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Sociology Compass





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In recent decades, scholars interested in the role of religion in American public life have largely focused on the Christian Right or the role of religion in civic life. Compared to these extensive literatures, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of religion in liberal/progressive politics. Progressive religious voices are more widespread and more racially, socioeconomically, and religiously diverse than is typically recognized. Moreover, while these actors seek influence within the most visible political realms of elections and policymaking, they also focus on shaping the cultural identities, narratives, and discourses that undergird democratic life. This article offers a framework through which to conceptualize the progressive religious field of action and reviews the growing body of research on the individuals and organizations that comprise this field. It begins by examining the prevalence of progressive religious views and activities among the general public; reviews research on three different types of progressive religious political organizations (social movements, national advocacy organizations, and faith‐based community organizations) as well as religious congregations' efforts to spur members to progressive political consciousness and mobilization; and evaluates the place of progressive religion in American political culture. Finally, it points to fruitful areas for future research.


Author Posting © Wiley, 2018. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Wiley for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Sociology Compass, Volume 13, Issue 2, December 2018.

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