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The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right Hardcover – 1 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition First Printing edition (1 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060842474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060842475
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,451,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"An enormously important book.practical steps we can take to launch a spiritual revolution and save this beautiful planet." -- Robert Thurman

"Lerner articulates . a vision of hope that taps into the spiritual needs of all people." -- Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives

"A highly decent and challenging critique." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Part social critique, part save-the-world primer, The Left Hand of God brims with hopeful proposals."--Houston Chronicle

"The Left Hand of God serves the vital purpose of articulating a progressive religious alternative."--Washington Post Book World

"A book that sends a clear call to everyone who cares about the future of America."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A brilliant and penetrating analysis of the way religion is now used politically .... "--John Shelby Spong

"Just sharing these profound ideas that Lerner presents in such an accessible manner is itself a great contribution you could make to healing our country"--Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

"[A] practical, compelling vision of a politics of generosity."--Walter Bruggemann

"The Left Hand of God is essential reading for everyone concerned about the future of this country."--Fritjof Capra

"A renewed politics far more profound than either the Republicans or the Democrats have been able to muster...."--Richard Upford-Chase, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA

"[T]his book pulsates with life and spirit and the passion of the prophets of old. Bravo! "--Matthew Fox

"Lerner is a rare voice of sanity and intelligence in a nation where our moral values have been corrupted ...."--Howard Zinn

"An insightful, inspiring book by Rabbi Lerner that can put America back on track."--Arun Gandhi, president, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

"THE LEFT HAND OF GOD reclaims the common ground of peace and social justice which gird all authentic spiritualities...."--Reverend John Dear

"Lerner articulates ... a vision of hope that taps into the spiritual needs of all people."--Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives

"Rabbi Lerner makes sense, finds meaning and sees hope in an America many feel is spiraling downward into destructive divisions."--Harvey Cox

"[T]he blueprint for transforming the conscious heart of a nation ...."--Michael Franti, Musician

"Lerner's spiritually based politics is just what this country needs."--Tony Campolo

"Lerner's needed voice for progressive spirituality will find resonance across many faith traditions. I'm deeply grateful for his work."--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian

"Lerner's proposal is a visionary response to this urgent need ..."--Richard Gere

"An enormously important book...practical steps we can take to launch a spiritual revolution and save this beautiful planet."--Robert Thurman

"For those who dare to imagine a country where peace, freedom, and justice prevail...."--Spirituality and Health magazine

"A highly decent and challenging critique."--Kirkus Reviews

"A provocative invitation to the broad dialogue we need..."--Christian Century

"A serious critique of how both the religious right and liberals have used and abused the influence of religion ...."--America Magazine

"A rallying cry and a theoretical and scholarly analysis of the appeal of the religious right."--Boston Globe

"Many will find Lerner's 8-point "Spiritual Covenant with America" revitalizing grist for discussion...."--Providence Journal

"The blueprint for the next stage in the spiritual development of our planet."--Deepak Chopra

"In this important book, Lerner shows us how we can reclaim truths that we are in danger of losing. "--Karen Armstrong

"Spiritual commitment requires political action, or amounts to nothing. That is the fundamental truth of The Left Hand of God."--George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of An Elephant

Just sharing these profound ideas that Lerner presents in such an accessible manner is itself a great contribution you could make to healing our country --Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism"

The Left Hand of God is essential reading for everyone concerned about the future of this country. --Fritjof Capra"

[A] practical, compelling vision of a politics of generosity. --Walter Bruggemann"

Lerner s spiritually based politics is just what this country needs. --Tony Campolo"

Lerner s proposal is a visionary response to this urgent need --Richard Gere"

A brilliant and penetrating analysis of the way religion is now used politically . --John Shelby Spong"

[T]his book pulsates with life and spirit and the passion of the prophets of old. Bravo! --Matthew Fox"

Lerner is a rare voice of sanity and intelligence in a nation where our moral values have been corrupted . --Howard Zinn"

An insightful, inspiring book by Rabbi Lerner that can put America back on track. --Arun Gandhi, president, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence"

[T]he blueprint for transforming the conscious heart of a nation . --Michael Franti, Musician"

In this important book, Lerner shows us how we can reclaim truths that we are in danger of losing. --Karen Armstrong"

Spiritual commitment requires political action, or amounts to nothing. That is the fundamental truth of The Left Hand of God. --George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of An Elephant"

Rabbi Lerner makes sense, finds meaning and sees hope in an America many feel is spiraling downward into destructive divisions. --Harvey Cox"

Lerner articulates a vision of hope that taps into the spiritual needs of all people. --Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives"

THE LEFT HAND OF GOD reclaims the common ground of peace and social justice which gird all authentic spiritualities . --Reverend John Dear"

A renewed politics far more profound than either the Republicans or the Democrats have been able to muster . --Richard Upford-Chase, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA"

Lerner s needed voice for progressive spirituality will find resonance across many faith traditions. I m deeply grateful for his work. --Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian"

An enormously important book practical steps we can take to launch a spiritual revolution and save this beautiful planet. --Robert Thurman"

The blueprint for the next stage in the spiritual development of our planet. --Deepak Chopra"

A highly decent and challenging critique. --Kirkus Reviews"

A book that sends a clear call to everyone who cares about the future of America. --Los Angeles Times Book Review"

The Left Hand of God serves the vital purpose of articulating a progressive religious alternative. --Washington Post Book World"

A provocative invitation to the broad dialogue we need --Christian Century"

Part social critique, part save-the-world primer, The Left Hand of God brims with hopeful proposals. --Houston Chronicle"

Many will find Lerner s 8-point Spiritual Covenant with America revitalizing grist for discussion.... --Providence Journal"

For those who dare to imagine a country where peace, freedom, and justice prevail.... --Spirituality and Health magazine"

A serious critique of how both the religious right and liberals have used and abused the influence of religion . --America Magazine"

A rallying cry and a theoretical and scholarly analysis of the appeal of the religious right. --Boston Globe" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rabbi Michael Lerner is an internationally renowned social theorist, theologian, psychotherapist, and the editor of Tikkun magazine. He earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute. Lerner is rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue, which meets in San Francisco and Berkeley. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Left Hand of God analyses the socio-political conditions that have led to the religious right's rise to prominence in the US and the way the Republicans have manipulated a culture of fear to serve the interests of corporate America. Braver still, it tries to envisage an alternative left wing politics that embraces the deeply-felt spiritual needs of the American people, rather than deriding them.

Lerner convincingly portrays an America in a spiritual crisis instigated by cuthroat market economics and me-first materialism. He argues that the religious right has been successful in responding to this crisis by offering a sense of community and purpose to those craving a higher meaning in life. However, he suggests that these religious groups espouse the unmerciful notion of god realised in the Day of Judgement (or, Right Hand of God), unleashing an avenging holy war against evil. Lerner argues that although this belief is at odds with religious traditions of love and compassion, it is not evil but simply misguided, and that the Left alienates potential voters by dismissing spirituality as a founding priniciple behind its politics.

Lerner explains that the religious right has gained power by funding from an administration that seeks to legitimise its manifesto of world domination and continuous conflict. Meanwhile the right has cleverly succeeded in blaming the left for promoting immoral secularist social values, which the Left is unable to effectively counter because of their perceived antipathy towards religion. The dark irony of this is that it is the Republicans who give corporate America the freedom to create a culture of greed and materialism that make people feel disenfranchised in the first place.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 51 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely insightful book 22 Nov. 2006
By J. C. Andrijeski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really well-written book that very accurately portrays the "values" crisis (I prefer Lerner's term meaning needs) that is growing increasingly chronic in the United States. I actually found myself looking at how I categorize and appraise others differently after reading this book, in terms of where and when I view people with utilitarian lenses...where I parcel people into lists of attributes and even beliefs without seeing the total person. It's appalling how often I do this out of reflex and training. This book is also a reminder that to understand political currents you really need to understand individuals and the goggles through which they view the world.

Further, I feel that Lerner clearly addresses some of the biggest frustrations I've had with the Left in this country, in terms of their own materialist dogmatism. I absolutely agree with Lerner's assessment that the Left has been deaf and dumb to the meaning needs of Americans, thus opening the way to the Republicans filling this gap in extremely hurtful ways. Through these currents, the extreme Right have consistently bred and fed the flames of intolerance, fear and bigotry in an already reactionary populace following 9/11.

I hope that those in the Democratic party read this book with an open mind, and choose their leaders with an eye to finding those who actually stand for something besides winning elections. Because frankly, people aren't stupid and the Democratic Party's consistent waffling on their ideals and/or reactionary stance changes in response to attacks by the Right Wing are an embarrassment. If you don't believe the values you espouse or don't have the strength to stand behind them (or only "develop" them in response to polling data) then you're not going to fool anyone into thinking you're sincere. I don't think the problem is a lack of values in the Democrats so much as a lack of faith in the American people. They need to find someone who's willing to stand up there and take hits...not crumple every time someone on the Right reacts to what they're saying and bludgeons them with the same old language of fear.

Great book...and a good start on this dialogue. The biggest message of this book is hope, and a call for people to pull together and not be misled by the most vocal extremists of both sides.
2.0 out of 5 stars Too anti-left 26 Nov. 2012
By Charlotte Dee Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a lefty but I also am a preacher in a progressive church. I couldn't bring myself to finish the book because I couldn't stand the continous critisism of "Lefties" I would hope it changed later in the book and if it does maybe I'll finish it.
4.0 out of 5 stars A new prospective on the Religious Right 21 Feb. 2013
By Edward Siemon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been seeing the ever increasing influence of the single issure Religiout Right on our government. Learner brought out some new prospective from one who is not directly connected with the Christian religion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Nov. 2014
By gerald dreiling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just righton!!!
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing with The Left Hand of God 19 Mar. 2006
By Gregory Olinyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a somewhat hard-nosed venture capitalist and Christian, I surprised myself two years ago when I started reading Tikkun, a bimonthly Jewish newsletter that critiques politics, culture and society, and is edited by Rabbi Michael Lerner. Then, while researching material for my forthcoming book on transforming the U.S. government into one that serves its people rather than Big Money and the selfish element of certain special interest groups, I found The Left Hand of God to be a beautifully written, even-handed, description of what is going on in American and international society. "Left Hand" is an invaluable resource for understanding how we all fit together and can achieve the destiny that God wants us to attain. There is a goodness and sincerity to his writing that we all would do well to adopt and emulate.
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