The United States has always had an active, vibrant, and influential religious Left. In every period of our history, people of faith have envisioned a society of peace and justice, and their tireless efforts have powered the social movements that have defined America's progress: the abolition of slavery, feminism, the New Deal, civil rights, and others.
In this groundbreaking, definitive work, McKanan treats the histories of religion and of the Left as a single history, showing that American radicalism is a continuous tradition rather than a collection of disparate movements. Emphasizing the power of encounter--between whites and former slaves, between the middle classes and the immigrant masses, and among activists themselves--McKanan shows that the coming together of people of different perspectives and beliefs has been transformative for centuries, uniting those whose faith is a source of activist commitment with those whose activism is a source of faith. Offering a history of the diverse religious dimensions of radical movements from the American Revolution to the present day, Prophetic Encounters invites contemporary activists to stand proudly in a tradition of prophetic power.