Why America Needs a Spiritual Progressive Left

There is a real spiritual crisi in America.  Tens of millions of Americans feel betrayed by a society that seems to place materialism and selfishness above moral values. Most people desperately desire a way to build part of their lives upon a higher spiritual and ethical standard. Yet, because they have internalized the market consciousness as reality, they have resigned themselves to living in a world in which this selfishness is the only realistic possibility.

In talking to this hunger for meaning, we should not follow the path of those fundamentalists and evangelicals who want to bring their prayers into schools, teach creationism, criminalize abortion and gay relationships, and restrict access to information on birth control.

Our voices, instead, should be directed to the soft periphery around those “muscular Christians” and “settler Jews”—tens of millions of Americans who feel more recognized when their spiritual aspirations are explicitly addressed, but whose deepest moral insights are actually not fully expressed in the “let the poor and powerless fend for themselves” policy implications of the Right.

Instead, Tikkun's Politics of Meaning proposes a universal spirituality and values not tied to any particular religion but foundational to all religions—recognizing that taking seriously the demand for a New Bottom Line of love, caring, generosity, gratitude, open-heartedness, kindness, sexuality based in mutual respect, and celebration of the sacred in other human beings and in nature could actually lead to a social transformation.

Excerpted from the January/February 2005 issue of Tikkun
(Volume 20, Number 1). See www.tikkun.org.

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