Catholic
(however, believe in birth control and choice) but still a Catholic.

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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
13. Bill Moyers...does he qualify?
From the "NOW" website on PBS:

Before entering broadcasting Moyers was Deputy Director of the Peace Corps in the Kennedy Administration and Special Assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1963-1967, including two years as White House press secretary (a recent survey of readers of American Journalism Review named Moyers "the best White House press secretary of all time.") He left the White House in January 1967 to become publisher of Newsday. For 12 years Moyers was a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and currently is president of The Florence and John Schumann Foundation. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Organization of American Historians.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, Mr. Moyers began his varied career as a cub reporter on the Marshall News Messenger at age 16. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, which has presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award, and holds the Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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dae Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
14. Another here, and I'm Episcopalian.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
15. Yep, we're stil here
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
16. here's another organization
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 01:11 PM by grasswire
The Other Side -- a publication of peace and justice. An OUTSTANDING magazine for those on the religious left.

http://www.theotherside.org


And don't forget Tikkun!

And don't forget the Unitarian denomination!
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doni_georgia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
18. Thanks for all the responses!
Nice to see us check in. I think as liberal Christians we sometimes just need to see other like-minded individuals. I really believe this war in Iraq and this election where so many of our freedoms are threatened will bring the religious left back to the fore front and will move many traditional mainstream Christians who do not support the right-wing extremists out of their silence.
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Kazak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
19. UU here...
You're definitely right. Religious liberals definitely suffer from a lack of organization, I think. It largely has to do with our tolerant nature; no deisre to enforce our agenda onto others with differing viewpoints. This problem should definitley be remedied somehow, or one day, we may be a thing of the past...
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walmartsucks Donating Member (149 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
20. Religious left? Oxymoron.
eom
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. no.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
22. There is a fundimental (no pun) problem
Hey I get to reuse a subject line! :)

One of the principles of most left leaning religions is tolerance of others beliefs. Also present is a rejection of evangelyzing. This combination creates a people that are open to the presense of other beliefs who do not attempt to force their beliefs on these other people. Great for the community, unfortunate for recognition of their particular belief system.

I suspect what needs to happen to not only bolster the awareness of liberal religion but also quell the excesses of the religious right is to open more dialog on the matter. I can atest to the fact that many atheists are completely unaware of the various stripes that religion can come in. They see liberal Christians in particular as a extrodinary anamoly.

The hurdle we have to overcome is that our society has created a taboo of talking about religion. Thus we each fall into our own camps and can only find discussions about how the other camps are so full of themself. We need to bust this taboo in a big way. We simply do not currently have the skills or tools to dicsuss religion without stepping on each others toes. But these will come in time. For now we have to put our vaulted tolerance to work and discover the ways we can open discourse on this subject.

The advantage of our post modern society is it allows for a diverse group of cultures and beliefs to live along side each other. The disadvantage is it causes this seperation of the people and encourages ignorance over time. The only way to fight this is by recognising it and working to keep the gap from growing. We cannot stuff a believer or nonbeliever into a niche. We need to find out who they are. We need to open the world of beliefs to the light of day and let growth start again. Shutting things up in the dark only leads to stagnation. So while it may be uncomfortable at times, there are teachings in all our cultures that advise us to be tolerant and we are all benefitted by seeking the truth.
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