With all the talk about the Religious Right, it’s easy to forget there even is a Religious Left. But the Trump Administration might just stir things up.
The election of Donald Trump represents a success for the Religious Right and a challenge at the same time: some feel that Trump, through words and actions, does not represent the values a Christian would represent, and therefore was a candidate evangelical Christians should never have supported.
But Washington Post columnist Jack Jenkins says there are two unexpected side effects already coming to light after the election:
Progressive, faith-rooted advocacy organizations, such as Faith in Public Life, Auburn Seminary and Sojourners, have all reported surges in donations and interest in activism since November, and are now organizing to counter any number of Trump’s policy proposals. Meanwhile, progressive Christians long absent from Sunday worship are returning to church in droves.
Neither the Religious Right nor the Religious Left are exclusively Christian. The Religious Right, for example, gains support from conservative Christians as well as Roman Catholics and politically conservative mainline Protestants, Jews, and Mormons. But the Religious Left gains support from a more diverse group ranging from Christian, Jews, Muslims and other groups, including even atheists who champion issues like immigration, poverty and equal rights, concepts that fall under the umbrella title “social justice.”
It was the religious left, Jenkins points out, that helped facilitate, among other things, the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and the movement of “liberation theology — the notion that God is on the side of the oppressed, be they poor, nonwhite, female or LGBTQ.”
But despite stats that 83% of Republicans claim to be Christian while that number drops to 59% among Democrats, it would be absurd to believe there are no devout Christians on the “left” side of the aisle. Consider, for example, Jimmy Carter, easily one of the most religious men, and one of the finest, to ever hold office. Well into his 90s, he continues to fight for the poor decades after he left office.
It’s important, then, that it people not lose sight of the fact that there are very religious people on the Religious Left: the Religious Right does not, despite what it might have you believe, have a corner of the market on believers.
Any group that can make the kinds of accomplishments attributed to the Religious Left over the years should never be silent.
If a Trump Administration is what it takes to make that group more vocal and, thereby, more effective in helping the “least of these” as Christ Himself said, maybe this past election was an example of the Lord working in “mysterious ways.”