But the nonreligious don't dominate the Democratic Party in numbers. They make up 31 percent of self-identified political liberals, according to the PRRI survey, while religious progressives comprise 33 percent of liberals.
"For liberalism to thrive, there needs to be acceptance and, even better, some respect across the boundaries of belief and nonbelief," wrote E.J. Dionne, a senior fellow at Brookings.
Dionne wrote that the most effective way for Republicans and Democrats to tap into the strength of religious progressives is to appeal to what members of this elusive group have in common — a passion for social causes like immigration reform, wage reform, combatting human trafficking, lowering incarceration rates of minorities, etc.
And the Rev. Laarman said the effort won't just shore up the future of either political party but benefit society at-large as well.
"People forget that religion was used for most progressive change in America," he said.
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