Voices of the Religious Left

A Contemporary Sourcebook

Edited by Rebecca Alpert
Book Cover

PB: $39.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-757-5
Publication: May 00

HC: $90.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-756-8
Publication: May 00

Ebook: $39.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0101-4
Publication: May 00

304 pages
7 x 10

A collection of essays that demonstrate the vitality of current liberal religious thought

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


What has happened to the religious left? If there is a religious left, why don't we hear more about it?

The academics and activists who write this rich volume, edited by Rebecca Alpert, argue passionately on topics that concern all of us. Quoting from the Bible, the Torah, the Qur'an, the teachings of Buddha, as well as Native American folklore, they make the voices of the religious left heard—teaching lessons of peace and liberation.

As this invaluable sourcebook shows, the religious left is committed to issues of human rights and dignity. Answering questions of identity and ideology, the essays included here stem from the "culture wars" that have divided orthodox and liberal believers. Responding to the needs of and raised by marginalized social groups, the writers discuss economic issues and religious politics as they champion equal rights, and promote the teaching of progressive vision.

Containing insightful perspectives of adherents to many faiths, Voices of the Religious Left makes it clear that there is a group dedicated to instilling the values of justice and freedom. They are far from silent.


"(These essays) represent the power of the written word as a vehicle for advocacy and social change …. It is my hope that the readers of these essays will themselves feel compelled to think more about the importance of taking a stand on issues from religious perspectives, and to act on something that compels them." Rabbi Rebecca Alpert

"...chock-full of politically engaged, theologically and textually grounded essays.... Many of the essays also provide serious spiritual ammunition.... Voices illuminates the ways some people have taken their sense of religious duty out into a broken world and infused their in-the-trenches tikkun olam with a relationship to the bigger picture. The magic here is both in the details and in the sweeping sense that we are all, in fact, working toward the same goals from, as somebody once said, a thousand points of light. Until we can get there, Voices of the Religious Left offers indispensable, high-octane edification and inspiration—just what we'll need along the way." Danya Rutttenberg, LILITH

"Alpert's collection is of genuine service for understanding and engaging with contemporary perspectives of 'the religious left'..." Nova Religio

"This book does a fine job of showing how the religious left can be part of religious belief, including for those who, for the most part, adhere to fairly traditional religious beliefs." Journal of Church and State

Table of Contents


Part I: Making Progressive Religious Theology: Warrant for Progressive Religious Thought and Action
1. Renewing the Heart of Faith: A Prophetic Convergence of the People of God – Jim Wallis
2. Womanist Theology: Black Women's Voices – Delores S. Williams
3. Theology as a Public Responsibility – Richard A. McCormic, S.J., and Richard P. McBrien
4. Reflections from a Latin American Theologian – Gustavo Gutierrez
5. Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians: Deliverance, Conquest, and Liberation Theology Today – Robert Allan Warrior
6. Re-imagining God: Reflections on Mirrors, Motheroot, and Memory – Rita Nakashima Brock
7. Martin Luther King and the Future of America – Vincent Harding

Part II: Focusing on the Issues

8. The Skewing of America: Disparities in Wealth and Income – Ronald D. Pasquariello
9. Poverty, Women, and Reproduction: Welfare Reform and Social Justice – A position paper of Catholics for a Free Choice
10. Jews, Money, and Social Responsibility – Lawrence Bush and Jeffrey Dekro
11. Option for the Poor: Preference or Platitude? – Thomas J. Paprocki

12. The Greening of Buddhist Practice – Kenneth Kraft
13. The Theological Basis of Animal Rights – Andrew Linzey
14. From Compassion to Jubilee – Arthur Waskow

15. Apartheid as Idolatry – James H. Evans
16. Pesach and the Palestinians – Arthur Waskow
17. The Martyrs' Living Witness: A Call to Honor and Challenge – Daniel Berrigan
18. Back to the Dust: How I Rediscovered the Power of Scripture – Barbara Holmes
19. Catholics and Colonialism: The Church's Failure in Rwanda – Todd Salzman

20. The Full Circle of Liberation: An American Indian Theology of Place – George Tinker
21. The Upward Mobility of the Gospel – Helen Prejean
22. Between Brick and Steel – Mumia Abu-Jamal
23. Release the Prisoners! – Eliezer Valentín-Castañón
24. Free Speech in Pauline Political Theology – David Fredrickson

25. The Worth of a Woman – Laila Al-Marayati
26. Violence against Women: The Theological Dimension – Mary Pellauer
27. In God's Image: Coming to Terms with Leviticus – Rebecca T. Alpert
28. Homosexuality: Challenging the Church to Grow – John J. McNeill
29. Searching Scripture for a Model of the Family – Rosemary Radford Ruether
30. The New York Times Ad: A Case Study in Religious Feminism – Mary E. Hunt and Frances Kissling
31. Antiabortion / Prochoice: Taking Both Sides – Helen Tworkov

Part III: Building Bridges: Know One Another
32. Difference Is No Excuse for Hatred – Diana Eck
33. A Case Study: American Christians, Jews, and Muslims Working Together for Middle East Peace – Ronald J. Young
34. Reconsidering Christopher Columbus and the Recovery of a Biblical Theology of Mission – Wi Jo Kang
35. The Church's False Witness against Jews – Carl D. Evans
36. Arena for Interaction – Lee Ranck

About the Contributors

About the Author(s)

Rebecca T. Alpert is Assistant Professor of Religion and Women's Studies, Temple University. She is the author of Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition, and the co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach.