Engaging Culture

The Religious Left is Getting into the Media Game

The Wall Street Journal reports today on some massive new media buys for advertising causes from the Christian left.  As it reports, “The religious left has a long tradition of activism on social issues, including the civil-rights movement. But for the past quarter century, faith-based politicking has been dominated by the religious right, which built a powerful army of activists — and a formidable fund-raising machine — on the strength of leaders such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority and radio host James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

The religious left’s re-emergence as a strong voice — with the financial backing to make aggressive media buys — is a “seismic shift,” said D. Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University who studies evangelical politics.  “The religious left is experiencing today what the religious right had in 1981,” Mr. Lindsay said. “They’ve finally found a White House that’s not just tolerating but welcoming, affirming, of their involvement.”  Left-leaning Christian groups also have started to attract funding from secular donors who share their political goals — and who see Biblical appeals as a promising way to broaden public support.”

What do you think?  Is it time we heard from this side of the discussion?  Or should we criticize the Christian Left for doing what we criticized the Christian Right for?

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7 Comments

  1. Steve K. has it right – we have to be prophetic rather than partisan.  The religious right’s biggest problem in becoming the foot soilders for the Rebulican party was getting lost in an unholy alchemy of faith, family, country and blood.

    Before he ran for president, Barack Obama made this statement: “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values.  It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.”  This is a very thoughtful call to political conversation and action.

    The bumper sticker approach to the public square – “God says it, I believe it and that settles it” – is no longer relevant and settles nothing.  When believers present their views, there has to be an understanding of how our ideas, rooted in Scripture as opposed to our culture, benefit those who are different than us along race, class, cultural and religious lines.  Without that understanding and the inevitable debate that comes with it – we will be a clanging symbol on the sidlines.

    Interesting to have this discussion on July 4th weekend.  Method in your madness Phil?

  2. Money trumps mission statements. If salaries and status is being paid for by secular donors then sooner or sooner-still the organization will do what it takes to keep them happy. I know plenty of pseduo-spiritual political organizations, both liberal and conservative, that randomly toss out Bible quote to “religiousfy” what’s really just a secular political message.

    I’m not against lefty big media or religious media but it’s important to remember they’re rarely the same. Jesus wasn’t a Democrat or Republican and he never made a big media buy.

  3. This is incredibly exciting!  The Holy Spirit is truly at work in people, congregations, churches and denominations across this country.  This is a long-awaited opportunity for Christ-like Christians to demonstrate and lifestyle based on faith that reflects a biblical Christian perspective as opposed to the trumped-up, polarizing leaders of the religious right who have kidnapped the term ‘Christian’ as a platform for their alienating ideas.

    Hope those in charge take full advantage of all they have to reaffirm what many of us know…being a Christian is a blessed gift, a product of the sacrifice of Christ and we will live, speak, vote and act in ways that reflect a Jesus-like lifestyle.

  4. Even those of us who may lean in the general direction of the “left” need to stay vigilant and critical. Christian leaders on both sides of the spectrum can be seduced by power, and we need to keep asking the questions that keep those leaders accountable so that they remain prophetic voices rather than bedfellows of a specific political party.

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