The Other Social Gospelers: The Working-Class Religious Left, 1877–1920
This chapter distinguishes between the minister-led Social Gospel movement of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and the “religious left,” a decentralized, diverse, anticapitalist Christian movement that emerged at the same time. The religious left is analyzed through three phases: a vibrant period of non-denominational, producerist Christianities; an era of rivalry, and temporary truce, between denominational churches and the labor movement; and an era of distancing between the Protestant religious establishment and the labor movement. Through these three consecutive phases, the religious left competed with and even temporarily allied with the minister-led Social Gospel movement. The religious left outlasted both the Great War and the Red Scare, albeit in less visible form.