Item description for Left Hand of God, The: Healing America's Political and Spiritual Crisis by Michael Lerner...
Overview A renowned spiritual leader and former White House insider offers a fervent critique of the ways in which the Democrats have ignored faith and values, proposing a new course of action for taking back the White House. Reprint.
The unholy alliance of the Political Right and the Religious Right threatens to destroy the America we love. It also threatens to generate a popular aversion to God and religion by identifying religious values with a pro-war, pro-business, pro-rich, anti-science, and anti-environmental stance.
Over the past few decades, the Republicans have achieved political dominance by forging a union with the Religious Right. This marriage has provided a sanctimonious veneer for policies that have helped the rich get richer while ignoring the needs of the middle class and the poor, dismantling environmental and civil liberties protections, and seeking global domination. The Right champions the materialism and ruthless selfishness promoted by unrestrained capitalism and then laments the moral crises of family instability and loneliness experienced by people who bring these commercial values into their homes and personal lives. In response, the Religious Right offers insular communities for the faithful and a culture that blames liberals, activist judges, homosexuals, independent women, and all secular people for the moral and spiritual emptiness so many Americans experience.
Yet, however distorted both the Right's analysis and its solutions to America's spiritual crisis may be, it wins allegiance by addressing the human hunger for a life with some higher purpose. The Left, by contrast, remains largely tone-deaf to the spiritual needs of the American people. It is the yearning for meaning in life, not just the desire for money or power, that lies at the core of American politics.
Addressing the central mystery of contemporary politics -- why so many Americans vote against their own economic interests -- The Left Hand of God provides an invaluable, timely, and blunt critique of the current state of faith in government. Lerner challenges the Left to give up its deeply held fear of religion and to distinguish between a domination-oriented, Right-Hand-of-God tradition and a more compassionate and hope-oriented Left-Hand-of-God worldview. Further, Lerner describes the ways that Democrats have misunderstood and alienated significant parts of their potential constituency. To succeed again, Lerner argues, the Democratic Party must rethink its relationship to God, champion a progressive spiritual vision, reject the old bottom line that promotes the globalization of selfishness, and deal head-on with the very real spiritual crisis that many Americans experience every day.
Lerner presents a vision that incorporates and then goes far beyond contemporary liberal and progressive politics. He argues for a new bottom line in our economy, schools, and government. This is a fundamentally fresh approach, one that takes spiritual needs seriously in our economic and political lives. Presenting an eight-point progressive spiritual covenant with America, Lerner provides a blueprint for how the Democratic Party can effectively challenge the Right and position itself to win the White House and Congress. By appealing to religious, secular, and spiritual but not necessarily religious people, The Left Hand of God blazes a trail that could change our world and reclaim America from the Religious Right.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2007
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 0061146625 ISBN13 9780061146626
Availability 0 units.
More About Michael Lerner
Rabbi Michael Lerner is an internationally renowned social theorist, theologian, psychotherapist, and the editor of Tikkun magazine. He earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute. Lerner is rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue, which meets in San Francisco and Berkeley.
Reviews - What do customers think about Left Hand of God, The: Healing America's Political and Spiritual Crisis?
Extremely insightful book Nov 22, 2006
This is a really well-written book that very accurately portrays the "values" crisis (I prefer Lerner's term meaning needs) that is growing increasingly chronic in the United States. I actually found myself looking at how I categorize and appraise others differently after reading this book, in terms of where and when I view people with utilitarian lenses...where I parcel people into lists of attributes and even beliefs without seeing the total person. It's appalling how often I do this out of reflex and training. This book is also a reminder that to understand political currents you really need to understand individuals and the goggles through which they view the world.
Further, I feel that Lerner clearly addresses some of the biggest frustrations I've had with the Left in this country, in terms of their own materialist dogmatism. I absolutely agree with Lerner's assessment that the Left has been deaf and dumb to the meaning needs of Americans, thus opening the way to the Republicans filling this gap in extremely hurtful ways. Through these currents, the extreme Right have consistently bred and fed the flames of intolerance, fear and bigotry in an already reactionary populace following 9/11.
I hope that those in the Democratic party read this book with an open mind, and choose their leaders with an eye to finding those who actually stand for something besides winning elections. Because frankly, people aren't stupid and the Democratic Party's consistent waffling on their ideals and/or reactionary stance changes in response to attacks by the Right Wing are an embarrassment. If you don't believe the values you espouse or don't have the strength to stand behind them (or only "develop" them in response to polling data) then you're not going to fool anyone into thinking you're sincere. I don't think the problem is a lack of values in the Democrats so much as a lack of faith in the American people. They need to find someone who's willing to stand up there and take hits...not crumple every time someone on the Right reacts to what they're saying and bludgeons them with the same old language of fear.
Great book...and a good start on this dialogue. The biggest message of this book is hope, and a call for people to pull together and not be misled by the most vocal extremists of both sides.
Lessons for the Left Nov 10, 2006
Rabbi Lerner makes a strong case as to why progressive people can not leave issues of faith to the religious right, and why as in the past people with both secular and religious viewpoints need to work together.
it's a good gift for a political junky Nov 9, 2006
Person receiving the book was excited to receive it and went off to read most of it in one sitting.
Finally, someone who understands Oct 21, 2006
Being a Liberal (sometimes called "progressive") Christian, I have often found myself being looked down on by my liberal friends who are not religious. In fact, I've found them to have a very "un-liberal" attitude towards my spirituality in general. Lerner's book addresses this directly, head on, without flinching. He explains how BushCo managed to seduce evangelical Christians into a skewed world view, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus.
This book is helpful to everyone concerned with these issues, not just those who are religious. I wish that all of my liberal friends would read it and learn!!
A truly awesome book promoting the underrated concepts of tolerance and acceptance Sep 2, 2006
"The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right" is an interesting book in which Michael Lerner promotes tolerance to individuals regardless of their race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs which may differ from theirs. This book focuses on reversing the extreme antics brought forth by the religious right, whose priority seems to be suppressing those whose views differ than their own. This is a truly super book that I highly recommend to everyone. I would write a little more, but after having read the somewhat belittling comment of the first line, first paragraph by the spotlight reviewer from Oakton, Virginia who attacks brief reviews and uses review length as a basis for assumption that the person didn't read it, I suddenly lost the incentive to go any further.