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February 1, 2022

Faith, Politics, and Policy in 2022

What Is a Faithful Agenda Now?

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A new year brings continuing tests for our faith, politics, and nation. A year after the assault on the U.S. Capitol and 10 months before the 2022 midterm elections, bitter polarization, partisan stalemate, and ideological combat make addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, and even unity in our faith communities more difficult and painful. A wide range of religious voices are seeking to shape the choices of Congress and the Biden administration, and religious voters will have key roles in the midterm elections in November.

Several of the Initiative’s dialogues have focused on the Catholic community, especially issues involving U.S. Catholic bishops, President Biden, and Pope Francis. This dialogue looked more broadly at faith, politics, and policy in the larger Christian community in the United States.

A respected journalist on faith and public life set the current context. A major evangelical leader, the director of a faith-based organizing network, a leader of Catholic advocacy in Indiana, and the director of Georgetown’s new Center on Faith and Justice assessed how faith shapes politics and how politics shapes faith in 2022.

This dialogue explored questions such as:

  • How are religious values, voters, voices, and voters reflected in American politics and policy choices of 2022? How are people of faith and communities of faith part of the problem, and how are they part of a way forward?
  • How are religious communities seeking to shape policy decisions in the U.S. Congress and the White House? How do conflicts over abortion, voting, poverty, immigration, and religious freedom reflect impacts of faith in public life?
  • Can religious values and Catholic social principles provide alternatives to exhaustion, disillusionment, and constant combat? What would a faithful agenda look like for 2022?
  • What roles might religious values and voters play in the policy choices facing Congress, the politics of 2022, and midterm elections in November? In the Republican Party? In the Democratic Party?
  • For Christians in 2022, will faith shape our politics or will politics shape our faith?

John Carr, co-director of the Initiative, former director of justice and peace efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and former fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, moderated the conversation.

Resources

View a list of articles, books, podcasts, and other resources for this dialogue.

This Public Dialogue was part of the Initiative’s Faith and the Faithful in U.S. Politics series and was supported by Democracy Fund.

Participants

Angela Espada

Angela Espada

Angela Espada is the executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, which advocates for Catholic principles and policies at the state level. She previously served as the dean of admissions and student services for the Indiana University McKinney School of Law and as associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis campus.

Ruth Graham

Ruth Graham

Ruth Graham is a Dallas-based national correspondent covering religion, faith, and values for the New York Times. She graduated from Wheaton College and previously worked as a writer and reporter at Slate.

Rev. Alvin Herring

Rev. Alvin Herring

Rev. Alvin Herring is the executive director of Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. An ordained Christian minister, he previously served as director for racial equity and community engagement for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and dean of students at the University of Louisville.

Russell Moore

Russell Moore

Russell Moore is the director of the Public Theology Project at Christianity Today and the former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of The Courage to Stand: Facing Your Fear Without Losing Your Soul (2020) and Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel (2015).

Rev. Jim Wallis

Rev. Jim Wallis

Rev. Jim Wallis is the first Chair in Faith and Justice and leader of the Center on Faith and Justice in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is co-chair of the Circle of Protection, founder of Sojourners, and the author of Christ in Crisis (2020), America's Original Sin (2017), and The Soul of Politics (1994).