“There is a silent majority of moderate and progressive Christians out there and other people of faith who have felt completely left out of the conversation,” Jim Wallis, a leading evangelical activist, told AFP.
Christians opposed to Bush, the most overtly religious president of modern times, say his war in Iraq, and tax cuts which they claim favor the rich, do not square with a faith which teaches followers to love their neighbor.
“We can no longer stand by and watch people speak hatred, division, war and greed in the name of our faith,” said Patrick Mrotek, founder of the new Christian Alliance for Progress. “We must reclaim our faith.”
Good for them. I honestly had no idea there was a budding progressive christian movement.
National Council of Churches
various “mainstream Protestant” denominations- the Episcopal Church,
the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church,
the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Church of Christ all have
large progressive/liberal wings
Yeah, they’ve been around a long time, but how effective have they ever been in countering the constant and LOUD noise coming from the Christian political Right? Maybe they’ll finally get organized and actually DO something instead of sitting on their hands softly chanting “Not all Christians are like that…Not all Christians are like that…”
Actually, he’s a Politician. Their doctrine is kind of amorphous and to an outside observer looks a lot like appeasement of whatever faction happens to be holding the leash at the moment. The religious sects which hold Politicianism to be a heresy tend to change from time to time, usually depending, again, on who’s holding said Politician’s leash at the moment…
I am happy to hear that the non-conservative christians exist and that some are banding together. It’s just that in my experience, 90% of the self-identified christians I have met consider themselves conservative. So I doubt that the non-conservative ones amount to a large enough number to be significant. I’d love to be proven wrong.
How many Catholics do you think would’ve voted for Kerry if their leadership wasn’t telling them they’d go to hell if they did? I think a lot would have. I was proud that almost all the christians I knew voted for Kerry last year, even the conservative ones like my wife’s parents and grandparents. My conservative christian grandfather was going to vote for a Democrat for the first time in his life had he made it to the election. Bush’s win really, really, honestly shocked me last year.
Bush is no more christian than Kerry. He’s just better at convincing people that he is, and I believe it worked.
The christians I know that voted for Bush seemed to think (or, rather, seem to have been convinced by their parents) that a vote for Bush was a vote for Jesus. PERIOD. A vote for Kerry would’ve been a vote for the Devil.
I think a group like the one mentioned in the OP could do a lot of good by letting christians know that they don’t have to let themselves be guilt-tripped, Jesus-tripped, or strong-armed into voting for a conservative.
Such data tends to make me believe that more traditionally defined protestant christians (those believing Jesus was the son of God born of a virgin) were voting for Bush over Kerry in landslide numbers. A landslide being defined as "greater than 60% of the vote.
Which to me continues to suggest that liberal and moderate christians, even combined, are significantly outnumbered by conservative christians.
Does anyone have good numbers, or even mediocre numbers, on how many protestant christians stand in each camp?
I have no numbers, nor any cites, but as a Liberal and a Christian (of the born again/non denominational variety) I am finding myself having conversations with other Christian friends and finding their views to be amazingly Liberal as well, and so am encouraged that perhaps we can “come out” and make a difference.
I think it’s more accurate to say that they disagreed with Kerry more than they disagreed with Bush. There are many politically moderate Christians who have big problems with Bush’s economic policy, hawkish war policies and death penalty history, but they were even more turned off by Kerry’s liberal social policies and clumsy (hypocritical?)attempts to embrace his catholicism. I’m not saying Bush is a better Christian – or that even if he were, that it would make him a better President – but he certainly understands the majority of evangelical and Catholic Christians better than Kerry did.
That’s what he calls himself, but he has not gone to church in DC since he’s been President. To me, it doesn’t make sense for a President who gets such mileage from being religious not to go to church, unless he’s trying to avoid being pinned down on matters of doctrine.
It’s probably true that the conservative Christians outnumber the progressives, but I wonder if some of that is a reaction to the rhetoric. Groups like Focus on the Family have been very vocal about characterizing the “Christian” position on a lot of issues, and I can’t help but think that a lot of people go that way just because they want to be good Christians.
A stronger and more unified voice for progressive Christians would be a very helpful thing, IMO.
Granted that makes a majority. But it still leaves about 22-48% who disagree with those views, which is a viable amount of people. And you have to consider that progressive christians do not have foundations or organizations to get their message out like conservative christians. I would support progressive christian politicians, even though I am not christian myself and I’m sure alot of other people would too.
75% of those respondents identify themselves as catholic or protestant, however their belief in using religion to fight poverty & homelessness is much stronger than their belief on using them to fight gay marriage and abortion
Poverty pro 90% con 10%
Hunger pro 92% con 7%
Homelessness pro 92% con 7%
Abortion pro 62% con 35%
Gay marriage pro 50% con 47%
That poll, plus the polls in my OP show that the majority of people agree with progressive christian values more than conservative christian values.
But there is hope to be had in a post-election poll that found that 33 percent of voters cited “greed and materialism” as the country’s greatest moral problem. Another 31 percent said “poverty and economic justice.” Only 16 percent rated abortion the most urgent, and 12 percent chose same-sex marriage.
If it wasn’t for abortion & maybe the gay issues, a lot more evangelical C’tians
might be more confortable with voting Democratic. While I favor free-market
economics over redistributionism & military strength/foreign policy toughness over
arms control/appeasement, I certainly can see the Biblical points for either side.
Btw, progressive C’tians Jim Wallis & Ron Sider are more conservative on the first two issues I raised than other prog-C’tians.
As to why the Christian Right is so much louder than the Christian Left, look at which churches are growing & which are shrinking. To use the Anglican Communion as an example, its hope lies more with N.T. Wright (a theological concretist & political moderate/economic liberal) than with J.S. Spong (a political liberal & theological abstractist- to use Wrightsian terms) or even perhaps AMIA.