Religion as a Force for Social Justice

Monday, May 17, 2021 - 1:00pm
Michael Rivage-Seul & David Schweickart

Probably most politically progressive adults grew up under a religious influence in their formative years. While they may no longer consider themselves religious believers or practitioners (most probably don’t), they still hold to values that they learned in their youth. These Judeo- Christian values influence their progressive politics.

David Schweickart and Michael Rivage-Seul are two philosophers who will explore this relation between politics and religion. This is especially relevant today with a Catholic President who strongly embraces his religion. Liberation theology and Pope Francis illustrate the progressive side of Catholicism. Schweickart is a retired professor from Loyola University in Chicago. Throughout his career he has been a leading proponent of economic democracy having published such books as After Capitalism. Recently he authored a provocative talk that poses the question “Is ‘Christian Marxist’ an Oxymoron?” An ex-priest, Rivage-Seul taught for many years at Berea College. He has published The Emperor’s God: Imperial Misunderstandings of Christianity among other titles. Today, with a Catholic US President, we look at the progressive potential of the Catholic religion. In recent decades liberation theology pointed in this direction. Today we have Pope Francis. As an institution as well as a theology, Catholicism contains contradictory tendencies. It is important to understand both.