Faith

The 'religious left' is on the move

'The O'Reilly Factor' examines a Washington court ruling against a Christian florist

 

With President Donald Trump's election to office, Christian progressives have taken a more vocal stance on issues such as climate change and social justice -- while conservative Christians are holding their ground.

"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," notes Scott Malone in a piece that appeared in Reuters.

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Among other policies, the Trump administration has proposed budget cuts in foreign aid at the State Department and at the international development agency USAID.

Republicans have been trying to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care law, which is of course a major priority for conservatives. On Friday, House Republicans pulled a bill that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare.

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"Although not as powerful as the religious right, which has been credited with helping elect Republican presidents and boasts well-known leaders such as Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson, the 'religious left' is now slowly coming together as a force in U.S. politics," Reuters noted. (Pat Robertson ran for president during the 1988 presidential race.)

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has sparked some who are among the "religious left" to take a more politically active view on certain political issues.

"I would say that it falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model, which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences," Francis said last November.

The Vatican has also voiced concern over Trump's executive order banning immigrants from certain countries, noting, "Certainly there is worry because we are messengers of another culture, that of openness," the Vatican's deputy secretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, told an Italian Catholic television station.

Reuters noted, "The new political climate is also spurring new alliances, with churches, synagogues and mosques speaking out against the recent spike in bias incidents, including threats against mosques and Jewish community centers."

Issues such as gay marriage and abortion have long been controversial in church circles.

While the "religious right" still dominates the political philosophy in many American churches, some churches have tried to bridge the divide and not play politics in places of religious worship.

"For the vast majority of American Christians, politics is hardly the chief priority in their lives. Indeed, I'd argue (contrary to flawed media perceptions) that most Christians haven't paid sufficient attention to politics," David French wrote in National Review this month.