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Getting religion right (and left)

Portland author explores Catholic faith and politics
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 10, 2008

“Religion is seen to be the province of the political right,” Chris Korzen says. But according to A Nation For All: How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America From the Politics of Division (Jossey-Bass), which Munjoy Hill resident Korzen co-wrote, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, leftists who reject religion outright “really undermine their own power,” he says.

Of course, Korzen is not suggesting that progressives start piling into church on Sundays in order to get things done. But he does wish that Americans would recognize the deep role that faith played in achieving civil rights and labor movement victories, as well as how faith principles — specifically, Catholic ones — can be translated into current public policy related to war, the economy, and healthcare.

His isn’t a new argument; several authors, most notably Jim Wallis, best known for God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (Harper One, 2005), have pushed for a departisanization of religion, a reminder that the religious right — and its occasionally rabid focus on abortion and gay rights — does not own the concepts of faith and values. But Korzen’s book is one of the first to voice these themes specifically from a Catholic perspective, as opposed to an Evangelical one. And with one-fourth of American voters, as well as Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden, identifying as Catholic, his message is particularly relevant now.

Korzen, who serves as executive director of Catholics United, a lobbying organization that promotes social justice and “the common good” in a political context, will make his way down the Hill for a reading at Longfellow Books on October 9.

Chris Korzen | Thursday, October 9 @ 7 pm | Longfellow Books, One Monument Way, Portland | Free | 207.772.4045 |

  Topics: Books , fall2008 , Social Issues , Culture and Lifestyle ,  More more >
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