Early investigations of Walter Rauschenbusch and the social gospel movement tended to emphasize the movement's roots among upper-middle-class Protestant elites in the Northeast. More recent inquiries have “studied the social gospel as the religion of the working class in America.” Whichever perspective is correct, historians can at least agree that at the core of the movement was the belief that the institutions of American society should be Christianized. This involved not a right-wing vision of Christianity but a left-wing one. According to Rauschenbusch, Christianity created unity and solidarity, promoted freedom for labor, and bred equality, dignity, and love. Rauschenbusch had been drawn to socialism during his time as a preacher serving German immigrants in Hell's Kitchen during the depression of the 1890s.
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