From ......... RELIGION WATCH

January 1996


The continuing power of the Christian right in Congress has helped create new energies in the religious left, according to a cover story in the Washington Monthly [December]. In recent months, Catholic and Protestant groups are organizing at the national and local levels to reestablish the agendas they honed during their nadir of influence in the 1960s and 70s and, more briefly, during the 1980s. Since that time, members of the religious left either gave up on national political change and turned to local reforms or became involved in personal spirituality. More recently, however, religious left leaders are drawing on their faith to promote social agendas, such as programs to protect the underclasses, health care management, and ecological and educational concerns, writes Amy Waldman

An embryonic religious left movement needs a leader with the charisma of Martin Luther King Jr., or the stature of Senator Robert Kennedy to help unite its followers, she adds. Such clergy as J. Philip Wogaman, the Methodist pastor of Hillary Clinton, model the new religious left with their advocacy on issues such as universal health care. New and old religious left participants are found among Catholics, led by activist bishops, a new black leadership and a more active Conservative Jewish voice on social issues. A few members of Congress are speaking for the new agenda, finding that the Christian Right is not as strong in their local constituencies as they had thought.

[Washington Monthly, 1611 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009]

--By Erling Jorstad.


RELIGION WATCH P.O.Box 652, North Bellmore, NY 11710