After wandering in the political desert for years, the religious left is taking tentative steps toward the Promised Land, according to organizers of a recent “Spiritual Activism” conference in Washington.
“We’re talking about first, baby steps here,” said Rabbi Michael Lerner, head of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and editor of the progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun.
For the first time since the Vietnam War, asserted Lerner, the “spiritual” or “religious” left is building a viable political coalition. The goal is not to tip elections toward Democrats in 2006, or even 2008, according to Lerner, but to develop a grassroots network that all politicians must reckon with for years to come.
About 1,200 people from 39 states attended the May 17-20 gathering, according to conference organizers. Attendees were armed with a “spiritual covenant” and talking points with which to engage elected representatives in the nation’s capital.