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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
'Religious left' launched in US
George W Bush attending church
Bush's values may have helped him win the last election
A group of progressive Christians in the US have launched a new political movement to counter what they describe as the power of the religious right.

The Christian Alliance for Progress aims to "reclaim Christianity" and influence the political agenda.

"We can no longer stand by and watch people speak hatred, division, war and greed in the name of our faith," said Patrick Mrotek, the Alliance's founder.

The body joins other liberal religious groups formed around the 2004 election.

Key issues

Polls suggest that those who voted for President George W Bush on account of his values may have swung the election in his favour.

"We are here because the language spoken by the religious right is Christian - this requires a uniquely Christian response," Mr Mrotek added.

In particular, the Alliance hopes to speak out on issues such as stem cell research and abortion.

"Many Americans, especially people of faith, are ready to hear from Christians who are tolerant, and who understand the many ways that our faiths impact our views of public life," it says on its website.

The group based in Jacksonville plans to recruit members nationwide.

A poll conducted last November by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found 63% of people who attend church services more than once a week vote Republican, while 37% vote Democrat.

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