The religious left: Memory, trajectory, relevance

“What is the ‘religious left’ and what are its prospects for responding to the current moment of authoritarian populism?” asks Richard L. Wood in the introduction to this forum. “The short essays in this forum will probe the meaning, history, and relevance of movements and actors that may be grouped together under the label of a religious left, i.e., progressive political movements rooted in religion.”

Wood continues, “The resurgence of authoritarianism around the world—movements that are simultaneously populist and yet serve economic elites—represents both a challenge and an opportunity to the left. That is as true of the religious left as of other progressive political actors, and perhaps more so: Given the moral void now revealed at the core of the leading populist authoritarians, movements that ground their politics in a convincing moral vision may get a wider hearing than has been heretofore the case. Given the willingness of so many conservatives ostensibly concerned about morality to get in political bed with the authoritarian populists, progressives of moral integrity may be particularly credible. Thus, these essays explore a phenomenon that they show is historically important and currently significant, with the potential to be crucial for electoral and social struggles in the years ahead.”

Continue reading the introduction to this forum here. New essays will be published over the coming weeks.