Monday, February 06, 2006


Rabbi calls on black church to help reclaim the image of God in politics

Progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner, a leader of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, an organization that has sought to link benevolent spirituality with progressive politics to counteract the growing influence of the religious right. He was described in the 60's by J. Edgar Hoover as "one of America 's most dangerous criminals" for organizing anti-war demonstrations.

Excerpt from SFGATE:
"One of the Bay Area's most outspoken liberal rabbis spoke from the pulpit of one of Oakland's largest black churches Sunday morning, calling for its leadership to reclaim the public image of God in politics.

The 5,000-member Allen Temple Baptist Church was the first stop on Rabbi Michael Lerner's three-month tour for his book "The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right," which goes on sale Tuesday.

Drawing on images of the Civil Rights Movement, Lerner...said he chose to begin his tour in the black church because it is one place where spirituality and progressive thought still coexist in America.

"The black church is one part of the liberal and progressive world that has not abandoned the message," he said, "the necessity for unity in the struggle for social justice and peace and love-oriented spiritual consciousness."

After his sermon Sunday, Lerner said that he believes the partnership between the religious right and political right has created a misguided link between God and "domination, war, and cutting off of the poor," while ignoring the "turn the other cheek" principals demonstrated in the Torah and the Bible.

Lerner drew a standing ovation from the 900-person congregation at Allen Temple's 8 a.m. service after his 30-minute speech. He sold and signed about 60 copies of the book for $27 each in the church lobby, according to a spokeswoman. The book will be available in most bookstores tomorrow."

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