492 Cafe

Michael Lerner

Recorded, Edited and Produced by Freeman Z

Michael lerner spoke in Cambridge about his new book "The Left hand of God, ...Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right"

Questions and Answers

About Rabbi Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner is a Psychologist and founder of Tikkun, a progressive spiritual organization rooted in the Jewish tradition. He’s also Editor of a magazine by the same name. Tikkun takes it’s name from a Hebrew word meaning to heal and to tranform the world .<http://www.tikkun.org>

Touring with his new book “The Left Hand of God, Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right” (excerpt) Lerner spoke on February 14th at the gorgeous sanctuary of the First Church (UCC) in Cambridge.

About Stan Duncan

Duncan’s intro is lively and humorous, with important info on Rabbi Lerner and his work. The Reverend Doctor Stanley G. B. Duncan is Senior Pastor of the United Church of Christ, in Abington, Massachusetts. Stan Duncan is also Chair of the Jubilee Justice Taskforce of the United Church of Christ, Chair of the Economic Globalization Taskforce of the United Church of Christ, and a Member of the National Coordinating Committee of Jubilee USA.

Notes About the Speech -by Freeman Z

Lerner’s thesis is that America is suffering from a spiritual crisis, which is both caused by, and articulated by the Right Wing, gaining undue credibility for the “primary articulator” of the problems it itself has caused. He criticizes the Left Wing for allowing this hypocrisy by it’s being ”not even in the relevant ballpark.”

Left Wing anti-religiosity, he says, is rooted in the rise of the bourgeoisie which appropriately equated religion with spirituality with the feudalism of the middle ages. Given the fact of how many Americans claim to be believers, and to pray daily, he argues that the Left’s rejection of religion springs from the incorrect equation of religion with the Right Wing’s antispiritual agenda, (falling neatly into the trap!) Lerner defines an anti-spiritual world view as one of fear (versus hope,) of me-first-ism and rational maximizing of self interest versus a sense of mutual respect, wonder, and awe at creation.

The Rabbi offers a material manifestation of his vision in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment requiring citizen review and approval of corporate charters conditional upon demonstrating social responsibility. He explains that this is in the interest of corporate people, whom he says, are frustrated by the prospect of working for the bottom line of the holders of capital, and who are seeking a higher purpose, or at least to feel less ‘dirty.’

Amusingly, Lerner compares audience reactions to his thesis from the coasts with middle America, concluding that each is interested in his vision, but that each projects that the other would not be.


This work is offered in loving memory of Thomas James Boretos Smith, 48, of Northampton. Tom died on February 20th. He was a great friend, an enthusiastic supporter of my political work, and a Singer-Songwriter. Our unfinished recording project, begun last fall, was to be a refinement on his previously released recordings, which were unique compositions in his own personal version of the bossa-nova style.

Recordings are copyright Freeman Z, 1990-2006.