Abortion and the Death Penalty (To Rakesh)

Michael Eisenscher meisenscher at igc.apc.org
Tue Jun 9 19:23:46 PDT 1998

At 03:14 PM 6/9/98 -0400, Justin Schwartz wrote:
>On Mon, 8 Jun 1998, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>> What's clear, however, is that serious left-wing religious people are a
>> very small minority in this country, perhaps as small as or even smaller
>> than the serious secular Left (such as it is).
>It's not at all clear to ME. In my experience, the progressive churches
>are the backbone of almost any mass movement activity I have ever been
>involved in.

Maybe we need to stop and agree on some common definitions of terms.

I think various participants in this discussion are using the term "left-wing religious" or "religious left" to mean different things. Probably the same problem applies to "religious right" and "religious conservatives" and "fundamentalists," etc.

When I refer to "the Left," it is generally to folks who self-identify as socialists, anarchists, communists, marxists, maoists, troskyists, and all the other -ists who share some form of radical critique of capitalism and see the need for a fundamental transformation of society and political economy along non-capitalist lines -- although they may disagree on what that means and how to get there.

When I refer the "religious left," I am speaking about people with a comparable critique of capitalism, but who approach that critique from a faith-based, as opposed or in addition to a political/economic or materialist, perspective. They too do not all agree on what should replace it or how to get there, and have the added disagreements between them over theological issues.

Maybe Justin and Yoshie and others who have been part of this exchange might offer their own definitions and perhaps out of that melange we can come to some commonly accepted understandings so that we use terms to mean the same thing.

In solidarity, Michael E.

I once had an old-time (liberal nonreligious) movement
>activist remark to me that in his experience there were always two groups
>of people you could count on: the Quakers anmd the Communists. (He meant
>this generically, not speaking in sectarian terms on either score.) His
>explanation was that both groups had something beyong immediate goals to
>keep them going, some general utopian vision of a better world.
>Yoshie, here in Columbus, who keeps things on line? It's Mark Stansberry
>and his various faith groups, isn't it? And whose constituency is larger,
>his or ours?

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