When many of us on the staff of The Christian Left were growing up in the 70’s, Christianity seemed to be much more benevolent, caring and non-judgmental, you know, like Jesus was. Now, more often than not, its public face seems to be about greed, judgment, jingoism, misogyny, exclusivity, sanctimony, hypocrisy, and bigotry, at least among American evangelicals. It saddens us to no end.
Today, 73% of American Christians identify as right-wing according to polls. All this can be traced back to the infiltration and exploitation of Christianity by the radical right. To read about how this happened, click here.
Rather than walking around depressed about it, we decided to create The Christian Left.
Wikipedia says the following about The Christian Left:
As the unofficial title of a loose association of believers, it provides a clear distinction from the more commonly known “Christian Right” or “Religious Right” and its key leaders and political views.
The most common religious viewpoint which might be described as ‘left wing’ is social justice, or care for the poor and the oppressed. Supporters might encourage universal health care, welfare provisions, subsidized education, foreign aid, and affirmative action for improving the conditions of the disadvantaged. Stemming from egalitarian values, adherents of The Christian Left consider it part of their religious duty to take actions on behalf of the oppressed.
The Christian Left holds that social justice, renunciation of power, humility, forgiveness, and private observation of prayer (as opposed to publicly mandated prayer), are mandated by the Gospel (Matthew 6:5-6). The Bible contains accounts of Jesus repeatedly advocating for the poor and outcast over the wealthy, powerful, and religious. The Christian Left maintains that such a stance is relevant and important. Adhering to the standard of “turning the other cheek,” which they believe supersedes the Old Testament law of “an eye for an eye,” the Christian Left often hearkens towards pacifism in opposition to policies advancing militarism.
While non-religious socialists sometimes find support for socialism in the Gospels (for example Mikhail Gorbachev citing Jesus as “the first socialist”), The Christian Left does not find socialism alone to be an adequate end or means. Christian faith is the core of their belief, which in turn demands social justice.
That’s a pretty good description of who we are. We would add that we are not pacifists in the traditional sense. While we believe in non-violence as it pertains to political protest, we believe that individuals and nation states have the right to self defense. That said, we think the Pentagon's budget has become ridiculously bloated. The military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about is here and now, and it's out of control.
Where political/economic systems are concerned, we favor social democracy. Social democracy rejects the “either/or” polarization interpretation of capitalism versus socialism. Social democracy argues that all citizens should be legally entitled to certain social rights. These are made up of universal access to public services such as education, health care, workers' compensation, and other services including care for the elderly. Social democracy also advocates for freedom from discrimination based on differences of disability, age, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, or social class. In short, we believe that some things belong in the public sector, others belong in the market driven private sector.
If the idea of social democracy seems scary to you, don't let it be. We already have a form of it in the United States. Some services such as K-12 education and social security for the elderly and disabled are already legally entitled social rights. We just want to add a few things to that, like easier access to higher education and universal single payer health care.
Taking all of the above factors into account, in today's political climate, we're classified as liberals. That's fine, we're liberals because we're Christians, and we're reclaiming both titles as something to be proud of.
Wikipedia goes on to say this:
The Christian Left does not seem to be so well-organized or publicized as its right-wing counterparts. Opponents state that this is because it is less numerous. Supporters contend that it is actually more numerous but composed predominantly of persons less willing to voice political views in as forceful a manner as the Christian Right, possibly because of the aggressiveness of the Christian Right. Further, supporters contend that the Christian Left has had relatively little success securing widespread corporate, political, and major media patronage compared to the Right.
That's where we come in. We intend to change all that. We're tired of our faith being highjacked by the right. We want to raise up a voice distinctly different from that of The Christian Right. We don't like what they've come to represent, at all, and we don't think their agenda looks anything like what Jesus taught.
Over the last two and a half years, thanks to all of you, we've built a membership of over 100,000 people, from all walks of life. We've also helped form a political action committee called Christians for a Change. We intend to make the voice of The Christian Left, your voice, heard. The right has perverted the message of our Savior for long enough.
We firmly believe in the separation of Church and State. All people must be free to worship or not worship as they see fit. There can be no state religion or religious test to hold public office. Nevertheless, Jesus instructed us to be the salt of the earth, and that is what we intend to do. We intend to speak truth to power and defend the weak and the oppressed, whom Jesus referred to as the least of these. We don't believe that private and individual charity is enough. In fact, we don't even like the word charity. We think Jesus' commands to love and care for others were given as universals, without exempting any human organizations or institutions. All human institutions, governments and businesses included, are responsible to care for others --- especially since individual or private charity can never be or do enough.
What we're attempting to do is a daunting task. It looks impossible. The Christian Right is extremely powerful and very well funded. Some of the groups among their ranks include the following:
(This list includes links. Click to view each website.)
-- The Christian Coalition of America
-- The Family Research Council
-- The Council for National Policy
-- Family Talk Radio
-- Salem Communications
-- The Eagle Forum
-- The American Family Association
... and many, many more. For more information on the above groups read, "The Enemies Within: The 20 Most Dangerous Conservatives And Their Organizations."
So, with the faith of a mustard seed, we set out to take back our faith from right-wing extremists, fanatics, and fundamentalists. We can't do it without your help. Please make a donation today, and donate regularly.
God Bless You
What we do with donations.
- Click on the Donation Page link on the last part of this paragraph. Try to open it in a new tab so you can come back from tab to tab and read the directions. Usually you do this by right-clicking on the link itself and selecting “open in new tab.” Here’s the Donation link ----> http://www.thechristianleft.org/donate
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