. . . Written about, back in 2005 at the George Mason University History News Network, the new “Christian Left” has deep roots here in Oklahoma and might even lay claim to the foundation of the philosophy of the entire current movement. Woody Guthrie (pictured above in 1945) is a legend in Oklahoma particularly among the left and of course music buffs, but arguably could be considered the very founder of the New Christian Left.
Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” (originally titled “God Blessed America”) as a rebuttal to “God Bless America” among many other famous tunes, but as we all know there was much-much more to Woody Guthrie than just his tunes.
Woody had a problem and a rather unique but logical (to some) way of solving it.
He studied communism, wrote for the communist paper, performed for great socialists and communists in and out of the country and desperately wanted to be a communist, but his strong belief in Jesus prevented his inclusion among the party membership. Guthrie was baptized into the Church of Christ, had a strong belief in Jesus Christ and for religion but organized faith was too restrictive and he rarely attended church… it just didn’t fit exactly.
So, being the highly creative and clever fellow that he was, (and living in a free country) he combined the two into his own Christian/ Communist philosophy on life. . .
It’s not often I’ll quote Redstater, but this post is interesting. Despite some major differences of opinion on certain points (namely, I think that Christian socialism is or should be considered just regular old Christianity, and that capitalism merged with Christianity is really a bastardization of Christianity), it is surprisingly worth reading.
I also should note that Woody might have been one of the best known Okie Christian Socialists, he was far from being the first one. In fact, the Oklahoma Socialist party of the early part of this century was for the most part very comfortable with using the language of faith in a political context, and in fact often held Jesus up as one of the great Socialist thinkers. (for more on this, read Jim Bissett’s book Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920)
Anyway, I’m quite proud to be a Christian Socialist. Thanks Redstater for reminding me of our very proud history. (hehe, I guess I’m a “redstater” too, but I think I’m a different kind of Red than redstater is 😉