what is the christian left? (was: RE: Abortion and the Death Penalty (To Rakesh))

Frances Bolton (PHI) fbolton at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Tue Jun 9 20:01:44 PDT 1998


I think you're right to suggest we should examine how we are using thesese terms, and I think you make a good start. I wonder, though, if a critque of capitalism need be the starting point, or primary focus, of the groups we're terming the christian left. There are catholics whose primary focus is challenging church abortion policy, or fighting for the ordination of women. There are protestant groups that are fighting for the ordination and/or full inclusion of l/g/b/t people in their congregations. Others are working to publicize human rights abuses in Rwanda or challenfging the privatization of social entitlement programs. Now, many of these groups are implicitly challenging patriarchal/heterosexist/militaristic capitalist systems. But that is not the way they are framing their challenges to these systems.

So, I might want to say of the christian left that they are offering a critique of *exclusive* systesm, and want a society modeled along inclusive, egalitarian lines. That would include critiques of capitalism, but would also include to challenges such as those I mentioned above.

It is possible that my formulation is too vague, though--I don't know.

Yours, Frances

On Tue, 9 Jun 1998, Michael Eisenscher wrote:
> Maybe we need to stop and agree on some common definitions of terms.
> When I refer to "the Left," it is generally to folks who self-identify as
> socialists, anarchists, communists, marxists, maoists, troskyists, and all
> the other -ists who share some form of radical critique of capitalism and
> see the need for a fundamental transformation of society and political
> economy along non-capitalist lines -- although they may disagree on what
> that means and how to get there.
> When I refer the "religious left," I am speaking about people with a
> comparable critique of capitalism, but who approach that critique from a
> faith-based, as opposed or in addition to a political/economic or
> materialist, perspective. They too do not all agree on what should replace
> it or how to get there, and have the added disagreements between them over
> theological issues.

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