Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joshua Scacco, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Keith Berry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sonia Ivancic, Ph.D.


diversity, identity construction, identity labels, inclusion, news media


While Christianity in American politics today is mostly dominated by the voice of the Religious Right, many are unaware that there also exists a significant number of progressive Christians throughout the country. This diverse group, often referred to as the Christian Left, is not as organized or outspoken as conservative Christians and tends to shy away from the restrictive influence of identity labels. However, members all share in common a passion for social justice issues. This study aims to gain a deeper understanding of the identity of Christian Left individuals through a thematic analysis of interviews. By interrogating participants’ identity construction processes and experiences, the research reveals that their passion for social justice stems from a religious emphasis on showing love to others. By prioritizing religious values over identity labels, they seek a community of diversity and inclusion. In fact, labels can either make these individuals feel rejected and outcast or offer them a sense of community and belonging. Additionally, the study looks closely at the ways in which the news media influences their identity construction. Its tendency to suppress identities and divide communities inspires these Christian Left individuals to speak up and make their true identities known. An increased visibility and a better understanding of the Christian Left has the potential to strengthen progressive politics and help bridge divides in a very polarized society. It can also help other Christians seeking a renewed identity to find a more inclusive community that welcomes them for who they are.