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Politics, Public Policy and Progressive Faith

Archive for July, 2013

18 July
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Robby Jones: 1 in 5 Americans a Religious Progressive

Robby Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute (@publicresearch) has a piece in the Washington Post about a scale PRRI and the Brookings Institution (@brookingsinst) developed that shows that 19 percent of the country could be considered religious progressives. They are relatively young, particularly when compared with religious conservatives, and they come from a diversity of faith backgrounds.

The article is worth a read, as is the report on which it draws.

Interesting tidbits from the press release for the report:

On what it means to be religious:

Religious progressives and conservatives hold different beliefs about what it means to be a religious person. Nearly 8-in-10 (79 percent) religious progressives say that being a religious person is mostly about doing the right thing, compared to 16 percent who say it is about holding the right beliefs. A majority of religious conservatives (54 percent), on the other hand, say being a religious person is primarily about having the right beliefs, while 38 percent say it is mostly about doing the right thing.

On the role of government with regard to the economy:

On questions related to economic policy and the role of government, religious progressives generally hold similar views to nonreligious Americans and religious moderates, while religious conservatives stand apart. For example, 37 percent of religious conservatives agree that the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, compared to 69 percent of religious moderates, 72 percent of the nonreligious, and nearly 9-in-10 (88 percent) religious progressives.

On religion and partisan affiliation:

Religious progressives and conservatives are also distributed in very different ways within the two major political parties. Among Democrats, 28 percent are religious progressives, 42 percent are religious moderates, and 13 percent are religious conservatives; additionally, 17 percent are nonreligious. Among Republicans, a majority (56 percent) are religious conservatives, 33 percent are religious moderates, 5 percent are religious progressives, and 6 percent are nonreligious.

01 July
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Sullivan on Dignity, Catholicism and Marriage Equality

British-American Catholic Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) appeared on “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN Sunday, speaking to Catholicism and marriage equality. Says the classically conservative blogger:

[D]ignity is a very important word in Catholic theology. Once you’ve understood a person, a human being has human dignity, there are certain things that will not and cannot be morally done to that person. And I think what he revealed was how gay people before that had been denied that dignity, even by their own church. And I think it’s a tragedy that the Catholic hierarchy has taken this position.

But I do believe also that a lot of this was driven by many of us who do have faith and who really believe deep down that God loved us and that what we were doing was God’s work. And I think the critical work we did in the ’90s and early 21st century was to bring the religious groups, and reach out to religious groups. Because remember, Reformed Jews, Episcopalians, many denominations support marriage equality. And if you look at the polling, you’ll find that Catholics are the second ethnic group most likely to support it.

And my experience was, as a Catholic in the pews, was callousness in the rhetoric from the Vatican, but incredible compassion and support from the people right and left of me in those pews celebrating the same God, wanting the same communion.

Watch the exchange with Zakaria below.