FOR years we've heard liberal attacks on the "Christian right.” Some of these came from people who are, but have not been considered as, members of the "Christian left.” Yes, politicized Christianity is bipolar. Since the mid-1990s, writes Manhattan Institute's City Journal Senior Editor Steven Malanga, "an increasingly influential religious movement has arisen on the left, mostly escaping the national press' notice.”
Just as the press missed the impact of "values voters” in Ohio who helped give President Bush a second term, the media have not recognized that Christianity and politics mix in a variety of vats. The Christian right has been demonized for attempting to inject religious values into government, but the same criticism can be applied to the Christian left. Indeed, what is perhaps the most politicized church in Oklahoma City is part of the Christian left. Liberals and Christianity have shared a bed for a long time, Malanga writes. While liberals rail against the conservative agenda to restrict abortion, block stem-cell research, restore prayer in public schools, etc., they have an agenda of their own justified by religious values. Issues include a higher minimum wage, welfare programs, universal health care, expansion of unionism. Christians find support for their agendas in Scripture and doctrine, regardless of their political leanings. The Christian right might view Wal-Mart as a purveyor of family values — and low prices — while the Christian left might see the retailer as practically satanic. Democratic presidential candidates recognize that the party has been hurt by secularization. Hillary Clinton has openly talked about her social gospel-type faith, potentially putting her at odds with truly secular Democrats. America has a powerful Christian right, but it also has a potent Christian left. It's time for pundits to stop pretending otherwise.