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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 49 intimately intertwined. Not only that, but God and faith have be- come aligned, as one person in Tammy Baldwin’s office said, with a “radical right-wing agenda.” The people in her office had come to Washington to try to do something about that—to become more a part of the “we the people”—by taking part in something called the Spiritual Activism Conference. People from forty different states gathered at the conference to show Americans that just as those in the faith-based radical Right have an agenda—expressed, as one person put it, in “a language of meaning, of car- ing, concern, and faith”—so too those with a more “progressive” agenda— embracing concerns about poverty, environment, peace, gender equality, and nondiscrimination—want to ex- press their political aims in terms of spiritual values. These progressives’ natural home is the Democratic Party, but historically that party is strongly committed to secularism as a preven- tive against extremism. While there is some indication that leading lights of the party like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Howard Dean are willing to use the language of spiritual values from time to time, there is every in- dication that their main weapon to unseat Republicans will be a safe and centrist retail politics (that will tread lightly, for example, in critiquing the war in Iraq and the “war on terrorism”). From the point of view of spiritual progressives, secularism and cynical politics aimed at satisfying the parochial needs of individuals and their interest groups are a very thin gruel. It is time, they say, not only to revivify the visionary spirit of pro- gressive politics but to acknowledge that a political animal Who Does God Vote For? Seeking an Alternative to the Christian Right ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALAN GORDON