Saturday, June 25, 2005

Towards a Christian Left in the U.S

My year of living in the United States and my intensive reading of the history of Canada in the first few decades of the twentieth century have left me increasingly convinced that any significant progress towards transforming politics in the United States in a progressive or even (gasp) democratic/libertarian socialist direction will involve liberal, progressive, and leftist Christians organizing and reclaiming their faith from the death-grip of anti-rationalist, bigoted, war-mongering nutters in the pay of big business. Liberation theology, the radical social gospel, and Christian socialism need to find a renaissance if this country and this world are going to ease their way out of the prison created by the enormous hierarchies of power and privilege to which right-wing Christians give God's supposed blessing. Only when a significant part of a renewed charge in this country's heartland is lead by folks who can't just be dismissed, as I can, as being not worthy of consideration because they aren't Christians; and only when the lefty Christians in question are organized not as pallid apologists for the Democrats but true evangelists of the radical love and the lovely radicalness embodied in the best elements of the gospels (and significant parts of the Old Testament as well) will there be a glimmer of hope for, if not salvation, at least meaningful progress towards justice and liberation in this world.

Anyway, I don't know a whole lot about them, but this group (found via PageOneQ) seems to be taking steps in that direction.

And while I'm at it, here's a link to the Student Christian Movement, a group for Canadian university students motivated by their Christian faith to get involved in struggles for peace and social justice. It was founded in 1921 by veterans who returned from World War One with a vision for restructuring society in the interests of peace and justice, and by the '30s it was an important institution of Christian socialism and the radical social gospel in Canada -- at least three of my interivew participants were involved with the group back in that era. I don't know much about its history since then, but judging by the website it seems to have kept up a tradition of doing pretty cool stuff.

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