Statement of purpose
Religion is a significant force in the personal lives of many Americans and in the nation’s public life. At its best, religion serves as a source of meaning, a force for justice, and an inspiration for the common good. Religious and spiritual values can call us to a purpose higher than ourselves and offer a prophetic voice for liberation, mercy, healing, and hope. However, religion can also be used as a divisive, intrusive weapon that sows rancor, intolerance, and fear.
The Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress works to strengthen the religious, spiritual, and moral values that inspire us to achieve a more just, merciful nation and world—and to build support for the policies that will help bring this vision into reality.
Our primary focus issues include economic inequality, reproductive justice, religious liberty, racial justice, climate change, LGBT equality, immigration reform, and more. In all these areas, we work to reshape the public debate so that all Americans are equipped to lead purposeful lives in a nation that provides opportunity, fairness, and freedom for all.
Pursuing a more just economy
The Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative works to strengthen the efforts of people grounded in faith and conscience to reduce economic inequality and promote economic justice. The stark economic imbalance in the United States raises basic questions about the purpose of the economy and whom it should serve. We work with faith and grassroots community groups to frame the public debate in terms of fairness and justice for America’s families; raise up unjust aspects of inequality; promote decent work; recognize vulnerable populations; ensure economic security for women and families, and help build opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
In collaboration with CAP’s policy experts, we connect faith leaders with campaigns for higher wages, affordable health care, Medicaid expansion, equal pay, early childhood education, better workplace conditions, and work-family flexibility polices, such as paid sick and family leave. We work on both the state and national level to deliver timely content and targeted messaging on issues regarding economic justice. The initiative also partners with TalkPoverty.org, a project of the Center for American Progress, to elevate the voices of individuals and communities on the front lines of anti-poverty efforts.
Advancing sexual and reproductive rights and justice
The initiative helps strengthen the work of faith-based leaders and advocates who support reproductive justice because of their faith and conscience. Together, we are working at the state and federal level for policies that safeguard women’s reproductive health and personal decision-making. Much of our work focuses on raising the voices of those who are most marginalized by regressive policies, such as low-income women and communities of color, in policy debates.
An important part of our work includes the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute, whose leaders are helping bring about cultural and policy change through writing, outreach, and advocacy. Together, they work within faith communities, universities, and reproductive rights and justice organizations to oppose punitive policies that harm women’s health and stand up for policies and moral arguments that promote reproductive health, rights, and justice.
Promoting an inclusive vision of religious liberty
Religious liberty is a core American value—one that is treasured by citizens and protected by the Constitution. Unfortunately, many opponents of marriage equality and women’s reproductive health claim that religious liberty allows them to opt out of laws to which they object. We work to raise the voices of faith-based leaders and advocates to promote an inclusive vision of religious liberty—one that supports human and civil rights and does not use religious liberty to discriminate or coerce others to abide by beliefs not their own. We work to provide new insights into the religious liberty debate, bringing together diverse voices in order to raise important questions and find common ground within our pluralistic society.
With allies on the state and national level, we work to oppose policies with overly broad religious exemptions that cause harm to others and support policies that promote religious liberty for all, rather than a favored few.
We also work with CAP’s national security and international policy experts to promote religious freedom abroad and combat threats of violence facing the global community. We connect faith leaders with policy experts to promote the right of all people to freely worship and believe according to their conscience.