Abortion and the Death Penalty (To Rakesh)

Carl Remick cremick at rlmnet.com
Wed Jun 10 06:44:49 PDT 1998

One problem with "explicitly socialist" Christians is that they are (regrettably) walking on thin ice, doctrinally speaking. There is an excellent discussion of this in an essay by 19th century ethicist Charles Watts titled "Was Christ a Political and Social Reformer?" (which may be found at http://freethought.org/library/historical/charles_watts/christ_a_politic al_reformer.html). Watts' answer, supported by a close reading of the gospel, is an emphatic no. Watts is a very lucid thinker and writer and is worth a look.

> ----------
> From: Justin Schwartz[SMTP:jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 1998 8:17 AM
> To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> Cc: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com; lbo-talk at lists.panix.com;
> lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> Subject: RE: Abortion and the Death Penalty (To Rakesh)
> > 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.
> If you mean the religious left is confined to explicitly socialist
> religious peoples, that's a small group. Catholic Workers, Jim
> Wallis-Soujourners types. But the religious activists I have known
> generally reject what they describe as materialism (greed),
> competitiveness, and accept what most Marxists would regard as a
> standard
> if somewhat superficial--and not always superficial, cf Penny Lernoux,
> if
> anyone remembers her--analysis of capitalism. I don't mean, the labor
> theory of value, but rather the general idea that the world exconomy
> runs
> on exploitation and injustice and can't fixed by merely ameliorating
> these. I would say that most so-called socialist activists I know,a s
> opposed to theorists, operate on ther same wavelength.
> I should note taht even rather conservative versions of Christianity
> sometimes have an articulated critique of capitalism. Catholicism is a
> case in point.
> --jks

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