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This article is about Christian political movement. For Chilean Christian left-wing political party name used prior to 2013, see Christian Left Party of Chile.
The Christian left is a range of centre-left and left-wingChristian political and social movements that largely embrace social justice viewpoints and uphold a social gospel. Given the inherent diversity in international political thought, the term can have different meanings and applications in different countries. Although there is some overlap, the Christian left is distinct from liberal Christianity, meaning not all Christian leftists are liberal Christians, and vice versa. Some Christian leftists have socially conservative views on social issues but lean left on economic issues.
As with any section within the left and right wings of a political spectrum, a label such as "Christian left" represents an approximation, including within it groups and persons holding many diverse viewpoints. The term left-wing might encompass a number of values, some of which may or may not be held by different Christian movements and individuals.
As the unofficial title of a loose association of believers, it does provide a clear distinction from the more commonly known "Christian right" or "religious right" and from its key leaders and political views.
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[quantify] hearkens towards pacifism in opposition to policies advancing militarism.
For much of the early history of anti-establishment leftist movements such as socialism and communism (which was highly anti-clerical in the 19th century), some established churches were led by clergy who saw revolution as a threat to their status and power. The church was sometimes seen as part of the establishment. Revolutions in America, France, Russia and (much later) Spain were in part directed against the established churches (or rather their leading clergy) and instituted a separation of church and state.
However, in the 19th century some writers and activists developed a school of thought, Christian socialism, a branch of Christian thought that was infused with socialism.
To a significant degree, the Christian left developed out of the experiences of clergy who went to do pastoral work among the working class, often beginning without any social philosophy but simply a pastoral and evangelistic concern for workers. This was particularly true among the Methodists and Anglo-Catholics in England, Father Adolph Kolping in Germany and Joseph Cardijn in Belgium.
Christian left and campaigns for peace and human rights
The Christian left generally approaches homosexuality differently from other Christian political groups. This approach can be driven by focusing on issues differently despite holding similar religious views, or by holding different religious ideas. Those in the Christian left who have similar ideas as other Christian political groups but a different focus may view Christian teachings on certain issues, such as the Bible's prohibitions against killing or criticisms of concentrations of wealth, as far more politically important than Christian teachings on social issues emphasized by the religious right, such as opposition to homosexuality. Others in the Christian left have not only a different focus on issues from other Christian political groups, but different religious ideas as well.
For example, all members of the Christian left consider discrimination and bigotry against homosexuals to be immoral, but they differ on their views towards homosexual sex. Some believe homosexual sex to be immoral but largely unimportant when compared with issues relating to social justice, or even matters of sexual morality involving heterosexual sex. Others affirm that some homosexual practices are compatible with the Christian life. Such members believe common biblical arguments used to condemn homosexuality are misinterpreted, and that biblical prohibitions of homosexual practices are actually against a specific type of homosexual sex act, i.e. pederasty, the sodomizing of young boys by older men. Thus, they hold biblical prohibitions to be irrelevant when considering modern same-sex relationships.
Liberation theology is a theological tradition that emerged in the developing world, especially Latin America. Since the 1960s, Catholic thinkers have integrated left-wing thought and Catholicism, giving rise to Liberation Theology. It arose at a time when Catholic thinkers who opposed the despotic leaders in South and Central America allied themselves with the communist opposition. However, it developed independently of and roughly simultaneously with Black theology in the U.S. and should not be confused with it. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided that while liberation theology is partially compatible with Catholic social teaching, certain Marxist elements of it, such as the doctrine of perpetual class struggle, are against Church teachings.
Igino Giordani, Christian Democrat politician. He was one of the authors of the first Bill on conscientious objectors,in 1949. Regarded as a co-founder of the Catholic/ecumenical Focolare Movement which promotes universal fraternity.
Ermanno Gorrieri, trade union activist, economist and co-founder of Social Christians
^Utter, Glenn H. (2007). Mainline Christians and U.S. Public Policy: A Reference Handbook. Contemporary world issues. ABC-CLIO. p. 230. ISBN9781598840001. Retrieved 1 August 2015. The Christian Alliance for Progress. composed of individuals from various denominations and religious viewpoints, strives to emphasize the core beliefs and values of Christianity in response to the contemporary involvement of Christian groups in the search for political influence and power.