I was reading an L.A. Times article on the religious/nonreligious nature of the Occupy L.A. protest, Occupy Movement Is Largely Secular, and they discussed a bit about the religious left. In NYC, the religious left has been very supportive of the movement, according to this article, L.A. has seen less direct support or endorsement by any churches, save two, an Episcopal church in Pasadena and a UCC church in Santa Monica. This led to a more general analysis of the religious left:
“The problem is — and this is true of the religious left in more general terms — it’s so disorganized right now,” said Laura Olson, a political science professor at Clemson University who studies religious involvement in politics. “They have a difficult time articulating a message that’s as clear and bounded and digestible as what the religious right offers.”
Said Randall Balmer, a Columbia University professor who writes widely about evangelical conservatives: “I think part of it is the whole drift of the culture toward a more conservative direction. But I also think the religious left has lost its voice, has lost its nerve, is no longer articulating the principles in the New Testament.”
Then this, on how the Occupy movement might serve to energize the religious left:
Butler, of Faith in Public Life, participated in that demonstration and said she sees a lot of excitement about the Occupy movement in the faith-based community. She believes it could become a rallying point that will reinvigorate the religious left.
“Like a lot of things … it takes a while for churches to get organized,” she said. “But you are seeing folks get organized…. There’s a natural fit there, in other words. These values are our values.”
All this considered, I’m looking forward to getting to L.A. and participating with the Occupy movement there, as well as exploring the culture of the religious left in L.A. Frankly, I’ve not spent much time in urban areas, so I look forward to the new experience of urban religion, not just from the point of view of my own Christian tradition, but from the perspective of a region that is so religiously diverse and pluralistic. Yes. I’m quite fascinated by the prospect.