By Katherine Bindley, Huffington Post

A new study has found that while the number of religious conservatives is still greater than that of progressives, the religious left may have a better chance of maintaining its foothold with Americans over time.

“If you’re using a generational snapshot today as a proxy for the future, it is is safe to say that religious progressives hold a stronger appeal among Millennials,” said Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed 2,000 adults in partnership with the Brookings Institute.

While the Christian right makes up 28 percent of the population and garners more cultural attention — Jones found that there are 27,000 global monthly Google searches for “Christian Right” compared with just over 8,000 searches for “Christian left” — religious progressives are only 9 percentage points behind, with 19 percent of the population. Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com.


By Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

Almost always Sightings takes off from the sighting of a particular recent news event. This week, for fun and games, we’ll make an exception and address a generic theme: the religious left.

Several weeks ago we commented on Jim Wallis, the leader of Sojourners (a progressive, Christian social justice organization), who is often cited as being a long-time advocate of causes marked “Left.” He sees himself as a bridge-builder across religious camps separated by the divides and poles that disrupt discourse and creative action in “secular” and “sacred” America. Among responses to that Sojourners column, some asked why Sightings did not more frequently treat the Left, the subject of so much criticism by the easily-identified Right.

Some Internet word-checking suggests that through the years we have pointed to and analyzed the Right four times for every three notices of the Left. In the public media, the Right, the Religious Right, and the Christian Right draw far more attention than does the Left. Why?

First, because the Religious Right is more noticeable than the Religious Left. The Westboro Baptist Church, that independent Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, whose tiny but noisy membership disrupts military funerals, knows how to snag media coverage, as more liberal or moderate causes and movements do not. Read More…


In its Opinion Pages, The New York Times recently asked a number of thinkers from the region why the American South remains so conservative, showing a particular interest in what produces religious, social, and political views and how they relate.  The effort includes responses from professors from schools across the South, plus Hastings Wyman, (founding editor of Southern Political Report).

Dr. Dowe

Pearl K. Ford Dowe (assistant professor of political science at the University of Arkansas) blames the rightward drift of the South on white Southerners’ attempt to hold onto some remnant of white privilege.  She says white Southerners support “policies that conflict with their own economic realities.”  She says this stems from the unwillingness of white Southerners to form political alliances with African-American partners. This reluctance is based on “the belief that immigrants and African-Americans are gaining unfair advantages and that the government that leveled the playing field for all Americans is not theirs.”   Read More…