By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
I've got a new story up on usnews.com about the fight among left-of-center religionistas to define the agenda for the burgeoning "religious progressive" movement, with more centrist groups like Faith in Public Life on one side and proud religious leftists like Pastor Dan over at Street Prophets on the other. Here's the gist:
It's hard to remember a time in the past three decades when there was so much faith-based activity on the political left. Groups like Catholics United and Faith in Public Life didn't even exist before the 2004 election, when Democrats got walloped by so-called values voters.
But as left-of-center religious voices have crescendoed into a full-blown movement, there has been a break in the ranks. Some grass-roots religious liberals are charging that supposedly progressive religious groups like Faith in Public Life and Catholics United have gone centrist, turning their backs on true progressive values. These proud religious leftists say that Washington's purportedly progressive faithful are more concerned with wooing religious conservatives into the Democratic Party. As opposed to battling the religious right, religious leftists say, Washington's new breed of religious progressives want to co-opt the religious right's base. "A lot of people in the mushy middle want to call themselves progressive," says Dan Schultz, who runs the popular religious-left blog Street Prophets and frequently criticizes more moderate liberal voices, including Faith in Public Life and Jim Wallis. "If all you want to do is talk to conservatives and incorporate conservative ideas, are you really a progressive?"
Indeed, at a moment when the number of alternative faith-based voices to the religious right has exploded, the debate on the left between liberal and more centrist religious voices is raising questions about exactly what it means to be a religious progressive.
Read the full piece here. And let me know where you come down in this debate to define what it means to be a religious progressive.