American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country

American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country Review

From one of the country's most respected religion reporters, a paradigm-shifting discussion of how the Religious Left is actually the moral compass that has long steered America’s political debates, including today.

Since the ascendancy of the Religious Right in the 1970s, common wisdom holds that it is a coalition of fundamentalist powerbrokers who are the "moral majority," setting the standard for conservative Christian values and working to preserve the status quo.

But, as national religion reporter Jack Jenkins contends, the country is also driven by a vibrant, long-standing moral force from the left. Constituting an amorphous group of interfaith activists that goes by many names and takes many forms, this coalition has operated since America's founding — praying, protesting, and marching for common goals that have moved society forward. Throughout our history, the Religious Left has embodied and championed the progressive values at the heart of American democracy — abolition, labor reform, civil rights, environmental preservation.

Drawing on his years of reporting, Jenkins examines the re-emergence of progressive faith-based activism, detailing its origins and contrasting its goals with those of the Religious Right. Today's rapidly expanding interfaith coalition  — which includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other faiths  —  has become a force within the larger "resistance" movement. Jenkins profiles Washington political insiders — including former White House staffers and faith outreach directors for the campaigns of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton — as well as a new generation of progressive faith leaders at the forefront today, including:

Rev. William Barber II, leader of North Carolina's Moral Mondays and co-chair of the nationwide Poor People's campaign
Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women's March
Rev. Traci Blackmon, a pastor near Ferguson, Missouri who works to lift up black liberation efforts across the country
Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice lobby and the "Nuns on the Bus" tour organizer
Native American "water protectors" who demonstrated against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock
Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop
An exciting reevaluation of America's moral center and an inspiring portrait of progressive faith-in-action, American Prophets will change the way we think about the intersection of politics and religion.

Title:American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country
Edition Language:English

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    American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country Reviews

  • Tucker

    This book examines the history of left-wing activism and religious belief in the United States, largely (though not exclusively) Christian, during the first couple decades of the 21st century. Mostly ...

  • David Mills

    Favorite Quote = “Pope Francis is dope” -Chase Iron Eyes, Native American activist, attorney, politician, and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe...

  • Beth Butler

    This is a great book. Mr. Jenkins uses focused storytelling to illuminate the often ignored force of the “Religious Left.” Lots of the key characters and ideas were new to me, and his analysis pro...

  • Leighellen Landskov

    Religion and politics don't mix, right? WRONG!! This book sets out to show that actually there's an entire movement of various religious factions promoting peace and helping other people rise up. Most...

  • Carmen Lau

    For those who embrace the Religious Right’s agenda of “Family Values” and the fight against LGBTQ rights and abortion, this book will irritate you, and, likely, you will learn nothing from it. F...

  • Cody Boteler

    A really well-written book that takes an in-depth look at a contemporary and often under-studied part of American life. Some parts are admittedly dense, with lots of names talking about who did what, ...

  • CJ

    One theme is a generally amorphous structure of “religious left” groups and a focus on individual leaders (e.g. Sister Simone Campbell and her advocacy for the ACA; on the other hand, an example o...

  • Kristen

    This is an enjoyable series of vignettes describing leaders associated with the religious left, though most of them wouldn't embrace that term. There is a good deal of reporting on different movements...

  • Stan Rea

    I found this book interesting although it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting a history of Progressive politics, where it came from, what its sources were (are). What this book detail...

  • Louisa

    I had minor issues with this book, such as the interchangeable uses of “left,” “liberal,” and “progressive,” but overall I thought this book was near perfect. I’m sure that someone more ...