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Thread: 'Religious Left' Emerging as U.S. Political Force

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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    'Religious Left' Emerging as U.S. Political Force

    It has taken the religious right decades to become the powerful force they've proven to be, but that doesn't mean the religious left can't start influencing policy and elections in the present and it appears they have been roused in the wake of Trump and his divisive and cruel ideas and policies.

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

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

    "The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action," she said.
    Religious progressive activism has been part of American history. Religious leaders and their followers played key roles in campaigns to abolish slavery, promote civil rights and end the Vietnam War, among others. The latest upwelling of left-leaning religious activism has accompanied the dawn of the Trump presidency.

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

    Although support for the religious left is difficult to measure, leaders point to several examples, such as a surge of congregations offering to provide sanctuary to immigrants seeking asylum, churches urging Republicans to reconsider repealing the Obamacare health law and calls to preserve federal spending on foreign aid.
    "This is not about partisanship, but about vulnerable populations who need protection, whether it's the LGBT community, the refugee community, the undocumented community," said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, using the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

    More than 1,000 people have already signed up for the center's annual Washington meeting on political activism, about three times as many as normal, Pesner said.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news...e-in-trump-era

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    I don't really feel the religious left ever really went away. They are very active up here in New England. Liberal Irish, French and Italian Catholics have a good hold on northeastern cities. In Boston, they used to be referred to as "Flynn liberals" after former mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn, who went on to be ambassador to the Vatican. Joe Biden is another.
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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    I don't really feel the religious left ever really went away. They are very active up here in New England. Liberal Irish, French and Italian Catholics have a good hold on northeastern cities. In Boston, they used to be referred to as "Flynn liberals" after former mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn, who went on to be ambassador to the Vatican. Joe Biden is another.
    True, but people like Biden have rarely overtly used religion to influence policy or elections. (Catholics don't tend to wear their religion on their sleeves in quite the way some Protestants do.) In light of current events it seems the religious left are being more obvious and activist than they've been for a while.
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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    True, but people like Biden have rarely overtly used religion to influence policy or elections. (Catholics don't tend to wear their religion on their sleeves in quite the way some Protestants do.) In light of current events it seems the religious left are being more obvious and activist than they've been for a while.
    Ray Flynn used to heavily wear his faith on his sleeve and took issue with abortion and gays. It kind of made him very popular with elderly democrats but not younger ones. Not sure how that would work today?

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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Ray Flynn used to heavily wear his faith on his sleeve and took issue with abortion and gays. It kind of made him very popular with elderly democrats but not younger ones. Not sure how that would work today?
    I think as long as churches are more open about things like homosexuality and women's rights and issues - and more churches are becoming open to those things - young people are more likely to overlook opposition to abortion. I think young people really like Pope Francis who would NEVER approve of abortion but he is liberal on several other issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    True, but people like Biden have rarely overtly used religion to influence policy or elections. (Catholics don't tend to wear their religion on their sleeves in quite the way some Protestants do.) In light of current events it seems the religious left are being more obvious and activist than they've been for a while.
    It seems to be an evangelical thing. They're on a crusade. The vast majority of mainstream Christians I've known during my life are perfectly happy to keep their religious beliefs out of their political life, for the most part. They're good and decent people, some on the left and some on the right, who like a lot of other people want what's best for their country and their fellow citizens. The loud and overbearing voices of Christianity in politics are the minority and, in my opinion, are not representative of the whole at all.
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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boontito View Post
    It seems to be an evangelical thing. They're on a crusade.
    Its a southern thing though I feel. I just don't see it anywhere else like that. A friend of my daughters moved down south months back and her neighbors visited her at her new home to welcome her. One of the first things they did was give her the Pastors name and phone number and what time service was at their church. That's very pushy to me, assuming everyone that moves there or lives there belongs to the same church or faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Its a southern thing though I feel. I just don't see it anywhere else like that. A friend of my daughters moved down south months back and her neighbors visited her at her new home to welcome her. One of the first things they did was give her the Pastors name and phone number and what time service was at their church. That's very pushy to me, assuming everyone that moves there or lives there belongs to the same church or faith.
    I see it out here in Washington (and we're in the north!) among evangelicals. So much time spent organizing and attempting to inject their personal religious values into anything public. I'm not even saying it's wrong, they have the right to be politically active just like anyone else. I'm just saying there's a noted difference between their actions and mainstream Christianity.

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    GOOD!

    They have been silent too long.

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    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    I don't really feel the religious left ever really went away. They are very active up here in New England. Liberal Irish, French and Italian Catholics have a good hold on northeastern cities. In Boston, they used to be referred to as "Flynn liberals" after former mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn, who went on to be ambassador to the Vatican. Joe Biden is another.
    BINGO! They just DON'T make public declarations or SPECTACLES of themselves. I am AMONG them. I'm not a believer myself but the whole 25 years I've been 'involved' with DEM politcs, I run among them. (A couple of times they even managed to drag me to 'mass'. The walls of the church didn't come tumbling down as I feared but it also didn't 'take' either).

    PS New England, MA, (NEON 'BLUE') in particular, the lowest divorce rate in the country and least amount of abortions. Go figure.

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