Sure, the religious right is still teamed up with conservative politicians in their battle against gay marriage, abortion, and immigration reform, just as they’ve been since 1979 when Jerry Falwell birthed the Moral Majority.
But the days of Americans actually heeding what they say is over. And I’d wager this will be the year liberals — not conservatives — drive the religious conversation, in the U.S. and abroad.
Consider the February cover of Rolling Stone. There he is, Pope Francis, the cardinal from Argentina elected last spring. Since then, the pope has preached three main messages: care for the poor, humility, and inclusiveness. He has also begun overhauling the calcified and overly hierarchical Roman curia and appointed new cardinals from the developing (and underrepresented) world.
Those themes form the core of the religious left theology. But the momentum goes beyond Pope Francis and his now-famous “Who am I to judge?” comment about gay rights.