A Hijacked God

In November 2016, like a lot of other moderates and liberals across this nation, I became an activist almost overnight. I joined Indivisible, a totally organic movement born in the dark days after the election. A handful of depressed Democratic congressional staffers wrote a manifesto based on community organizing principles.

They published it online.

And so many people like me saw it as such a lifeline that the website crashed. Now there are 6,000 Indivisible groups across this nation.

And guess where my Indivisible group, Empire State Indivisible, had a lot of our meetings (until the pandemic)?

In churches.

I just started listening to a new podcast from Crooked Media, another enterprise born out of the ashes of the 2016 election. The new podcast, “Unholier Than Thou” is about—wait for it—religion!

This from the creators of Pod Save America, whose hosts, all former Obama staffers (listening to them makes me think, wow, what a fun office that must have been) recently laughed (because what else can you do, cry?) remembering some clumsy efforts Democratic candidates have made in the past to show that God guides them.

I wrote a book a few years ago about refugee resettlement and how an issue that is so polarizing in the headlines is actually unifying on the ground. It’s a place where Americans from across the political spectrum come together and work shoulder to shoulder. Republicans and Democrats. The secular and the devout. And guess where some of the strongest groups working to help refugees are? The Bible Belt, and other red states.

The religious right doesn’t own God. It never did. But, it totally won the branding war. And us mainstream religious types made it pretty easy–because we don’t claim Jesus or God as ours alone or as our sole identity. In fact we don’t even like calling ourselves religious!

But times are changing. Mainstream religion is taking back God. And it’s not only mainstream religion. Evangelicals are changing. Evangelicals are leaving.

Is the fabled Trump core crumbling? No. Is this election gonna be easy? Hell, no!

But there’s a new kind of religious activism going on out there. So I’m writing the book about it.

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