Union and the Religious Left

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Tired of hearing about the Religious Right? Then listen for the Religious Left because it is making some loud and joyful noise in opposition to President Trump’s anti-poor, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, anti-earth policies.  Check out this report from Reuters. One of the leaders of the movement is Union Theological Seminary, where I earned a Master of Arts in Theology in 2012. Union was a perfect place to explore the questions that arose in the course of our Faith Club discussions. It is in the Protestant, Reformed tradition and ecumenical in its outlook. I took courses taught by Jewish, Catholic, and Buddhist professors on everything from Early Church History (my favorite) to Buddhist meditation, and Jerusalem in History, Faith, Memory and Identity to Christian-Muslim dialogue.  The Seminary sets an exemplary standard for religious education in a pluralistic world.  It is not a place where one tries to resolve the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. At Union, teachers and students recognize the presence and the value of doubt, debate and disagreement in religious life. Uncertainty is accepted. Love and social justice are valued above all.  On the Seminary’s homepage is the tagline “Where faith and scholarship meet to reimagine the work of justice.” And the work of justice is humming at Union today.  Union students and teachers are protesting, and the Seminary is hosting public events with captivating speakers on political issues of the day. Tomorrow the topic is Fear in the Time of Trump, and next Wednesday you can hear Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee speak about the role of women in Democratic Governance. After Pence tweeted an all male photo of the Health Care Act discussions last week, I think many more women are recognizing the importance of female representation in our government.  The attacks on the poor, immigrants, and women will continue as Trump and the Republicans work to increase deportations, cut off visitors from Middle Eastern countries, cut Title X family planning coverage for the poor, and eliminate Planned Parenthood.  At the end of next week I will be at the Bonhoeffer Lectures at Union. I can’t think of a better time to reflect on the leadership of this Protestant hero who lost his life resisting Adolf Hitler.

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