As a faith leader and a progressive activist, I have always found that my faith fuels my drive to create a better world. It gives language to the inner moral compass that I have which makes me outraged at unjust systems and the oppression of the vulnerable. So I have been perplexed for years as to why my fellow progressive activists and political leaders have more often than not shied away from faith. After all, a majority of our country is still religious in 2020. Most people see faith as an important framework for creating their worldview and guiding their political process. Even among progressives, there is a large faith contingent that are progressive in part because of the teachings of their faith tradition. It seems like a strategic error to suppress the faith of candidates and activists as a way of garnering more support or commitment- embracing faith seems like it would help connect with people more deeply.
This is how I have felt for a long time, until I met Governor Martin O’Malley. The first time I met him was actually when I was 17 years old and was invited to be one of the pray-ers at Baltimores New Years Eve Interfaith Prayer Service. Every year, the Governor would also attend this event and lead a prayer for our city and state. As a young aspiring pastor, I remember standing in the fellowship hall of the Catholic Church before we processed out into the sanctuary amazed at how Governor O’Malley was engaging with the faith leaders around him, quoting theologians off of the top of his head, at length. Something was different here- O’Malley seemed unashamed of his faith and actually seemed to link it quite well to his public policy positions and general platform as our Democratic Governor.
Over the years, I’ve watched O’Malley from a distance, and when he announced his candidacy for President in 2016, I had the chance to sit down with him in a pub in Washington D.C. and interview him about his faith for a Huffington Post article. (Check that out here.) Since then, as I have gone on to consult a good number of progressive politicians, political organizations, and non profits on how to engage with faith, I have always returned to O’Malley as the prime example of someone who bridges the divide between progressive politics and his Catholic faith extremely well.
This morning, I sat down with Governor O’Malley once again, to ask about his perspective on our current election, the role that faith is playing in it, and his new book Smarter Government which makes the case for a renewed understanding of how government should work in our ever evolving tech-driven world. The entire conversation will show you exactly how and why faith can be a powerful tool for progressive to argue our vision for a more just and prosperous future of our world. So I hope you’ll take some time and listen in to my conversation with the inspiring former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley.
To pick up a copy of Governor O’Malleys new book, Smarter Government, click here.