The persistence of poverty, the decline of social mobility and rising inequality in the U.S. all demand new departures in policy and politics. Yet the electorate and Congress are polarized and trust in government is at an all-time low. Religious Americans have been essential to the success of movements for justice throughout American history. Today, they have an opportunity to sustain a movement for economic justice.
On April 24, the religion, policy and politics project at Brookings hosted a forum to release a major new report, “Faith In Equality: Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives.” The report discusses particular challenges facing the religious movement for social justice, including the decline of congregations and unions and the challenge of coalition-building. It also highlights particular opportunities, and argues that the engagement of the African-American Church with the civil rights struggle provides a model for new engagements in our time around issues of social and economic justice. Brookings Senior Fellow, E.J. Dionne, presented the report. Gary Dorrien, Union Theological Seminary, offered an historic perspective. A second panel focused on the current landscape and provided a look forward. Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK and author of A Nun on the Bus, provided closing remarks. The discussion was moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow and report co-author, William Galston.