Dr. Melissa Deckman is a Professor of Political Science at Washington College and a PRRI Affiliated Scholar. Her research interests center on the intersection of religion, women, and politics. She has written in the past about the Christian Right’s participation in school board politics. Her most recent work is as co-editor and contributor to Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools. PRRI sat down with Dr. Deckman to discuss the significance of the book.
In my latest column for Figuring Faith, my blog at the Washington Post, I explore the obstacles currently facing an organized progressive religious movement.
The recent release of the PRRI/Brookings Economic Values Survey has triggered a lively discussion about a potential shift of power between religious conservatives and progressives in the American religious landscape. Most of the debate has centered around the future significance of current patterns—most prominently, the nearly linear correlation between religious conservatism and age, with religious progressives (and the nonreligious) holding an advantage over religious conservatives among the Millennial generation.
But there has been little attention paid to another set of factors crucial for evaluating the future impact of any progressive religious movement. Compared to their conservative counterparts, religious progressives face considerably higher obstacles to successful organizing. The PRRI/Brookings survey reveals six significant challenges facing any leader who may attempt to transform the one-in-five (19%) Americans who are religious progressives from a scattered constituency into an organized movement.
To read more about these six challenges, which include issues of identity, diversity, dispersion, diffusion, institutional connection and separation of church and state concerns, check out my full column at The Washington Post.