Decades ago, the organized “religious right” was politically very powerful. Such organizations as The Moral Majority and The Family Research Council formed vital parts of the “conservative movement.” During the Reagan years these organizations galvanized a very substantial segment of the Republican electoral coalition.
But what about the religious left? Is that even a thing? And how much does it matter? It is a thing, and it matters more than many realize.
Admittedly, the religious left was more influential in the struggles during the 1960s about civil rights, poverty, and the Vietnam war than it has been since. Non-believers were only a small minority of Americans in that era and prominent clergy took the progressive side to great effect. Today the ranks of “nones” are growing fast, but there are still many religious believers who consider themselves progressives on moral and political issues.
But how much do people on the religious left actually bring their religion into their politics nowadays? Don’t progressives, as a matter of high principle, dislike that sort of thing?
Yes and no. They seem to dislike it only when they dislike the religious beliefs being invoked. When religious belief motivates or matches progressive positions, the religious left has no problem bringing it into politics.
Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has brought religion in again — much to the approval of other progressives. Buttigieg is the first and only gay candidate for the Presidency…."If me being gay was a choice,” Buttigieg said, “it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade.” He continued by saying, “[T]hat's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Such differences, and others centering on religion, are not about to disappear. That same-sex marriage was deemed a constitutional right by a five-four vote of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 no more settles theological differences about homosexuality than Roe v. Wade has settled differences about abortion. And that’s not to mention the regular religious liberty battles that take place over contraception payments, wedding cake baking, or employment discrimination. Religious change, and religious opposition to such change, continue to fuel the culture war, which is a very important driver of our politics.
So don’t fall for the idea that only conservatives bring religion into politics. Progressives do it too. It’s unavoidable, and it may even be growing.
(Liccione, “The Religious Left May Be Poised for a Comeback,” Intellectual Takeout Online May 7, 2019).
[It is Buttigrieg whose quarrel is with “the Creator,” for we know from His Word what He has said about what man has done with Creation.” See Romans:1:22-28.]