The Interfaith Alliance is one of a constellation of nonprofit organizations on the political left, promoting religious pluralism and democracy, that have mobilized as the Christian and political right has dominated the religious liberty debate in recent years.
This week the alliance announced that the Rev. Paul Raushenbush, an interfaith leader, journalist and American Baptist minister, would become its new president and CEO, replacing Rabbi Jack Moline.
A former associate dean of religious life at Princeton University, Raushenbush founded Huffington Post’s religion section in 2009 before serving as senior vice president of Auburn Seminary, and most recently as senior adviser for public affairs and innovation at Interfaith America.
His personal history, as much as his resume, reads like a wall chart of American religious pluralism: He is the great-grandson of Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, and the great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch, the foremost theologian of the social gospel movement in the early 20th century, which sought a Christian rationale for solving social ills such as poverty, alcoholism, crime and child labor. He is currently at work on a biography of his grandmother, the economist Elizabeth Brandeis.
Interfaith Alliance, a small nonprofit with annual revenue of less than $1 million, was formed in 1994 after GOP allies of conservative religious groups scored major gains in the midterm elections, taking back the U.S. House from the Democratic majority after 40 years. It was the beginning of a longterm political shift.