Left vs. right. Woke vs. the unwoke. Red State Jesus vs. Blue State Jesus.

There are some leaders who see faith and politics strictly as an either/or competition: You win by turning out your side and crushing the opposition.

But the Rev. William J. Barber II, who has been called “the closest person we have to MLK” in contemporary America, has refined a third mode of activism called fusion politics.” It creates political coalitions that often transcend the conservative vs. progressive binary.

Barber, a MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, says a coalition of the “rejected stones” of America—the poor, immigrants, working-class whites, religious minorities, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community can transform the country because they share a common enemy.

“The same forces demonizing immigrants are also attacking low-wage workers,” the North Carolina pastor said in an interview several years ago. “The same politicians denying living wages are also suppressing the vote; the same people who want less of us to vote are also denying the evidence of the climate crisis and refusing to act now; the same people who are willing to destroy the Earth are willing to deny tens of millions of Americans access to health care.”

Barber’s fusion politics has helped transform the 59-year-old pastor into one of the country’s most prominent activist and speakers. As co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, he has helped lead one of the nation’s most sustained and visible anti-poverty efforts.