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message for U.S. political debate:
Love your enemy, care for the poor
Religion Taking A Left Turn?
July 10, 2006
a church in Washington, hundreds of committed Christians met recently
and tried to map out a strategy to get their values into the political
"Right now the war in Iraq costs us $1 billion per week," said Rev. Jim Wallis, a Christian activist. "And we can't get $5 billion over ten years for child care in this country?"
To try to attract young voters and the attention of politicians who want their votes, leaders of the religious left are promoting issues like raising the minimum wage.
"Nine million families are working full time," Wallis said. "Working hard full time, responsibly, and not making it."
Three decades ago liberal religious leaders had a powerful influence on politics.
In the 1960s and 70s they led demonstrations against civil rights abuses and the war in Vietnam. But when those battles were over, the movement seemed to lose energy, while the Christian right had become well organized and committed to having its voice and concerns heard.
After years of sitting on the sidelines, it will take more than meetings and talking points to make the liberals into a political power again.
"The Christian right has a ground game," said Mark Silk of Trinity College's religious studies department. "Thus far the Christian left mainly has an air game: they want to throw positions, they want to talk to the media, but do they have the networks in place on the ground to get people out to vote?"
So, it remains to be seen whether there's any action behind the words. But there's no doubt they're on a mission.
"I've watched a generation die. And I watched them shift from idealism to a 'me' generation that was only orientated to consumerism and it hurt, and I wondered whether we ever would come back." Campolo said. "But the pendulum is swinging."
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