HOT SPRINGS, N.C. (RNS) — For years, liberals — even liberal people of faith — have been wary of fusions of faith and politics, careful not to pierce the boundary between church and state.
But at this year’s Wild Goose Festival, an annual Christian gathering that convened July 11-14 in a campground along the French Broad River, many attendees asked the same question: What if my beliefs are by implication political?
… The atmosphere may seem foreign to top Democratic Party operatives and even many liberal religious leaders. But as the religious left exerts an unaccustomed influence on political rhetoric, Wild Goose has begun to draw recognizable names, including presidential candidate Marianne Williamson.
It’s hard to miss the festival’s political bent. The dirt road from the entrance to the conference’s main stage was a gauntlet of booths belonging to liberal activist groups such as Sojourners, the Washington, D.C. liberal evangelical organization; Creation Care Alliance, a network dedicated to religious environmentalism; and NETWORK, a left-leaning Catholic social justice lobby whose leader, Sister Simone Campbell, spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Alongside them were other booths advocating for left-leaning, mainline Christian denominations such as the United Church of Christ or the Episcopal Church. Both are listed as partners of the gathering that ranges from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Human Rights Campaign….
On Saturday (July 13), the festival’s second day, the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and another past speaker at the Democratic National Convention, delivered a lengthy speech to an enraptured crowd. Although he rejects the term religious left as “too puny,” Barber — who only weeks before attracted 10 Democratic presidential candidates to protests and forums he organized in Washington — didn’t shy away from the political…
With the Great Awokening already showing many of the characteristics (as that label would suggest) of a religious revival, an event like this can hardly be a surprise. Expect much more of the same.