Progressive Advocate Kim Klein Takes a Stand for Mixing Religion and Politics

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April 8, 2012; Source: Blue Avocado

Kim Klein is legendary in the nonprofit world as an expert fundraiser and passionate advocate for social justice, inclusive communities and progressive tax reform. She urges people to take courageous stands, to fight for fairness and to work at the level of system change. She’s unapologetically leftist and openly lesbian, but even she has hesitated to go public about a key part of her world view until now.

As she writes in a recent article for Blue Avocado, Kim Klein wants to go on the record as a religious Christian—a religious Christian feminist who frequently asks herself not only “What would Jesus do?” as a guide for her action, but also, only half-jokingly, “What would Jesus bomb?” and “Who would Jesus deport?” She’s tired of seeing the religious right dominate public discourse about how religion and politics intertwine. And while she notes that there is a religious left, she is also tired of hearing statements from progressive colleagues like, “Can you believe that Santorum? He’s such a clear example of why any intelligent person leaves religion behind.”

She takes pains to note that she doesn’t want to evangelize, but rather to urge progressives who do draw their deepest convictions from religion to speak up from that context. She argues that “It’s time for all of us who are religious (and not just spiritual) to come out, warts and all, and to say that we will not stand for all that is good in our religious traditions to be used in the war on women and people of color. We will stand up against people claiming to be religious who also claim that corporations are people or that money is speech.”

Why do you think this is such an uncommon public stance? And what’s your reaction? –Kathi Jaworski

  • Debby

    Could not agree more with Kim!! I’ve been frustrated for many years that the religious right dominates how the public views Christians. I agree that progressive Christians need to become more vocal in expressing their views based on their beliefs.

  • Pat R

    Hear! Hear! I also am part of the “religious left” and am appalled at the statements made and positions taken all in the name of religion. I read the Bible and take it seriously but don’t see that there’s a conflict between it and my beliefs. I can’t say the same for many expressions of the “religious right.”

    There is much that is good about religion (as well as bad – it is made up of imperfect humans). But blasting all religion is like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

  • Conni Gratop Lewis

    Religious people have been involved in every progressive movement in the nation’s history. It’s a shame that the media has focused its attention on the religious right and ignored the progressive religious voices. And perhaps those of us motivated by religion will stop hiding our lights under bushels so that we won’t be ignored. (It would also help if media folks would learn that evangelicals and the religious right are not necessarily the same people.)

  • m.i.duijst

    She just wants it her way. Religion is personal, keep it home. I don’t wanna be ruled by an imaginary person called Jesus.

  • nikolai Dezin . NGO.MILOSERDIE

    Dear Siir madam
    We would be very happy to participate in various projects in the area of disability and basic healthcare. We have an experience of organising sport events for disabled, meetings and sale-exhibitions of handicrafts produced by disabled. There’s often a lack of finances that hinders to bring those initiatives to life. We would be greateful to any possible support. It is possible to arrange an exhibition sale of hand-made articles by hands of invalids, such beauty is, pictures flowers, and many any things. To make trips across Estonia and can abroad, organize meetings of us and other organizations of invalids from for borders of m and local in Estonia. We shall be glad to any offer of the project of the finance
    Yours truly,
    Mr. Nikolai Dezin

    MTU “Miloserdie”
    Non-profit Disability Organization “Mercy”
    40231 Sillamae

  • Eliza Olson

    I think it is because progressives are embarrassed by the stances of the right. The left has also mistaken that being religious does not go hand-in-hand with acceptance of religious beliefs if they do not co-incide with theirs.

    I haven’t attended church in years. Yet what I do is tinged with my religious beliefs. I think we need to ask the questions that Kim asks of herself.”what would Jesus do?” or “What would Mohammed do?”

    The more you study different religions the more you see the simalarities.

    Good show Kim. Her books and thoughts guide me in my fundraising.