Washington Post: The Religious Left Is Back.

May 20th, 2006 7:53 PM

Today's Washington Post carries the article "Religious Liberals Gain New Visibility." Religious liberals are intensely organizing and alliance-building, "according to scholars, politicians and clergy members."

One of the scholars quoted is Clemson University political scientist Laura R. Olson, who states: "Organizationally speaking, strategically speaking, the religious left is now in the strongest position it's been in since the Vietnam era."

Things must have turned around quickly. Less than six months ago, the same professor wrote in Newsweek: "Yet there are practical reasons to believe that religious progressives on the ground are not well connected either with each other or with the elite-level organizations that share their policy agenda. The religious Left may also be stymied by its diversity and the fact that many of its leaders endorse what might be termed 'scriptural relativism.'

"Unlike evangelicals, religious progressives encourage a wide range of scriptural interpretations. Thus it becomes challenging for clergy and other elites on the left to be viewed as authoritative speakers on other subjects. As a result, it can be difficult for religious progressive leaders to mobilize anyone for political action."

The Washington Post piece also touts three recent books that "have been particularly influential in galvanizing activists." These are Michael Lerner's The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country From the Religious Right, Jim Wallis's God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, and Jimmy Carter's Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. Amazon.com today ranks those books in terms of sales as numbers 1,207, 1,267, and 655 respectively.

By contrast, Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberals, scheduled for release next month, already ranks 58th.

Now that's what I call galvanizing.