Progressive Revival

A new poll by the Barna group finds that Obama is leading in 18 of 19 different religious faith communities defined by the survey’s strict standards. McCain leads in only one–evangelicals.

This is good news for Senator Obama and should translate into serious voting power in November.  It also provides a caution to him as he heads into Rick Warren’s church tomorrow night for the Faith Forum.  Senator Obama has made inroads in the Evangelical community, largely by appealing to that block’s newly found interest in issues outside of abortion and homosexuality such as poverty, the environment, and the trafficking of women.

Of course these are issues that progressive main-line protestant, Catholic and Jewish groups have been working on for much of the last century and to which the Evangelicals are playing serious and somewhat embarrassing catch up.  I hope that Senator Obama remembers that his most natural home is within the progressive Christian church which gave us such influential societal prophets such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr; William Sloan Coffin, and Desmond Tutu. 

When Obama receives pressure tomorrow night to concede to Evangelical demands on issues such as abortion rights for women and gay rights (as he surely will), he should stand firm in his convictions in support of these “hard issues”  as well as the other issues such as social inequity, environmental degradation, well considered international diplomacy, and religious pluralism and know that there are millions of religious voters who stand with him.

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