About the AllianceFrom the WSJ editorial pages:
The success of the Religious Right in appropriating the language of Christianity has led many people to become generally wary of religion in the public sphere and of Christianity in particular. The Religious Right has used the language of Christianity to promote an extreme and divisive political agenda that has helped polarize our nation. But foundational Christian values like compassion, justice and peace are largely absent from our political discussion. And there are millions of Christian Americans who share progressive views, or, at a minimum, are increasingly turned off by the extreme rhetoric and political agenda of the Religious Right.
The Christian Alliance for Progress is a national movement that started in Jacksonville, Florida among ordinary Americans who want to reclaim Christianity and change this current political picture. Members in the movement want to restore core values of Christianity while honoring diverse views about religion and Christian life. Many Americans, especially people of faith, are ready to hear from Christians who are tolerant, and who understand the many ways that our faiths impact our views of public life. The Christian Alliance advances a renewed, progressive vision of Gospel values and seeks to help Americans express this moral vision in our lives and in our politics.
We believe we have an obligation to speak out about politics from our deep beliefs; but we do so in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr, we speak to the government as conscience. We do not seek to be the master of the government. We affirm a well-established American commitment to a clear separation of church and state.
They're the furious faithful--the growing number of religious liberals incensed by the political influence of Christian conservatives. Last week another organization joined their ranks with promises to "reclaim Christianity" and challenge the association of vital religion with conservative politics.
As far as Patrick Mrotek, founder of the Christian Alliance for Progress, is concerned, the gloves are off: "We can no longer stand by," he announced at a Washington press conference, "and watch people speak hatred, division, war and greed in the name of our faith."
With a membership of perhaps 6,000, the Christian Alliance for Progress qualifies as the organizational equivalent of a megachurch--but not much more. Nevertheless, its policy goals are ambitious, ranging from debt forgiveness to universal health care. It proffers an agenda "founded firmly on the teachings of the Gospel." Some students of the Gospel may be surprised at how neatly such an agenda fits the Democratic Party platform: The alliance supports stem-cell research, gay marriage and abortion; it opposes the Bush tax cuts, plans to privatize Social Security and the war in Iraq.