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Espousing the Virtues of Progressive Religious Traditions

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Oct 26, 2010

An excellent commentary entitled “God bless sanity in religion and in politics” appeared in today’s Washington Post On Faith Blog. The piece, written by Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, offers special mention to the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign, and poses important questions about “reason” and “sanity” vs. religious belief.

Susan Brooks ThislethwaiteSusan Brooks Thislethwaite

Thistlewaite writes:

“This is what the progressive traditions have in common–the absolute ethical priority of love of neighbor over tribe or even nation state. It is the very root of a sane approach to the world, and, as Hedges emphasizes, a bedrock concept for “the great ethical systems of our civilization.” In other words, God bless sanity, in religion and in politics.”

She speaks to the very ideals that rest at the core of the SSL campaign:

“And doing a follow up question, that is, what do those who hold those religious beliefs actually do in the world? A religious belief doesn’t just sit there; you have to take it out for at test drive in the real world to know what it’s actually like.”

“A question I always ask about any set of beliefs, whether religious or secular, is what do those who hold these beliefs do as a consequence? Do those beliefs increase the amount of love, joy, peace, tolerance and simple kindness in the world?“

The author gives special mention to her own denomination, the United Church of Christ, which is known for its progressive values and social justices stances. She also mentions our own Standing on the Side of Love campaign:

“Also, in terms of joyous progressive values, check out the Unitarian Universalist “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign that just celebrated its first anniversary. It was launched in 2009 at that denomination’s National Meeting. The purpose of the campaign is “to harness the power of love to stop oppression, exclusion, and violence based on people’s identity.”

Irrational? I don’t think so. But these churches are doing work that is powerful, inclusive and inspiring, and, in my view, joyously sane. And God bless ‘em.

We couldn’t agree more!

Click here to read the full commentary at the Washington Post Online.

One Response to “Espousing the Virtues of Progressive Religious Traditions”

  1. Yes!

    I’ve never understood the arguments against religion based on wars, violence, hypocrisy, etc. The trouble with these arguments is that they are based on the actions of the individual member of the group. On this score, you could just as easily dismiss secular, theism, or any other belief spiritual or not.

    When you at the foundations of religion, however, such as love. These are the enduring elements that we should embrace and focus on.

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