Religion and the American Radical Tradition
By Dan McKanan
(Beacon Press (MA), Paperback, 9780807013175, 326pp.)
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
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A broad, definitive history of the profound relationship between religion and movements for social change in America
The United States has always had an active, vibrant, and influential religious Left. In every period of our history, people of faith have envisioned a society of peace and justice, and their tireless efforts have powered the social movements that have defined America’s progress: the abolition of slavery, feminism, the New Deal, civil rights, and others.
In this groundbreaking, definitive work, McKanan treats the histories of religion and of the Left as a single history, showing that American radicalism is a continuous tradition rather than a collection of disparate movements. Emphasizing the power of encounter—between whites and former slaves, between the middle classes and the immigrant masses, and among activists themselves—McKanan shows that the coming together of people of different perspectives and beliefs has been transformative for centuries, uniting those whose faith is a source of activist commitment with those whose activism is a source of faith. Offering a history of the diverse religious dimensions of radical movements from the American Revolution to the present day, Prophetic Encounters invites contemporary activists to stand proudly in a tradition of prophetic power.